Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Sacrifices a 'Nashville' Fan Must Make

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Sacrifices a 'Nashville' Fan Must Make

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - A recent episode of "Nashville" ended with a recurring character painfully clutching his chest, dying of a heart attack, while another looked on impassively, deciding to do nothing. I don't mean to go out on a limb here, because the history of horrible TV characters is very long, but it may have been the only time I fist-pumped at the sudden death of a man in late middle age with a baritone as mellifluous as Powers Boothe's. The scene could have been improved only if the character impassively watching had succumbed to sympathy pains himself. "Nashville" would have immediately and dramatically improved, jettisoning the most inessential character on a show more rife with inessential characters than this spelling of the series' title: N@@*a!*%&vil*!*le!

"Nashville," in its second season on ABC, still has great bones: good songs, a juicy setting, a cast of talented actors, and in Hayden Panettiere's Juliette Barnes a complicated, fiery, brash, moving heroine. But this skeleton is draped in outfits with slogans like 'boring,' 'pay no attention to me,' 'definitely wasting your time.' No single episode of the show is ever satisfying. Each episode devotes too much time to characters that even the show itself clearly does not care about. Plot gets held back. The pacing is beyond erratic. That heart attack scene was copied directly from "Homeland's" very worst episode and another character is developing an addiction last seen on "Saved By The Bell."

I am carping from a place of affection: I like "Nashville." I watch "Nashville" faithfully. But every week I wonder why.

"Nashville" has a serious case of Disposable Significant Other Disease. There are currently four ancillary characters on "Nashville" playing the temporary love interest, a boyfriend or girlfriend who might as well have "waiting to be dumped" tattooed on his or her forehead. This is a byproduct of the fact that "Nashville" has the scaredy-cat show's habit of saving plot for later. (The entire first season was devoted to keeping Rayna and Deacon apart until there were only a handful of episodes left.)

But saving plot for later means the characters are stuck treading water. …

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