Okay, so I’m not sure if any of ya’ll watch the show Nashville or not, but this week’s episode…OMG!! For those of you that don’t or haven’t seen it…well, you should. 🙂 I’ve been watching since it first aired back in 2012, and let’s just say, I’m an absolute Nashville junkie. Can’t help it, it’s soooo good. I know there’s a lot of critics out there that think the show doesn’t give an accurate portrayal of what the actual city of Nashville and the music industry that’s here, but I choose to pay no mind to what those critics say. I think it’s a great show. Unlike most TV shows that are filmed on sound stages in LA, Nashville’s filmed right here in Nashville. I think that’s one of the reasons why fans love it so much because the authenticity is actually tangible; subtle but still there. While they do film some scenes on sound stages and sets in Nashville, with a lot of the scenes they tend to actually film on location, all around the city…which is really neat, I think.
Believe it or not, there aren’t that many Nashville fans down here…at least none that I’ve been able to find yet. Which is so ironic considering the show is literally filmed here. I think a lot of it’s the born-and-raised Nashies that like the to question the validity of the show and the city. My photo professor is like that. She doesn’t think the show gives viewers an authentic depiction of the city of Nashville. I agree that there are probably a lot of people who watch the show that go to visit Nashville, expecting this glamorous, fast-moving city that they see on TV…and it’s not like that. I mean, yeah, Nashville is a wonderful, beautiful city–but if anything, it has more of a small-town vibe than it does a big, booming city vibe. And now with the show, tourists are flocking here just to see the attractions and locations where the show has filmed, which is only a teeny tiny sliver of what Nashville’s all about. There’s a reason for why actual residents of Nashville–myself included–tend to keep our distance from Broadway. All the tourists like to hang out there, literally in droves, and it gets pretty chaotic and crowded down there. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that there’s more to Nashville than the honkytonks and the Grand Ole Opry and the The Ryman. As for the music aspect of it, most people think Nashville is nothing but country music and cowboy hats and cowboy boots…and it’s not. If you ever do decide to brave the crowds on Broadway, you’ll see that there’s all kinds of music genres coming from inside those honkytonks, not just country music. In truth, Nashville’s kind of like a cultural and musical melting pot. Not everyone has a Southern accent, and not everyone is obsessed with country music. Those are all just common misconceptions people make. Those things aside, I think the show does tries its best to be authentic as possible and do the city justice. But–and I think people forget this–it’s still a TV show. It’s not supposed to be 100 percent accurate…if it were, it’d be a documentary…which it’s not.
One big aspect I love about the show would have to be the music. The show gives some of a glimpse of what the music industry is like. It takes real songs written by actual, local Nashville artists and incorporates the music into the story lines and characters that meshes so well together. Not to mention, the actors that do the character parts on the show ALL do their own singing. There’s no lip-syncing or dubbing voices with these songs. And some of them can really sing. It’s incredible. And the music side of the show has really taken off, so much that the actors are doing cross-country tours and taking the songs they sing on screen to the stage .
Anywho,..let’s talk characters…So the basic premise is you got Rayna Jaymes, this 40-something queen of country music who, to keep her fading music career, has to team up with this up-and-coming Taylor-Swift-ish artist, Juliette Barnes. The plot line is based around the center of the music industry– a what-goes-on-behind-close-doors type thing–and the day-to-day going ons in the lives of music’s reigning artists. That sort of thing.
The part of Rayna Jaymes is played by actress Connie Britton, who is so incredibly talented–Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights, anyone?? 🙂 Then there’s Deacon Claybourne, played by Chip Esten–remember the really funny guy on Who’s Line Is It Anyway? Yeah, him–who’s been Rayna’s band leader and lead guitar player for the past decade or so, who ALSO happens to be her ex-lover. Oh yeah. And it gets even better…Rayna’s teenage daughter Maddie (played by the amazing Lennon Stella!), happens to be Deacon’s biological daughter…a fun little fact that neither were aware of until a curious Maddie happened to go snooping through her Mom’s things one night and stumbled across a paternity test saying that her “Dad” wasn’t really her Dad. So, of course, she shows up at Deacon’s house telling him she thinks he might be her father. From there, Deacon confronts Rayna–she admits that it’s true and that basically she’d been lying to Deacon for 14 years–and as you can imagine, all hell breaks loose after that.
Deacon, an alcoholic that had been sober for 13 years, throws it all away by getting drunk. Fast-forward a little…there’s a serious car accident that leaves Rayna in a coma and unable to sing and Deacon with tendon damage in his guitar playing hand…a couple of new relationships for both, and ultimately, two marriage proposals for Rayna in one night and a pretty big decision for Rayna to make…and you’ve got yourself one hell of a story/cliffhanger. And that’s where the writers left off at the end of the last season. Season three picked up right where it left off, with Rayna having to choose between Deacon–the love of her life whose addictions and past mistakes cost them a life and a family together–and this other guy, Luke who doesn’t come with baggage and can give her the clean slate she so desperately wants. Anyways, she ends up choosing Luke over Deacon in that very first episode, basically leaving us–the viewers–hanging, wondering will-she-or-wont-she-go-through-with-the-wedding for 12 ridiculously loooong episodes and weeks-long hiatuses. In such a typical Hollywood move, Rayna realizes she’s making a mistake and calls off the wedding to Luke on the DAY OF the wedding. After which, she goes to Deacon and admits that while she still loves him and wants to be with him, she needs time. Unbeknownst to Rayna, Deacon’s been diagnosed with liver cancer, stemming from undetected cirhossis from all his years of drinking, and his only option is a transplant. Wanting to protect both Rayna and Maddie from the pain he knows his diagnosis will cause them, Deacon decides not to tell either of them.
Fast-forward some more until the next to last most recent episodes. Weeks have passed since Rayna called off the wedding, but Rayna and Deacon still haven’t reconnected. Then the 10th Anniversary of Rayna’s induction into the Grand Ole Opry rolls around. Rayna decides to make the first move and asks Deacon, who has literally been by her side from the very beginning, to be there. He’s reluctant at first, but shows up all the same, much to Rayna’s joy. He joins both Maddie and Rayna’s other daughter, Daphne, on the stage for their Opry debut on guitar. Afterwards, they hold hands backstage and Rayna surprises him by asking Deacon to sing with her. He does. They do. (Such a beautiful song, by the way.) Afterwards, Deacon hightails it out of there without so much as a goodbye, and goes to his cabin…which is where Rayna finds him the next day. She all but tells him she’s ready for them to be together again, and pleads with him to stop leaving her like that…and then he throws the cancer bombshell at her. She slaps him across the face, then sobs in his arms.
Now for this week’s episode…just amazing. Like totally, totally amazing. Picked up at the cabin with Deacon and Rayna. Deacon fills her in on the disease, but tells her that he doesn’t want her or Maddie involved. Rayna, of course, is not OKAY with that and refuses to let him shut her out. They argue, Rayna smashes a perfectly good guitar into pieces (total bad-ass scene by the way), and ultimately tells Deacon that she’d rather spend whatever time they left together, rather than apart. She pleads with him to stop fighting her and to fight for them instead. Cue some teary looks and a sweet speech by Rayna…and long story short, Deacon gives in, they hook up, and then later go back to Rayna’s to tell the girls about Deacon’s cancer. Poor Maddie’s joy at finding out her parents were finally back together, really together, is short lived though when they sit her and Daphne down and tell them about Deacon’s cancer. Total tear-jerker, family moment right there.
I can’t say it enough how much I love this show. The whole Deacon/Rayna dynamic is just so perfect that you can’t help but root for the characters. I know it’s just a TV show and it’s not real, but still. What I wouldn’t give to have a love like that someday…one that’s withstood and survived decades, despite having been presented with nearly every kind of challenge there could possibly be. A love that not even a marriage of 14 years to someone else or reveal of a 13-year secret could take away.
To love someone like that, all those years, in spite of all the hell and pain you’ve caused one another–it almost seems too good to be true, I sometimes think. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I’d like to think that a love like that does exist…that it’s possible…which is kind of ironic considering I don’t put much stock into the idea of someone being “the one” or finding your perfect soul mate…whatever that even means. Call me cynical, but I find it really hard to believe that in a world with billions of people, there’s somehow only this one person that you’re “meant to be” with and to love for the rest of your life. That just seems a bit too “Disney-ish” for me. Sure, it happens and some people are really lucky like that, but it’s rare. Some might disagree, but I think it’s totally plausible to love more than one person in your lifetime. It has to be, right? I mean, that’s like saying that no matter what, I’m always only ever going to love my jerk-o ex…and that’s not true. I loved him, yes. But that was a long time ago. Things change. I’ve changed. Trust me, I have plenty of feelings for that one, but love is definitely not one of them. That feeling went away a long time ago…right around the time he decided to be a vindictive jerk and stand there smiling while he had me publicly humiliated, I think. Yeah…that’s long gone. And now–now I feel absolutely nothing for him. Unless you count pity and disgust…total disappointment. Hell, I think I even hated him for a time there…but that was just exhausting and not even worth it, to be perfectly honest.
I may be a little jaded and a tad bit cynical when it comes to love, but I do believe in it…or want to believe in it, I should say. It’s just hard to put yourself out there again like that after you’ve been burned the way I was. It’s hard to trust, to know whom to trust, and to find someone that you feel might actually be worth the risk–it’s all just hard. They don’t call it falling for nothing. Love hurts. It’s beautiful and wonderful and sometimes even defies all logic…but it hurts. But even through all the pain and that hurt–even when you hate the person and wish you’d never met them and feel like the biggest fool to even think there was a decent bone in his body…but in the end, it’s still worth it. It’s always worth it. That’s the beauty of it all. Love.
There’s this last line from this week’s Grey’s Anatomy episode that really says it all, I think, when Derek’s sister tells him that she thinks she’s falling in love with Owen and that she’s scared it’s going to destroy her. And Derek replies perfectly by saying, “It wouldn’t be love if it didn’t.” So true. So perfect.