Nashville "Why Don't You Love Me" Review: Rocky Waters Ahead

Nashville S1E19: "Why Don't You Love Me"

Sometimes in a first season, you have to consider whether a show is doing something poorly, or whether the show is simply doing what it intends to do, only that particular thing might not be appealing to you as a viewer. It's always smart to give a show time to finds its direction and rhythms, but at certain points, maybe those directions and rhythms aren't what you hoped they would be. 

As much as I like Nashville, and as much as I want to love it, I'm struggling with its inability to let any character stay happy—heck, even content—for more than a couple of scenes. On one hand, I recognize that this is a primetime soap; no one is ever going to be completely happy and the drama is always going to present. That's what Nashville is. But on the other hand, there's a growing sense of restlessness and perhaps even overly dramatic interpersonal conflicts that are hard to swallow. I know what to expect from this show, yet I can't help but think that it's trying a little too hard to keep everyone angsty so they can write more spiteful mid-tempo ballads. 

The biggest offender here is the continued tension between Gunnar and Scarlett, which has devolved into a series of unnecessary half-truths, secrets, and histrionics to the point where it's damn-near unbearable to watch. As I touched on last week, I don't think that their relationship should be devoid of drama, or that they should be writing sappy acoustic duets every week. However, because the writers clearly wanted to avoid telling another story about a man who's jealous of Scarlett's ability (and props for that), they decided to come up with multiple reasons to pull she and Gunnar apart almost immediately after they came together. Depression and despondence after his brother's death wasn't enough. Last week gave us Will's dramatic kiss, which only created more awkward, arguably unneeded tension between the three of them this week. And then on top of that, there's the hoopla over Gunnar using his brother's journal to craft "angry" (sure, show) music that's put him on the solo artist track. 

It's simply way too much. Why can't Gunnar just tell Scarlett what happened between he and Will? He didn't do anything wrong, and really, Will didn't do anything wrong either. It was a mistake, sure, but I don't buy it being as big of a secret as the show has asked me to. Furthermore, while I don't want to limit the importance of artistic integrity, it's difficult to invest in Gunnar's use of his brother's music. If I'm not mistaken, his brother was never even a small-time musician who recorded this song or had official publishing rights to it; he wrote words in a journal, and also played guitar. Also, he is dead. Is it bad taste that Gunnar claimed that the song (which is, by the way, kind of terrible) was his own? Of course. But could he avoid all sorts of drama by acknowledging that he's singing it to honor his dead brother (and thus give it more true weight)? Uh, yeah. It was dumb enough that he lied to the producer multiple times about the tune's origin (as if music producers care), even dumber that he kept it from Scarlett too, and borderline stupid that Scarlett reacted as if he'd committed a truly heinous crime. I get it: Music is important to these people. But the context in which this is all happening does not fit the attention the show keeps giving it. 

With his brother's death, the show provided a good reason to start reshaping Gunnar from meek and lovesick to darker and dirtier. But with all this additional nonsense, he barely resembles the person we knew earlier in the season, or the person who Scarlett supposedly loves. I totally understand why the show wanted to pull them apart a little bit. We've watched them grow together, but if they're going to be long-term characters on the show, they need to have individual stories that aren't just about googly eyes and acoustic guitars. What's more, just because we can understand why a show is doing something doesn't make those choices good. 

You might think that I'd say the same thing about Rayna and Deacon, who are as prototypical will-they-or-won't-they as it gets, but at least there are some tangible and logical reasons why the two of them cannot quite make it work. For one, all the water under the bridge Deacon mentioned in this episode does matter, no matter what either one of them says. They spent many tumultuous years together and have basically spent a decade-and-a-half waxing nostalgic about those sorta-terrible times. It's not going to be as easy as they want it to be because it never was. And that's without considering the likelihood that Deacon is Maddie's birth father. 

Still, I'm torn over the suggestion that, now that Rayna is sleeping with Deacon, she almost cannot control herself in the desire to tell him the truth about Maddie. I don't doubt that the urge is there, but it's been there for a long time, and the way that she immediately blew up their temporary happiness because she has this secret was at least somewhat silly. The writers made a smart decision by bringing Deacon back to Rayna in that penultimate scene in the car, because it sure looked like he was headed straight to the bottle and some really dark places. I don't doubt that he's likely still headed that direction, but I do appreciate the restraint to withhold that move until the season finale. Again, this is the story that has to be told. Deacon has to learn about Maddie. I simply don't get Rayna's inability to let it all lie for even a few days so she could enjoy a reconciliation with the man she's been in love with for most of her life.

At this point, it's clear that Juliette's descent is only going to continue through the end of this season. With Dante seemingly out of the picture, she took right after her mother and started drinking heavily, losing Deacon even quicker than expected, making a fool out of herself in front of Marshall Evans, and trying to seduce temporary band leader Avery (good for him for resisting; see, he doesn't suck!). A random drinking problem could be eye-roll-inducing, but A.) It runs in the family, and B.) Juliette's been through the ringer lately, even if most of the damage was self-inflicted. As a result, the revelation that Dante holds a sex tape and is blackmailing her for more money didn't come as much of a shocker. I don't know what other contemporary celebrity cliche stories the writers are going to tell with Juliette in Season 2, but I'm interested to see just how far the show wants to push her downward. 

With only a couple episodes left in the season, we know where Nashville is headed. Nevertheless, it's not the predictability that bothers me; it's the way the show tries to combat predictability by piling on more and more. The show isn't in melodramatic bad Desperate Housewives territory, but it also seems unwilling or uninterested in allowing characters or romantic pairings to be happy, if even for an episode. If we know that any glimmer of happiness will almost immediately lead to more (and sometimes excessive) tension or drama, it's difficult to root for or care about these people. Things are going to get better before they get worse, but I hope the writers discover a way to keep tension high without overdoing it.


B-SIDES

– There was a lot more music in this episode than there was in the previous two. For all the slack Juliette gets within the show, her new songs are pretty wonderful. And again let me repeat: Gunnar's stolen song pretty much blows. 

– I enjoyed Teddy and Maddie's scenes. Eric Close is capable of being likable and charming when he's not saddled with pretty miserable material. Nashville's commitment to depicting a divorced family is admirable. 

– It makes so much sense for Avery to become Juliette's new guitarist that I'm stupefied that I didn't recognize it coming at me. 

– I will miss Sue, and to a lesser extent, Stacy. Though she did just let herself in. 

– This Week in Pointless Nashville Politics: Coleman blew off Tandy and Teddy and his wife praised him for it. Number of Subway mentions: Unfortunately zero.

– What an opulent yacht. 

Comments (17)
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I felt like this episode was just the whoe going through the motions thing. I watched it. Stuff was happening, but nothing really major was happening. It was just all filler and angst, with a few comical moments thrown in. I'm back to no longer caring nor being remotely interested in Gunnar and Scarlette. I don't know it happened, but I don't hate Avery anymore. There are small miracles. I still have zero interest in Teddy or politicking. I love Rayna and Deacon together, and I like that we get more and more info on their history. Deacon does seem like he can go off the edge at any moment, and Rayna doesn't always say or emote the things she should in the moments that requires them, which will more than likely contribute to him going over the edge. The whole thing was Maddie is so messy and I have mixed feelings on that. Juliette, dear Juliette was a hot mess. A hot, drunken, slightly amusing, mostly sad mess.
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I really liked this review.
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I'M NOT SURE IF IT WAS TIME FOR RAYNA AND DEACON TO BE TOGETHER, HER MARRIAGE JUST ENDED. AND I WOULD LIKE JULIETTE AND AVERY TO GET TOGETHER, MAYBE WHEN SHE'S NOT DRUNK. MAYBE HE'LL GO AFTER DANTE AND GET THE VIDEO.
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Gunnar played brother's song,because he was drunk,gung-ho with his new bff and didn't think much at the time. So producer comes to him,he is hammered for days,says yes,...oh come on,we are both watching same show here:D Good day...I said good day:P
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I knew Deacon was going to be Maddie's father! A while back I remember going into my office at DISH and telling my coworkers who follow Nashville that I bet anything that Teddy isn't the father of both the girls. I couldn't wait to go in today and tell everyone that I told them so! Although I had to pick up my daughter from rehearsals last night, I was still able to watch this episode as it aired. I can use DISH Anywhere on my phone to stream live TV whenever I'm not at home, and with Reyna and Deacon possibly back together, I'm glad that I was able to watch it while I waited for my daughter to come meet me in the car.
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I hate to burst your bubble but that was established a long time ago when Rayna's father was trying to blackmail her into behaving correctly when he threatened to go to Teddy and tell him the truth of Maddie's paternity. Instead Rayna and Teddy presented a united front...and Teddy was like I ALREADY KNOW THAT YOU JERK! But she's still my daughter... and don't try to blackmail my wife.
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The writers still are trying too hard to create drama.

They really could have just let the music play for most of this season and viewers would be happy. Way too many contrived situations bouncing back and forth like a ping pong.

I wish they would slow down, refocus on music and let the political power struggle in the mayor's office take center stage. That's the only storyline I think they've done well at this point.
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I saw Juilliette coming on to Avery a mile a way. I like this show but I agree it's annoying how no one is happy in a relationship for long. I thought the scenes with Juliette and her mother and the scene between Teddy and Maddie were really good. I don't think it's that bad that Gunnar took his brother song I mean it's not like it was ever gonna see the light of day before or after his dead. Gunnar keeping everything from Scarlet is getting ridiculous, especially not telling her about Will. I mean it was a mistake and meant nothing unless Will has feelings for Gunnar deep down but that has nothing to do with Gunnar and telling Scarlet.
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I don't understand why Gunnar just doesn't admit it's his brother's song.
His brother is dead so technically Gunnar inherited the rights anyway...

I wish the writers would be a bit more logical.
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the way deacon just gave away his dog was kinda silly but i guess it was too much trouble on set.. and no one even remembers that dog anyway...

so i was surprised avery denied a night with juliette so i guess they want him to be a good guy now... whatever, i still love this show
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I love the show too but I will really miss the dog.
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haha sry i guess i should have said: i never think about that dog anyway
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My biggest problem with Juliette's storyline is that the writers don't seem to know whether they want to redeem her or make her worse. One week, they'll be giving her progress in her relationship with her mother and seemingly mature her, then the next she's falling apart again. Either let her spiral out of control or pick up the pieces but it feels like they're jerking her around.
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1. Rayna & Deacon - I knew the two of them together were bad news! In one episode we lost BOTH Lady Vet and The Cute Puppy. Come on, writers!

2. Juliette - someone should drive her to rehab ASAP. Otherwise she will catch some nasty STD.

3. Avery - respect for not taking an advantage of intoxicated Juliette.

4. Dante - I kind of suspected him of recording Juliette's sex tape. So no surprise there.
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Lady Vet belongs to John in Person of Interest:D
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I have to say, I really thought this episode was bad. Every week I look forward to Nashville. Yeah, it's extremely soapy, but somehow I've always felt like there were enough "funny/happy" moments to make up for it. But this episode was all dramz all the timez! Seriously, it was exhausting. And more than that: it's okay to have a few cheesy, typical and cliché storylines.
The divorce. The will-they-won't-they romance between Rayna and Deacon. Maddie being Deacon's daughter. Juliette having a troubled relationship with her mother, leading to her trust issues. That football player (I already forgot his name, that's how important he was!) being a distraction for Juliette. Dante being an evil douche. Avery making dumb decisions (though I agree he's doing much better now). Scarlett & Gunnar ending up together. Gunnar puling away into his own darkness after his brother's death. Will being into Gunnar.
...
You see what's going on? There's A LOT of those storylines you can see coming a mile away. And up 'till now I've been fine with it. But when the episode ended with the tape, which is obviously a sex tape of Juliette... Damn. I just felt like "ENOUGH ALREADY!" Seriously, give us those story lines and alternate that with happy funny times and I'll be happy as a peach. But give us no more than those storylines, and my patience is running thin.
I love this show. I do. The music. The delicious drama. But I also like funny moments. Like Liam and Rayna kissing each other and then Bucky coming by and they acting like two kids who almost got caught. That's funny. Light-hearted. And I also like happy moments. Gunnar being happy with the girl he's dreamed of for the longest time. But lately, we haven't been getting a lot of that. And a finale is supposed to make everything worse. But when things are already this bad, the drama is becoming a little overwhelming?
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