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'Hart of Dixie' fan recap: You say it's your birthday

Season 4 | Episode 8 | “61 Candles″ | Aired March 6, 2015

When the writers of Hart of Dixie set out to spoof 16 Candles, I expected an episode of wacky hijinks surrounding Brick’s forgotten birthday. What I didn’t expect was for my insides to quiver when Wade held Wanda’s baby, or getting emotional over a toy duck. At first I thought I was experiencing sympathy hormones from Zoe’s pregnancy. Now I know it’s because Hart of Dixie creator Leila Gerstein is a talented writer.

The emotional roller coaster begins with the news that Wanda had her baby! The entire town lines up one by one outside of their home (strange) bearing gifts. What’s even more jolting is watching AB and George make out on the lawn. I’m still not used to GeorgeABeth! If things keep up at this rate, Bluebell residents will be lining up in front of George’s boat in a few months.

Inside the house, Tom and Wanda bask in the exhaustion of a newborn baby. When Zoe asks Wade to pass her the bundle of joy, all are surprised to hear that Wade has never held a baby before. When Wanda puts the baby in his arms, Zoe and I both melt.

Since the entire town is at Tom and Wanda’s house, Brick becomes convinced that this is just an excuse to throw him off the birthday trail. When a town-meeting text pops up, he assumes Shelby has arranged for his celebration to be a day early. As it turns out, Lavon called an actual meeting to ask for volunteers who can help with Tom’s odd jobs.

Lemon is assigned a shift at Tom’s barn. She dresses in denim overalls and rubber boots. The first thing she does is complain. The second thing she does is slip and fall in the mud. At this point, she decides to own the moment. While feeding Tom’s alpacas, Lavon tells Lemon that she makes mud look good. A dirty, undignified Lemon whips around to face the Mayor. She professes her love in front of the other barn volunteers. Who knew being covered in alpaca poop would be the perfect scenario for a grand gesture?

The next morning, Zoe and Wade walk into Lavon’s kitchen. Both panic when they realize there are no pancakes or pastries. Zoe powers through her mediocre breakfast of cold cereal, as Wade mentions that he stopped by Earl’s house the day before. Zoe is desperate to pass down an heirloom to her son, but she never knew Harley. Sadly, the only thing Earl had from Wade’s childhood was a neon beer sign that he set up over his crib and a blanket that smelled like armadillo.

Zoe’s sad face brightens when Lavon walks in with a box of pastries. Zoe’s eyes widen when Lemon follows in her pajamas. They fight over a buttermilk muffin and the assigned seating in the kitchen. Wade and Lavon lecture their significant others on the importance of developing a civil relationship. Zoe and Lemon each promise that they will do their best to be nice to the other. This is going to be fun.

HA408a_0071bMeanwhile, George asks AB not to tell his parents about his new musical endeavors. Because this is Bluebell, they find out anyway. AB is the first to praise George for his hard work. She explains that George took a country bumpkin named Meatball and landed him a record deal. George’s dad softens. He shares that the firm recently let him go. In hindsight, he feels he worked way too much, and is proud of George for going after his dream. Hugs all around!

Across town, Zoe and Lemon agree to have a girl date at Stanley’s new mobile spa. Zoe was not expecting Lemon to produce a list of demands to negotiate as they prepared for pedicures. They debate over eating breakfast, Sunday dinners, and the contents of Lavon’s DVR. Neither is willing to concede. Zoe becomes frustrated. She frantically reminds Lemon that she moved to Bluebell to be with Harley, but he died before she knew him. All she wants is a family token to be passed down to her son, but since that isn’t possible, she has settled on calling Lavon her family. Lemon looks crushed as Zoe walks away.

Wade tries hard to remedy the heirloom situation. He learns that Harley had a few Norman Rockwell prints in his old office. He and Lavon decide to invite a brooding Brick to go fishing. Wade will ask about the paintings. Lavon will break it to Brick that he’s dating Lemon. Unfortunately, Brick thinks that the boys are escorting him to a surprise birthday party. No suck luck. When Wade offers to make him a signature cocktail (whiskey-based, of course), Brick knows something is going on. He loses it, shouting that it’s his birthday and everyone forgot. After he calms down, Brick tells Wade that he sold the Norman Rockwell paintings years ago. Then he gives Lavon his blessing.

Back in Bluebell, a sleeping Tom drives his Blue-Ber (play on Uber) car straight into the mobile spa in the town square. Zoe rushes up, searching for Lemon. Lemon arrives, crying out for Zoe. Both feel uncomfortable when they realize they were worried about the other. Lemon extends an olive branch by offering Zoe breakfasts with Lavon every morning.

HA408a_0135bLater that night, Lavon and Wade deliver a “shocked” Brick to his own impromptu surprise party. Sure, the cake was originally baked for a guy named Tony, but who cares? As Zoe watches Wade dance with Baby Ethyl (be still my heart), Lemon presents her with an old wooden duck. She explains that Harley made it for her when she was a little girl, and she wants Zoe to have it. Everyone tears up, including me.

This can’t be confirmed, but I’d be willing to bet that the Truitt brothers are near the bathroom, charging a dollar for a glimpse of a pair of underpants. I’m guessing.

Quotable Quips

“I have nothing to pass down to my child, unless he wants to cuddle with a stock certificate or Birkin bag.” —Zoe, disappointed that she has no family heirlooms

“I was so worried about Lemon, I dropped my ice cream. TWO SCOOPS.” —Zoe, proud that she would sacrifice her dessert for Lemon

“I’d be screaming and demand a car.” —Magnolia, confessing how she would handle Brick forgetting her birthday

Hart of Dixie airs Fridays at 8/7C on The CW.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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