Hart of Dixie returns for the second half of season two Tuesday with an episode that explores just that. In “Old Alabama,” Zoe (Rachel Bilson) is trying a new tact when it comes to Wade (Wilson Bethel), which has her taking on many new projects. As executive producer Leila Gerstein previews to The Hollywood Reporter, relationships and Zoe Hart don’t exactly mix well.
“What does it look like with these two opposites trying to make it last as boyfriend and girlfriend?” Gerstein asks, adding that “we will be seeing” through their decision to be a couple. “The stakes are higher now. They’re really doing it and it really means something, and they’re going to have to ask themselves the question at some point: What is the long-term plan here?”
Gerstein talked to THR about how successful Zoe and Wade get in keeping their romance alive, the state of Hart of Dixie’s beloved pairings (including Lemon and Lavon), whether Zoe will contemplate moving back to the big city in the near future and who will be stepping in front of the microphone.
The Hollywood Reporter: How different are Zoe and Wade’s definitions of what a boyfriend and girlfriend is compared to the average person and will certain situations arise because of that?
Leila Gerstein: Poor Zoe Hart. She does not have a lot of relationship experience. I think that we’re going to find a lot of fun with her neuroses about how to even deal with anything. They really like each other, they really want to make it work. In the first episode back, they’ve been super happy, they’re in the honeymoon period and they face their first conflict. Zoe is in a complete panic about what to do. She thinks that if they have a huge fight like they would’ve before, it would mean they’re over. We’re going to continue to see the two of them struggling to make it work despite how they each drive each other crazy.
THR: Is the George (Scott Porter) and Tansy (Mircea Monroe) pairing still in play and how serious do they get?
Gerstein: We are also enjoying George and Tansy very much. She brings out a different side in him than Lemon (Jaime King) did because Tansy and Lemon are polar opposites. We feel like we’re letting George Tucker have fun for the first time in a long time and it’s great to see. We think the two of them are going to be fun for the audience to watch.
THR: Is the George and Lemon pairing still on the table and possibly revisited in the future?
Gerstein: For me, that is one door that I can say I don’t foresee revisiting in the near future.
THR: A lot of the fans really held onto Lemon and Lavon (Cress Williams). Will their paths cross in a significant way in the back half of the season?
Gerstein: I think that there will always be the pull of Lemon and Lavon. In many ways, they’re an epic couple. People have really responded to them. I have really responded to them. But it may not happen this season. It may.
THR: Where do you see the Rose (McKaley Miller) and Zoe friendship heading? In many ways, Rose is a younger version of Zoe.
Gerstein: We love Rose. We love having her around. The friendship between Zoe and Rose, and she is a younger — almost less neurotic — version of Zoe Hart. She’s there to offer Zoe advice, which I always like the role reversal, of younger Rose being more sensible than older Zoe.
THR: What lessons does Zoe teach Rose and vice versa?
Gerstein: We’re going to see Rose working a little bit at the doctor’s office this year. Zoe will always be a role model and mentor to Rose, but Zoe comes with a unique Zoe side of neuroses and baggage that Rose doesn’t really come with. Rose sometimes can help Zoe see what’s right and what’s important.
THR: Lemon has her own doppelganger with Magnolia (Claudia Lee).
Gerstein: She does. The Magnolia and Lemon pairing, they’re much more opposites than Zoe and Rose are. Magnolia’s kind of a wannabe bad girl I would say and I think we’re going to see that dynamic play out as the two of them find out and have to deal with Brick’s much younger new girlfriend.
THR: Which I assume, a lot of comedy will come out of Brick’s (Tim Matheson) new dating situation.
Gerstein: It’s going to be make for a lot of comedy.
THR: What can you hint at for his new romance with Shelby (Laura Bell Bundy). It’s obviously a change for everyone.
Gerstein: It’s a change for everyone. It will take several episodes for everyone to find out. The first episode back we have a great storyline between Brick and George, because George used to date Shelby and he walked in on them. We have a fun storyline about George giving Brick council about the situation.
THR: Who has the most surprising reaction to Brick’s new woman when they do find out?
Gerstein: I guess George in a way.
THR: Zoe has admitted that she wants to stick around Bluebell and has embraced the small-town life. Will the push and pull of the big city vs. the small town be revisited at some point down the line?
Gerstein: I don’t think that we’re going to tell the audience ever that Zoe is going to move back to New York City. The possibility exists for sure that she’s not going to stay in Bluebell for the rest of her life. A visit to New York City is not out of the question. I don’t think we’re going to play the will she stay or will she go scenario.
THR: So that original question posed at the start of the series is not in play anymore?
Gerstein: No, we felt like she made a decision at the end of season one to stay in Bluebell. In season five, we’ll talk again. The show takes place in Bluebell, it will continue to take place in Bluebell.
THR: Will we see more singing?
Gerstein: We have a lot of singing coming up. You should be very excited about the singing. I would say so far we have three big musical numbers. George and Wade will be singing again, and we will hear a musical number from Laura Bell Bundy, who plays Shelby, and there’s a fantastic musical proposal on the horizon.
Hart of Dixie returns 8 p.m. Tuesday on the CW.