Nashville -- All About Juliette
As an old movie buff, Nashville reminds me of the old movie, All About Eve. Eve Harrington was an aspiring actress who tried to take everything away from established star, Margo Channing. And Juliette Barnes seems well on her way to following in the steps of Eve Harrington. She’s already bedding Rayna James’ record producer, Randy, getting him to produce her record. And her next target is Deacon Clayborne, who seems to share a romantic past with Rayna. She wants him to join her band and write songs with her and leave Rayna in the dust. But unlike Margo, Rayna isn’t fooled by Juliette. In fact, their first meeting was downright catty.
Juliette tried to dig Rayna about her age by saying her Mama listened to her music while she was still in her bely and Rayna fired back telling Juliette she’d better make sure those puppies [her breasts] were stuck in her dress before she went on stage. MEOW!
Rayna’s instant dislike of Juliette proved well-founded when her record company told her they want her to be the opening act for Juliette because her record sales have started falling. Rayna is no longer the shining star of her record company; the talent challenged boob-baring Juliette is. Even though when she's recording a song they have to use auto-tune on the recording to make her voice sound better than it is.
Rayna’s singing career isn’t the only problems she has to deal with. Her father, Lamar Wyatt, wants Rayna’s husband, Teddy, to run for mayor. When Rayna is late for the announcement of Lamar Wyatt Day, it’s obvious Rayna and Lamar have a very strained relationship. When Rayna confronts Lamar about it, he insinuates that Rayna’s daughter, Maddie isn’t Teddy’s child, and orders her to show up at the announcement that Teddy’s running for mayor to support her husband. At first, it doesn’t seem she will show up, but Rayna puts on a happy face and joins Teddy on stage as he announces he’s running for mayor.
Teddy and Rayna’s relationship is hardly what one would call idyllic. Teddy says he knows Rayna settled for him and she doesn’t exactly deny it. He also complains that for once it would be nice if she let him enjoy the spotlight and be the one standing in the shadows supporting him.
It seems the man that may really be Maddie’s father is Deacon Clayborne. When he reveals to Rayna that Juliette approached him about becoming her bandleader and writing songs for her, it was obvious there was some history between Deacon and Rayna. When Deacon asked why she’s never sung any of the songs he’s written, she said she was worried they were all about her and he said they were.
Deacon’s niece Scarlett likes to write poems and Gunnar Scott helps her to put them to music. He even gets her to sing one of them on stage with him. Deacon talks to Gunnar worried about Scarlett’s relationship with her boyfriend Avery Barkley. And well he should worry. When Rayna’s friend and record producer, Randy, drops by to see his lover, Juliette, she tells him not to come by unless he calls first. After he leaves Juliette straddles Avery’s lap as they get it on.
The serpentine Juliette isn’t without her own problems. Her mother is a drug addict who keeps calling her wanting money from her. Still, it hardly excuses the way she acts and treats people.
As Rayna contemplates what she should do about her record label’s ultimatum to go on tour with Juliette and be her opening act, she drops by Randy’s place, totally unaware Juliette is up in his bed and listening to every word she says. Rayna doesn’t hold back on exactly what she thinks of Juliette’s talent or lack thereof. When she learns Randy is also producing Juliette’s record, Rayna feels like she’s trying to move in on everyone she’s close to.
Later, Rayna is on a radio show with Watty White talking about her favorite country songs. After it’s over, she tells Watty she doesn’t know what to do, and he suggests she needs to reinvent herself to increase her record sales. Later, he’s in the audience as Scarlett and Gunnar are on stage and calls up Rayna and has her listen to them. He tells her he’s got an idea.
Rayna ultimately decides to not let her record company treat her as second-hand goods and makes her choice when she meets with the new head of her record label, Marshall Evans, who demands she do what they want. She tells him how this record label was nothing when she joined and she’s stayed with it for 21 years, even though other record labels were wooing her. She feels she's helped to make it what it is and this is how she gets treated? When Marshall won’t back down, she tells him he can kiss her decision as it walks out the door.
What with Lamar suggesting to Rayna that she didn’t make it without his money and Marshall’s demands that she open for Juliette, will Rayna leave her record company and start her own label with Watty? Maybe with Scarlett and Gunnar as their first stars? If Deacon and Rayna were in love and Deacon is possibly Maddie’s father, why didn’t they end up together? And just who in Rayna’s circle of friends and associates will Miss Juliette target next?
Country music isn’t my thing, but it doesn’t have to be to enjoy Nashville. It has a lot of great visual shots of Nashville and it has some interesting storylines. What with Revenge and now Nashville, the primetime soap is coming back.
Biggest surprises I got while watching the first episode: I’d heard Jonathan Jackson had left General Hospital, but I wasn’t aware he’d already landed himself a regular role on a primetime show. I remember awhile back he was refusing to do sex scenes because of his religion. I wonder if he’s still doing it? The scene with Avery and Juliette was cut before anything much happened. I also thought Powers Boothe was dead. I think I’m confusing him with Brad Davis who played in the TV mini-series, Chiefs. I’m always doing that. Two actors remind me of each other, like Richard Widmark and Frank Gorshin. Last time I remember seeing Powers Boothe in anything it was him playing the Reverend Jim Jones.
If the show continues at the same level as the pilot, ABC should have another good show on its hands.