Relationship: Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella (Zade)
Fandom: Hart of Dixie (2011-2015, RIP)
Where to Watch: Netflix
Time Investment: 76 (one-hour) episodes over 4 seasons
Recommended for: Anyone craving a comfort watch like Gilmore Girls or Sweet Home Alabama, requisite Unrequited Love Switcharoo included
Minor spoilers for Season 1.
She’s a big-city doctor; He’s a small-town bartender. She hasn’t dated in 8 years; He’s an unrepentant ladies’ man. She’s a classic Type A; He’s as laid back as they come. From the moment they set eyes on each other, it’s clear as day that Hart of Dixie’s reluctant Alabama transplant Zoe Hart and her new housemate Wade Kinsella are polar opposites and that Sparks. Will. Fly.
Isn’t it GREAT?
If you’re in the mood to binge an unapologetically light, fluffy TV show with a guaranteed happy ending for two magnetic-but-hard-headed goobers, you can’t go wrong with Hart of Dixie and its main couple, Zoe/Wade.* Crackling sexual tension, snappy banter, unrequited-turned-requited feelings (not always at the same time), charmingly pathetic pining, jealousy-inspired petty prank wars, and all your favorite romance tropes combine for a heady, satisfying experience. What’s more, since the series ended after only four seasons, it makes for a perfect TV fling.
*(I know what you’re thinking: “Main couple? Does that mean there’s a secondary pair worth shipping?” Why, yes. Yes, it does. But trust me: Lemon Breeland and Lavon Hayes deserve their own recommendation post.)
Zoe and Wade’s love story begins, as some of the best do, when our heroine’s life falls apart. A laser-focused young doctor who grew up determined to follow in her emotionally unavailable father’s footsteps as a hot-shot New York surgeon, Zoe is suddenly knocked down by a one-two punch. First, her boyfriend of 6 years, a fellow doctor, unceremoniously dumps her for not spending enough time stroking his ego (I’m paraphrasing). Then, her attending tells her that she was passed over for a prestigious fellowship because of her abysmal bedside manner, and advises her to spend a year as a general practitioner to earn his recommendation (this one’s kinda understandable).
Stunned but unwilling to accept defeat, Zoe decides to hop on a plane to Alabama, where she’s been offered a job over and over again by a sweet old man who randomly showed up at her medical school graduation. Except, of course, when she shows up in the small town of Bluebell, Alabama, she learns that Dr. Harley Wilkes passed away four months ago–and left her his half of the practice. Which seems truly bizarre, until she’s hit with another truth bomb: Harley was her biological father. Now she’s not only trying to prove herself as a good GP to Harley’s former partner, the territorial Dr. Brick Breeland, in order to preserve her half of the practice, but she’s also determined to learn more about the father she never knew.
Enter Wade, a cocky redneck who gives a drunk, depressed Zoe a ride back into Bluebell after a rough first day in town, though not before they enjoy a hot, ill-advised makeout session. As you do. The awkwardness sets in almost right away, though, for these brand-new next-door neighbors, who each rent one of the guest houses on the grounds of Bluebell mayor Lavon Hayes’ plantation and will definitely be seeing each other on a daily basis, whether they like it or not. So yeah, if sparks weren’t already flying, they are now–and quite literally, too, as Wade points out gleefully during an argument over their shared fuse box. In fact, they quickly fall into the habit of bickering about anything and everything, clearly enjoying it more than they’d admit. Clearly also trying to cover for their undeniable, but inconvenient, physical attraction. There’s just one hitch: Before too long, ladies’ man Wade starts showing symptoms of a mighty serious infatuation with Dr. Hart. Cue epic longing looks.
Of course, for the sake of good TV, Zoe’s plan to return to New York eventually and Wade’s roguish reputation are only two of the obstacles on their path to romance. They also have some growing to do as individuals before they’re truly ready to be a couple, which is as fun as it is painful to watch. (So, basically, the feeling every shipper craves, deep down.) Wade will secretly stay up all night to help her win a competition (squee!), then flat-out refuse to admit his feelings for her (c’mon, dude!). Zoe will ask Wade to sleep on her couch to ward off a possible ghost (long story), yet turn down his offer to get a drink together (sigh). Romantic rivals will threaten to come between them (argh!), but never quite succeed (yay). They’ll realize they can depend on each other when it really counts, like when they’re stranded in the middle of a destructive storm together. And that’s only season 1, my friends.
Basically, Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella are a total mess. And a pure delight. You’ll enjoy every minute of their complicated journey to Happily Ever After. Check out Hart of Dixie now to see what I mean. You can thank me later.
P.S. When you’re ready to dive into the fandom, here are a few places to start…
- Tumblr to Follow: hartofdixie.tumblr.com
- Fic Recs:
- Vid Recs:
Zoe/Wade gifs via deep-ocean.tumblr.com