Frequent Bunco player Rayna is hanging out listening to her hot new track, “Gonna Hop a Train to Mandolin City,” and boy is it ever rootsy! She knows that her new album needs a “different energy” and has an idea for a producer: Nashville transplant and edgy rocker Liam McGuiness, who is Not Jack White because 1) he does not look like the Child Catcher and 2) because he has a dog named June after June Carter Cash and I do not think Jack White has a dog named June.
Rayna heads over to Irish McRocker’s sketchy studio, and he just shuts her down, telling her that she’s “Moms and SUVs.” She makes a mental note to add a word balloon to her stick figure family stickers on the back of her SUV that says “Fuck You Liam.” But oh, that steely mother of two rallies, and returns to his place and is like, “I am aware of some of your things even though you are not aware of me.” Intrigued by the ego stroke, Sinéad O'Rebellion invites her in.
You can tell that Bono FitzEnya is a rocker, because the studio is full of eclectic leathers and a dressmaker’s form. The two ramble on about lovin’ sounds and lookin’ for new sounds, because, at their cores, Rayna and New Character are very dull people with little to say: Rayna drives this point home for me by saying that she got into music to “share her truth.” Haha, whatever sister.
Then they get hammered and record, because musicians know how to party.
Rayna goes back to Not Jack White’s place and there is some unnecessary subterfuge about their drunken night together, which was “magical.” Like sex magical? No, like studio karaoke magical, as filmed on a tablet. That’s “magic you can’t teach,” where magic means drunkeness. “Whiskey-soaked” is how she wants all her reviews to read, but the record company is like, “WE DO NOT WORK WITH LIAM MCGUINESS.” Why? According to Rayna, he told them off at the VMAs. The VMAs. If you think CIA scandals are like high school, wait ‘til you hear about the music business! (Topical.)
Over in Politicsland, what a surprise: Powers Boothe has an iron fist on the Belle Meade Police Department! He sets up a little traffic violation (with Teddy’s permission) for Coleman, who gets busted with the pills (revealed to be Oxy) Deacon turned over to him last week. Way to go, Junkie Mom! Not since Rush Limbaugh has an OxyContin addict had such a direct effect on politics. Anyway, the little run-in with the cops makes Coleman late for the “Clean Campaign Pledge” deal which is a lame thing that no one cares about. Teddy makes it, though, signs some cardboard, and has his picture snapped with Peggy the Thief.
Coleman has to go through an embarrassing press conference where he tells the truth about the Oxy and admits to being an alcoholic, 20 years clean. Deacon meets up with him and is pretty “my bad” about the whole drugs in the car thing, but Coleman is NBD about it. Know why? Because he’s the one that’s had the private investigator trailing Teddy, snapping out-of-context pictures with Peggy that look like an affair is taking place. Coleman is making mixed emotions faces about releasing the pictures, but his wife, to date the only smart person on the show, is like, “You do not owe those gross people a thing.”
And here is how Juliette wins my love! Publicist McKenna is making her do a bunch of hokey do-goodery to win back fans after her essie larceny, and Juliette finds herself at the zoo with dopey football nerd Sean Butler. It’s his charity function, and they take a goofy press shot that later trends with “pro-football hashtags,” because Twitter is all publicists do, I guess.
McKenna sets up a date for Juliette and Sean. Juliette is not pleased by this at first, because he has weak stats and barely touchdowns on the offense and also has an Easter Island head (my interpretation). But then they get in her private jet and fly to South Beach! Oh. Oh. He plays her song for her and, like, whisper sings and it’s embarrassing, but no worry, because they are soon in FL at a very standard-looking club, which little-drinking football virgin Sean describes as “a wild scene.”
NSFW interlude: “In a scene like this you get a contact high.”
The boozy duo exit the club (“This is my happening and it freaks me out!”) out the back door and are confronted by paparazzi, razzing Juliette about Junkie Mom. Madden 2013 knocks the guy down, and they quickly bail. By the time Juliette makes it home, McKenna has unpublished photos of the Golden Boy all corrupted, and she is like, “This is not how you do PR!” But Juliette buys off the pap with $25,000 to get the pictures of Big Dopey Sean, because she liiiiikes him. He thanks her for her intervention and invites her for a “stay in” date because he’s a dork? Ooh, I hope he’s gay.
It turns out that Morgellon’s sufferer Scarlett has been covering the rent for her boyfriend Avery, the biggest corn kernel in Turd City. But he’s been working super hard, by having his bandmates find out if regional promoter Reed Olsen is coming to their gig. If so, it could lead to an opening spot for The Lumineers!
Giggin’ at the 5 Spot, Avery proceeds to date-rape the stage while Scarlett sways in the crowd like a tuft of cat hair on a wobbly lollipop. She was too busy pulling fibers out of her skin to notice the out-of-place MILF-y looking broad checking out the band, along with the bespectacled bro at the bar. Turns out nerd glasses is Reed, who is polite but “meh” to Avery, but oh, that woman? That’s only Marilyn Rhodes, Manager. She thinks Avery could be huge (his dick, not his band) and gives him her card.
Buttery hodgepodge of fish sticks and resentment Avery shows up at Deacon’s house the next day under the guise of gifting a delicious casserole to ask for advice re: Marilyn. Deacon suggests he not waste his time or money on a manager, and that he could put a word in with Reed to see about an opening spot. “Small town,” he says. “No duh,” we say. “I thought you didn’t like me,” Avery says. “Double no duh,” we say.
Due diligence Deacon chats with Marilyn at The Bluebird, and asks her to stay away from Avery, because she is basically a predator. The sexual kind. He doesn’t want Scarlett (pick, pick, pick) to get hurt. Gunnar eavesdrops because of course he does. Deacon presumably also chats with powerful regional band promoter Reed, but it doesn’t matter because another band got the gig. Curses! Avery is soooo sad, and meets Marilyn at the 5 Spot. She’s like, “I will get you a residency and a demo pressed and get you played on college radio,” to which every Nashvillian replied, “What college radio?” He agrees to meet with her later (for implied sex) rather than rehearse because he is bad at being in a band.
Gunnar finds Scarlett picking at pink threads jutting out of her fingertips and invites her to “check out that bar in 5 Points” — which is, I guess, 3 Crow? Anyway, it was all basically a way to blab to her about her uncle Deacon’s talk with Marilyn. Scarlett just calls him “Deacon,” which, disrespectful, and goes off to confront him. Deacon tells Scarlett, who is a 7-year-old’s idea of a grownup, that Marilyn only reps “good-looking guys under 30 and only signs them after a certain closeness has been established." SWEET GIG! Marilyn is my hero.
Cut to nocturnal emission Avery rolling around with Marilyn, doing all kinds of face kissing. She goes in for a downstairs kiss but he decides to have morals for a second and walks out. Marilyn still has red wine and a white leather sofa, so she is fine, YOLO. Later at home, abandoned Lisa Frank factory Scarlett is soooo mad, and asks Avery if he slept with her. He denies it, which is true, but she is still correctly upset that he went over to bone her and only just changed his mind. She shows up at Unkie Deacon’s house with a suitcase (no warning call? again, disrespectful) so I guess they have broken up? Avery guesses so, because he goes back to sex lady’s house, for sex.
Pick, pick, pick.