Nashville: where the stakes are low, the skirts high, and absolutely no one is gay. What hijinks have television’s most charming narcissists gotten themselves into this week?
Rayna & Juliette
Rayna James is a woman who has many opinions about music. She knows a thing or two about it, thanks to being in this business for over 20 years, in case you didn’t know. She’s just chilling with her cool new music bro Liam, listening to their hot tracks. But uh-oh, those damn label suits are sending word again that they want her to release a greatest hits album — how dare they? Sure, the family was “cash-poor” mere moments ago, but don’t they know that it’s authenticity and integrity that pays the bills, not shameless corporate shilling? She’s got the big label anniversary show at the Ryman to think about, anyway — oh, only now they want her to sing with Juliette at the show? “Ugh,” she cries. But she will do it if she can work with County Clare and write her own songs like a grown-up. It’s called playing the game. She is already penciling in an appointment to get “BALLER” tattooed across her chest.
Juliette is hanging out with decidedly less cool company, mashed-potato sculpture and football hero Whatshisface. She’s kissing him or whatever, gross, get a room, and her people inform her that while hanging out with him has improved her image, she is supposedly tarnishing his image with her vagina and all because of SEXISM. She is also playing the big ol’ label knees-up, but her boss, Snidely Whiplash the way they talk about him, tells her she can only do one song. “Ugh,” she cries. Now it’s a duet with Rayna, how about that? She is sad about that.
Speaking of ugh, guess who’s a virgin? Football virgin, saw that coming. Juliette is all up ons in spite of his atrocious tattoo sleeve that was designed by a child eating markers and throwing up on his shoulder. She shows him her boobs and everything (“everything” meaning those brown roots) but he shuts her down, sick burn. She asks him if he’s gay, and she’s lucky he didn’t start quoting Leviticus at her, frankly. He leaves. Later he apologies with roses of course and says, “I respect any woman too much to do that outside the confines of marriage.” (Translation: My base member shall sully thy bless’d maidenhead, thus bringing shame upon thy father’s house.) Advice time from me to you, Juliette: You are young, hot, rich, and famous. Go sleep with literally whoever you want.
So needless to say, Juliette has got some problems. She and Rayna meet and there is just instantaneous bitchery from both sides. They can’t agree on a song. Rayna is just reminiscing about Glory Days. Juliette hasn’t earned her place on the Ryman stage. Rayna needs Juliette to get new fans. Rayna doesn’t “believe” in that kind of music (I told you she had opinions!). Deacon, though, is getting a little tired of this nonsense! “Listen to her!” he tells Rayna. “Believe in yourself and stop being such a bitch!” he tells Juliette.
So they decide to write a new song and get smug about it pretty much immediately. “Let the verse breathe” and “the chorus is the hook” were just some of the embarrassing words the actresses had to say with conviction. They pulled a lyrical all-nighter, and then I guess got the band to throw some music behind it in, like, a couple hours? I don’t know how songwriting works, I’m not Scarlett. Anyway, SHOWTIME. They perform their brand-new unrecorded song to a cheering crowd. It will be a hit and make so much money. Their dresses were short (like short), which did not hurt. More Rayna/Juliette pls. The episode actually ended on a freeze frame of the duo!
Teddy gets a phone call from mayoral competition Coleman right before he’s stuck spending time with his beautiful and wife and adorable children. “Meet me at the riverwalk,” he says, with the football stadium all lit up in the background. A very subtle place for rivals to meet! Coleman suggests that Teddy withdraw from the campaign or he will release the not-really-incriminating photos of Peggy and Teddy hugging one another.
Lamar, my hero, is just poli-tricking all over the place. He tells Teddy to come clean. He tells him to only tell as much of the truth as necessary. He insists on letting Rayna stay in the dark. He wants to throw Peggy under the bus (fine with me). He wants to throw Coleman under the bus. And oh, he did some more devious string-pulling and somehow un-dismissed Coleman’s drug charges? Look, with all respect to Karl Dean, is being mayor of Nashville worth any of this?
As Jarvis Cocker sang, “Everybody hates a tourist,” and we are reminded of that wisdom as we see Avery and his band of bros taking photos of their sad little Lower Broad marquee. He is very crybaby about Scarlett, because she stood by her man while he played all those dive bars forever (5 Spot is not a dive, it’s featured on a major network drama ... argh, cognitive dissonance!), and so I guess she deserves to see him play at another venue in the same town. A place with maybe a backstage, and perhaps free beer? Who knows, this dude’s motivations are a befuddlement.
Island of Misfit Toys resident Scarlett, meanwhile, is cryin’ tearz in her beerz over Unkie Deacon’s sad love songs, which she suddenly just now noticed are sad love songs. (Listen to something for self-esteem, you dummy.) Gunnar, the guy in 10th grade who had a crush on you but you told him he “was just like a brother,” came over to offer a shoulder to cry on. And even though Gunnar is a noted simpleton, he gave the very good advice to the ostensible songwriter that she might want to consider writing about her human feelings. She is just not there yet.
Why? Because she is going through breakup sads in a way no one in the world has ever done before: flibbertigibbet cleaning. Scarlett, there are things in this world called Law & Order marathons and pizza. I highly suggest you meet. Unkie Deacon, luckily, is having NONE OF IT and decides to TOUGH LOVE her out of being a sadsack. Deacon is just all over this episode with good advice! “Cut your shit out.” — Deacon, to Everyone. He encourages her to get out of the house, which is prescient, because songwriting company intern Hailey (ha!) shows up just in time to slut her up and take her out on the town.
Scarlett, the Fredo of these Corleones, uses two hands to take a shot (seriously) and is getting hit on at the honky-tonk in no time. Gunnar is feeling his crush boner rise once more, especially after watching Scarlett perform with the band. That’s right, the show’s unconfident lump of gingerbread has discovered the secret to cure stage fright: liquor. Her Sears-commercial version of “Ring of Fire” prompts a decent-looking club rando to make out with her, but Gunnar pushes him away because of JEALOUSY and also a little bit of SEXISM.
Deciding to make a bad night worse, Scarlett takes a cab over to Avery’s house, and hops up the steps like an off-brand dollar-bin Barbie doll. “Blah blah blah,” she blahs at him. Oops, manager lady is there in a grown woman’s brassiere. Scarlett slinks back down the steps like your weird cousin’s secondhand Slinky. The cab was still there waiting and I bet you a million dollars she didn’t even tip. Manager lady used her boob power to introduce him to Dominic Wells (aka Wyclef Jean) so all that sex was worth it, I guess. Later she apologizes to Gunnar, at the Ryman, because of course, and says she is ready to songwrite again. “That’ll do, pig,” Gunnar says as he pats her on the head.
Deacon (Charles “Chip” Esten) used to be on Whose Line is it Anyway? HAHAHAHA.
(Whose Line? HT: Zack Bennett)