‘Nashville’ brings multiple strong female characters to small screen

My husband and I just finished watching season one of “Nashville.” It is such a fun show to watch and not what I expected at all. I thought “Nashville” was going to center on a stereotyped washed up 40something queen of country (played by Connie Britton) usurped by a young, shallow-ambitious bitch (played by Hayden Pantierre.) I was prepared to see one female pitted against another, female ambition demonized, and all the catfights ensue over men and beauty.

HAYDEN PANETTIERE, CONNIE BRITTON

Instead, “Nashville” stars two smart, talented, and complex women who are primarily defined by their professions. Country star Rayna James is in the prime of her career. I was trying to think of another 40someting female in the imaginary world who is portrayed as successful, kind, hot, and a good mom. Usually female characters have to pick and choose, not allowed to be mothers and successful, beautiful and smart (whereas, of course good fathers must be successful to provide and being successful makes them hot.)

“Nashville” is a soap opera. I won’t deny that. But it’s well acted and if you like country music, it’s addictively entertaining.  It also feels to me– though I nothing about it– pretty authentic to the town of Nashville, like we are getting to see and hear about real places. Watching the show feels like learning about a whole different world than my own. Even better, there is a third super-talented female country writer/ singer character, Scarlett O’Connor, in the show.

Nashville

“Nashville” is written by Callie Khouri of “Thelma and Louise” fame, who once again celebrates cool female protagonists in this narrative. Rare and remarkable. I can’t wait for season two.

Reel Girl rates “Nashville” ***HH***

5 thoughts on “‘Nashville’ brings multiple strong female characters to small screen

      • The show isn’t memorable enough for me to recall every instance of problematic writing. But in general, I find that (like many soap opera/melodrama characters) the women are erratic, impulsive, and overly emotional. Rayna has been clinging to Deacon and keeping him in an emotionally unhealthy, co-dependent relationship. Rayna lies to her daughter. She has problems accepting responsibility for anything. Juliette is a reasonably complex character but I feel like the writers sometimes have her behave poorly just to make Rayna look better. It’s like they don’t know what to do with her sometimes, though I think Hayden has been giving a great performance. Scarlett might be realistic but despite her occasional bouts of “feistiness,” she seems to be attracted to unhealthy relationships. Her immediate response is to accept the blame in arguments and later have the strength to walk away. But if she keeps repeating the same cycle, it’s going to lose its impact and she’s just going to become a weak character.

        I would say my favorite character is Rayna’s sister though I enjoy Juliette’s songs and Scarlett’s duets with Gunnar more than any other aspect of the show.

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