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Nashville is an ABC series starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, produced by Lionsgate Television and ABC Studios and created by Callie Khouri. Set in the capital of country music, the story revolves around two singers: Rayna Jaymes (Britton), wife and mother whose career isn't so glittering as it used to be, and Juliette Barnes (Panettiere), young singing sensation who's very definitely a shining star.So much so that Rayna's label wants her to go on tour and open for Juliette; needless to say, neither woman much likes the other. But that's not the only problem either has to face, in terms of business or their personal lives - Rayna's father Lamar (Powers Boothe), the most powerful man in Nashville (whom she has a bad relationship with), coaxes her husband Teddy (Eric Close) to run for mayor so he can run his own agenda, including getting the city a Major League Baseball team. And Juliette isn't exactly free of parental issues herself, with a mother who's a drug addict. Their issues continue in season two, with more parental problems and conflicts with their label Edgehill unto both ladies departing, with one jumping to her own label Highway 65 and the other being pushed. No prizes for guessing which is which.The series also follows wide-eyed innocent Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen), an ingenue with an outstanding voice who, lucky lass, has two men eyeing her - her partner Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and bad-boy musician Avery (Jonathan Jackson); and Nashville guitarist Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten), who has a history with Rayna - and who both she and Juliette have been linked with professionally and personally. But rather more so with Rayna, to the point that her firstborn child Maddie is Deacon's daughter, which eventually leads to Rayna and Teddy's divorce.Season two also sees more of seriously closeted up-and-comer Will Lexington (Chris Carmack), introduced towards the end of season one, and the arrival of Layla Grant (Aubrey Peeples) as a new signee to Edgehill, second-place winner of American Hitmaker, and rival to Juliette. In season three Rayna befriends another country newcomer in the form of Sadie Stone (Laura Benanti), while Juliette becomes pregnant (coinciding with Hayden Panettiere's real-life condition at the time).Khouri's husband, T-BoneBurnett, was in charge of the show's music in season one; his subsequent departure from the show (due to prior commitments) led to some fans citing Seasonal Rot.Nashville: On The Record, a TV special focusing on the show's music, recorded on March 29 at the Ryman Auditorium and featuring most of its stars in concert - Panettiere, Bowen, Esten, Jackson, Palladio, Carmack and season two arrivals Peeples, Will Chase (country megastar Luke Wheeler) and Chaley Rose (Scarlett's childhood friend Zoey Dalton), but not Britton due to illnessnote though she does make a brief appearance in a non-singing capacity or sisters Lennon and Maisy Stellanote Rayna's daughters Maddie and Daphne due to scheduling problems - aired Wednesday April 23 in Nashville's usual 10pm timeslot, and is included on the Season 2 DVD set as an extra. Several of them (but not the two main stars) went ona three-city tour in April-May.Unsurprisingly, several soundtrack albums (including one for said TV special) are available as well as digital compilations spotlighting ClareBowen and HaydenPanettiere.
Tropes associated with this series:
Ability Over Appearance: Occurs in-universe when blonde Juliette is hired to play brunette Patsy Cline in a biopic.
Absentee Actor: In spite of being Promoted to Opening Titles in season two, Chris Carmack and the Stella sisters are absent from some episodes in said season (and in Carmack's case, in season three's "I Feel Sorry For Me," which is also minus Will Chase). Eric Close is also missing from "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," "How Far Down Can I Go" and "I'm Coming Home To You" (though he does appear in "You're Lookin' At Country," thus pulling double duty).
Advertised Extra: Coleman was never really in episodes enough to justify being a regular.
Daphne in Season 2. While Maddie has her own storyline going, her sister really doesn't have enough screentime to justify being a regular.
Arch-Enemy: Teddy and Deacon. Teddy and Lamar. Juliette and Jeff.
Armored Closet Gay: Will, though he does it more out of necessity because he feels an out gay man would never it make it country music. He outs himself to Layla in "On The Other Hand," unaware that a camera recorded it all...
As Herself: Robin Roberts, Katie Couric, the ladies of The View and Entertainment Tonight's Maria Menounos, as well as actual country singers Pam Tillis, Sara Evans and Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson in "I'll Keep Climbing," and fellow American Idol alumnus Kellie Pickler and First Lady Michelle Obama in "All Or Nothing With Me."
California Doubling: Mostly averted; unlike Hellcats and Memphis Beat, this Tennessee-set series is actually filmed there. Played straight, however, when it leaves the city (Juliette and Sean going to Miami, the Red Lips White Lies Tour, most of "I'm Sorry For You, My Friend" (which takes place in four different cities in four different statesnote San Diego, Austin, Atlanta and Nashville itself), when Juliette goes to her hometown in Alabama, etc).
Averted with "All Or Nothing With Me," some of which takes place at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky/Tennessee border.
Call Back: Rayna and Deacon's acoustic performance with Juliette watching on the side in "I Can't Help It (If You're Still In Love With Me)" is mirrored in "I've Been Down This Road Before," with Juliette performing with Deacon and Rayna watching.
Scarlett gets over her stage fright at her first major performance when Avery sends an egg whisk to her dressing room. Before they broke up, he'd been very encouraging of her career, including convincing her to practice for him using a whisk as a microphone.
Casting Couch: A female manager only signs handsome male musicians and only after they have sex with her.
In "She's Got You", Juliette breaks down the reality that this happens to female performers all the time and they're just expected to be OK with it.
Juliette doing a solo number with the church choir ("Where He Leads Me").
Scarlett sitting in with a bar band and doing a completely gratuitous cover of "Ring Of Fire" ("Lovesick Blues").
For the season three premiere, Charles Esten performed a song he co-wrote with Deana Carter. We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen.
Chekhov's Gunman: Watty White seemed to just be a famous old musician, but it turns out that he was the man that Rayna's mother was having an affair with.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Avery's old band. After Avery abandoned them, they started playing with Scarlett and Gunnar, but after Scarlett started pursuing her own solo career, they were never mentioned again. This is particularly odd, as Avery's pursuing a solo career is presented as a tremendous betrayal, but Scarlett's departure doesn't even merit a Hand Wave.
Cool Loser: Deacon. Despite being a No Hit Wonder and mostly playing bars in Nashville for a living, every musician loves him and wants him on their tour.
Creator Cameo: Director Mario Van Peebles appears as Jeff's boss in "How Far Down Can I Go."
Creator Cameo / As Himself: Executive producer Steve Buchanan during the CMA Awards rehearsal in "A Picture From Life's Other Side" and at Juliette's induction to the Grand Old Opry in "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right."
Executive Meddling: In-universe. Rayna faces increased pressure from her record label to make her music more appealing to younger fans. Juliette faces a lot of opposition to her plans to play more mature music and move away from her glitzy overproduced concerts. This really intensifies in season 2 when Jeff Fondheim becomes the new president of the label and insists that Rayna release her new album even though she wants to spent more time on it. It gets so bad that he sends bailiffs to seize the master tapes of all her music and Rayna decides to buy out her contract and start her own record label.
Fake Pregnancy: After Peggy told Teddy that she was pregnant, he proposed to her. Shortly before the wedding Peggy miscarried and was afraid that Teddy would back out of the marriage. She kept acting like she was still pregnant and after the wedding she faked a miscarriage. Teddy did not find out until Peggy was murdered.
Fanservice: Deacon, Avery, Luke and Will (and in some cases Teddy) for the ladies, Juliette and Rayna (and more demurely Scarlett) for the gentlemen.
Gender-Blender Name: Deacon names his new male dog Sue in reference to the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue".
Generation Xerox: Juliette and Avery's relationship is gradually mirroring Rayna and Deacon's. With a baby to boot... although unlike Rayna, Juliette a) didn't hide the kid's paternity from the world and b) married Avery not long afterwards.
Greatest Hits: Rayna doesn't want to release one, seeing it as implying that her best years are behind her. When trying to convince her to perform with Juliette, her agent attempts to use this as leverage: either she'll work with Juliette or her new Greatest Hits album will be hitting stores shortly. It comes along anyway, following her and Deacon's car accident.
The Hecate Sisters: Rayna is the matron, Juliette is the crone and Scarlett is the maiden.
Hide Your Pregnancy: Weirdly, initially straight and averted. Juliette's pregnancy is established in "That's Me Without You," but...
Connie Britton: (Hayden) was a little further along when we started shooting this season than I think the writers realized because they basically had this season start off right at the end of last season. So we've been doing a lot of like, "covering it with the handbag."
And funnily enough, this also happens in-universe as Juliette is acting in a movie at the time.
Thoroughly averted as of "I'm Coming Home To You," the first episode to feature Hayden's/Juliette's baby bump.
Hotter and Sexier: Averted with Scarlett - the label tries to put this image on her, but she's visibly uncomfortable with it.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Gunnar must have a type, as he towers over both Scarlett and his ex Kiley (Sam Palladio is 6' 2", while Clare Bowen and Alexa PenaVega are 5' 1").
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The season one episodes - the pilot excepted - are named after Hank Williams songs... and quite why the producers made this decision for a series about two female country stars is a mystery.
Interestingly, from season two onwards the episodes are mostly named after songs by female country singers (Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton etc). Does someone important on the show read this site? The only exceptions in season two are for the mid-season finale (Elvis Presley's "Tomorrow Never Comes") and the season finale (Randy Travis's "On The Other Hand").
Season three seems to be shaping up as a mixture ("That's Me Without You," "How Far Down Can I Go"). Incidentally, so far only two of the songs chosen as episode titles ("Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" and "Crazy") have actually been performed on the show, and neither of them have been in the episodes after which they're named.
Informed Flaw: ...while Juliette's pipes aren't nearly as bad as the show initially wants you to believe (it's worth noting that Hayden Panettiere has more songs on the show's soundtrack albums than her co-star).
In-Series Nickname: Luke Wheeler is also known as Wheels Up. More brielfy, Juliette was once dubbed Little Miss Sparky Pants.
Ironic Echo: Juliette tells a DJ that the Wentworths love her. She doesn't how right she is.
Jerk Ass: The new head of Edgehill Records, Mr. Jeff Fordham. This sentiment is first expressed by Juliette, then by Avery, Rayna, Emily and even the man himself ("I was an ass, OK?"). Also, he's apparently as good in bed as he is at his job.
Killed Off for Real: Jason (Gunnar's brother) in "Dear Brother"; both Dante and Jolene in "A Picture From Life's Other Side"; Peggy in "Tomorrow Never Comes"; Lamar in "Too Far Gone."
Liam (to Deacon): I wouldn't want to get in between those two... Actually, I would.
The Last DJ: Several. Avery becomes one, destroying his masters and throwing away his career because he couldn't agree with the direction his managers were steering his music, and instead scraping by as a roadie.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hayden Panettiere's pointed out that Taylor Swift (who many feel Juliette is based on) is far nicer - and tallernote Hayden is standing on a step, stretching up and wearing high heels in this picture, and Taylor still has to crouch down - than her character. Evidence: Unlike Juliette, Taylor's never been caught shoplifting. Connie Britton has also denied Rayna's based on Reba McEntire.
Layla seems to have been inspired by American Idol contestant Lauren Alaina (both teens who finished second on their respective shows, though the similarities end there).
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Avery backs out of a sexual encounter with a woman looking to sign him, but Scarlett gets mad at him anyway. While he did the right thing this time, he previously screwed up Scarlett's demo and she realizes that she no longer trusts him.
One Head Taller: Both Juliette and Scarlett with just about anyone, given the ladies are "teeny weenies." Daphne Conrad is the only regular character who's shorter than either of them, and she has a good excuse what with her being a prepubescent little girl.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: While Hayden Panettiere's acting is very good, her Southern accent doesn't always hold up. Clare Bowen's accent also slips sometimes to reveal the Australian underneath.
As does Sam Palladio's, except for "Australian" read "English."
Parental Substitute: Glenn is essentially Juliette's father and as of Season 3, Rayna is close to her mother.
Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Deacon names his new dog Sue. His new girlfriend finds it strange that he gave a female name to a male dog and he tries to explain that he named the dog after "A Boy Named Sue" but she does not get the reference. It never crossed Deacon's mind that a Nashville resident would not recognize a Johnny Cash reference even though she previously warned him that she does not like country music.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: After hearing Dominic figuratively destroy his music, Avery decides to literally destroy his music and hops on the first bus back to Nashville, knowing he's potentially costing himself millions.
Shout-Out: In "We Live In Two Different Worlds," Juliette is dropped from presenting at the CMA Awards - also shown on ABC, and guess which young blonde star of Nashville presented on them for real the following night. (Hint: It wasn't Clare Bowen.)
In "Guilty Street," Big Machine gets mentioned by Juliette, Bucky and Rayna. Big Machine, as well as being Taylor Swift's label, also releases the show's music.
Fed up with the Executive Meddling from her record label, Rayna decides to buy out her contract and start her own label.
When Deacon finds out that Teddy arranged for him to be dropped from the music festival, he decides to stage his own concert in a parking lot across the street from the festival grounds. He recruits Gunnar who was promised a choice spot in the festival and was instead scheduled to perform in the off-hours on a remote stage near the portable toilets. Deacon handles the setup and logistics while Gunnar is tasked with promoting their endeavour on social media.
Take That: From the news conference for the Red Lips White Lies tour in "I'm Sorry For You My Friend":
Rayna: My fans are gonna get the best Rayna Jaymes show they've ever seen.
Juliette: It'll be the first one for most of mine. (laughs for real)
Rayna: (laughs for wanting to kill Juliette) Next question?
The treatment of Layla suggests a pretty dim view of singers who got their start on reality competitions (Juliette dubs her a karaoke singer because she got noticed by singing other people's songs), though this didn't stop Kelly Clarkson and Kellie Pickler from making appearances.
And then there's this little gem to Jeff after the two of them have had sex:
Juliette: Thanks for the worst minute and a half of my life.
The Three Faces of Eve: Rayna is (literally and figuratively) the mother, Juliette is definitely the seductress and Scarlett is the child.
Time Skip: Season 3 abruptly skips ahead two months even before the winter hiatus, when they got tired of having to conceal Hayden's baby bump.
Tonight Someone Dies: Peggy in "Tomorrow Never Comes." Although it's not confirmed until "I'll Keep Climbing."
Olivia Wentworth(to Juliette): I know you're sleeping with my husband. But what I don't understand is why you're not sleeping with me. (kisses her)
What the Hell Is That Accent?: Scarlett sounds vaguely Southern, but her lack of origin makes people wonder where the hell she's from. Turns out she was born in Natchez, MS, but we still don't know where she was raised.
Who's Your Daddy?: Averted - in the very next episode after Juliette finds out she's pregnant it's established that the father is Avery, and not Jeff as she'd feared because the child was conceived before she and Mr. Fordham hooked up.