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Series: Nashville
You know, there might be some tension here.
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. (Until she commits suicide.) 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.

Khouri's husband, T-Bone Burnett, was in charge of the show's music in season one; his absence from season two has 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  or sisters Lennon and Maisy Stellanote  due to scheduling problems - aired Wednesday April 23 in Nashville's usual 10pm timeslot. Several of them (but not the two main stars) went on a three-city tour in April-May.

Unsurprisingly, several soundtrack albums (including one for said TV special) are available as well as digital compilations spotlighting Clare Bowen and Hayden Panettiere.


Tropes associated with this series:

  • 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. Eric Close is also missing from "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad."
  • Advertised Extra: Coleman was never really in episodes enough to justify being a regular.
  • The Alcoholic: Deacon. Thirteen years sober - though it took five times in rehab to get him there.
  • And Starring: Powers Boothe and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in seasons one and two.
  • Archnemesis Dad
  • 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 singer Pam Tillis, 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."
  • As Himself: Brad Paisley in "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" (even though his real life wife plays Peggy!) (Until... well, you know.) Zac Brown and Rascal Flatts's Jay DeMarcus also appear, as does Mario Lopez.
  • Ascended Extra: Chris Carmack, Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella (Will, Maddie, and Daphne) were promoted to regulars in Season 2.
  • Badass Beard: Liam has one to rival Bear McCreary.
  • Berserk Button: That is Juliette's bean dip. That is not yours.
    • Don't disrespect Scarlett in front of Gunnar or you'll be sorry.
      • And don't go behind Juliette's back unless you really like the idea of her ripping you a new one. In front of her entire staff. At like two in the morning.
      • Oh, and don't go around mentioning that Deacon is Maddie's biological father if Teddy is anywhere near. Seriously, just don't.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Rayna (Betty) and Juliette (Veronica) for Deacon.
    • Teddy (Betty) and Deacon (Veronica) for Rayna.
    • Gunnar (Betty) and Avery (Veronica) for Scarlett.
    • Scarlett (Betty) and Hailey (Veronica) for Gunnar.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dante, not only was embezzling Juliette's money, he also tried to turn her against her mother and get her sent back to rehab despite being clean.
    • Layla as well.
  • Black Best Friend: Coleman to Deacon.
    • Although... Deacon doesn't seem to be feeling it since he found out how Coleman advised Rayna to cut him loose and keep Maddie's paternity secret.
    • Zoey to Scarlett.
  • Book Ends: "You're No Angel Yourself" begins with Maddie listening to Deacon singing "A Life That's Good" and ends with Maddie and Daphne singing that song themselves.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Maddie in Season 2.
  • 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 ), 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.
  • The Cast Showoff: Half the cast qualify, really (see Non-Singing Voice). But Juliette doing a solo number with the church choir ("Where He Leads Me") pretty much settles it for her.
    • Scarlett, of all people, matches her in "Lovesick Blues" when she sits in with a bar band and does a completely gratuitous cover of "Ring Of Fire."
  • 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 / 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."
  • The Cutie: Scarlett.
  • Daddy DNA Test: Rayna and Teddy did this with Maddie after she was born. She found it and wasn't happy to see the result.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" is almost completely about Scarlett and the aftereffects of her on-stage meltdown.
  • Distressed Damsel: Scarlett.
  • Dark Secret: Lamar implies that Deacon is Maddie's father and not Teddy. It's outright confirmed in "Be Careful of Stones That You Throw".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Why, Miss Juliette Barnes, of course ("Why are you sharin' my jet? Oh, that's right, 'cause you can't afford one").
    • Although other characters, notably Rayna, also have their moments (on being told that Juliette needs to get laid: "That is so not her problem").
  • Demoted to Extra: Powers Boothe (Lamar) and Robert Wisdom (Coleman) in season 2.
  • Dream Team: Rayna and Juliette with Deacon on guitar leads to one awesome performance.
  • Driven to Suicide: Will in "Tomorrow Never Comes." He doesn't do it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Juliette did this after learning that Dante conned her.
  • Duet Bonding: Deacon with both girls, though Juliette seems to enjoy it more and Rayna thinks it was a mistake. Scarlett and Gunnar's main mode of bonding too.
    • Subverted with Rayna and Juliette. They're professional enough to put on a great show, but are still bitter rivals.
  • 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 and Avery (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".
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Juliette.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Averted with Scarlett - the label tries to put this image on her, but she's visibly uncomfortable with it.
  • 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, season two's 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 are for the mid-season finale (Elvis Presley's "Tomorrow Never Comes") and the season finale (Randy Travis's "On The Other Hand").
  • Informed Ability: Rayna is regularly held up as a country music legend — but as Clive James pointed out, it would be easier for Connie Britton to be a Shania Twainnote -type if she could actually sing like her...
  • 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: Little Miss Sparky Pants (Barnes as per Jaymes).
    • Luke Wheeler is also known as Wheels Up.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Juliette was about to tell Avery, but Scarlett ended up showing up wearing his shirt, leaving her to leave in tears.
  • 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."
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: From "Lovesick Blues" after another Jaymes-Barnes dispute:
    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.
  • Leno Device: Juliette is a guest on Conan.
  • Lingerie Scene: Juliette (more than one, unsurprisingly).
  • Manipulative Bitch: Peggy.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Juliette Barnes, Hayden Panettiere.
  • Meaningful Name: The Spanish word for queen is reina - as in Rayna Jaymes, queen of country music.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: Going by the cover for the season 2 DVD, Misses Britton and Panettiere have had extensive plastic surgery (as well as having shrunk and shot up in height respectively).
  • Ms. Fanservice: Juliette's wardrobe (see page image) is one attraction for male viewers. Actually, Panettiere herself is an attraction for male viewers (as is her co-star).
  • Murder By Inaction: Teddy watches as Lamar Wyatt has a heart attack. He begins to step forward to help, then stops, not even calling 911. Lamar dies.
  • My Nayme Is: Her nayme is Rayna Jaymes.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Scarlett O'Connor.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted with Olivia Wentworth.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hayden Panettiere's pointed out that Taylor Swift (who many feel Juliette is based on) is far nicer - and tallernote  - than her character. Evidence: Unlike Juliette, Taylor's never been caught shoplifting. Connie Britton has also denied Rayna's based on Reba McEntire.
    • Several believe Rayna and Juliette have quite a few real-life equivalents, e.g. Faith Hill being usurped by Carrie Underwood, and Hayden's admitted Juliette is inspired a little by the latter. Carrie doesn't mind too much, but she does mind a bit.
      • Although maybe not even that much, as the end credits for "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" include "Special Thanks To Carrie Underwood."
    • Juliette's music sounds a lot like Miranda Lambert's.
    • Sean seems to be based on Tim Tebow.
    • Pretty much sums up Juliette following the shoplifting and her extremely short marriage.
    • 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: Juliette with Sean, and Scarlett with Gunnar.
    • Actually, Juliette and Scarlett with just about anyone, given both 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.
  • 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.
  • Rags to Riches: Juliette, which is one reason she hates Rayna.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rayna (surprise, surprise) gives one to Juliette in "Lovesick Blues."
    • And another, understandable one following Juliette's disastrous secret gig (where Maddie was one of the fans hurt) in "When You're Tired Of Breaking Other Hearts."
    • Juliette finally gets to give one - to the Wentworths (particularly Olivia) - in "Hanky Panky Woman."
    • But then she gets another one from label executive Jeff in "Just For What I Am."
    • And returns the favour in "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" when Jeff drops her from Edgehill following her refusal to apologise for something that, let's not forget, she didn't even do:
    • In "Crazy," Scarlett gives one to her mom with her song "Black Roses." It probably wasn't a good idea because she did not take it well.
  • The Rival: Layla to Juliette.
  • 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.
  • She's Got Legs: Look at the page image.
  • 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.
  • The Sponsor: Coleman does double duty as Deacon's AA sponsor and his Black Best Friend.
  • Start My Own
    • 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.
  • Tonight Someone Dies: Peggy in "Tomorrow Never Comes." Although it's not confirmed until "I'll Keep Climbing."
  • Truth in Television: Juliette's path to redemption is littered with backsliding, especially in the bedroom.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Rayna and Deacon refer to couples sleeping with each other as "writing".
  • Wham Line: From "She's Got You":
    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.
  • X Meets Y: Dallas meets Glee.
  • Your Cheating Heart: In the twelfth episode, Teddy cheats on Rayna with his ex-girlfriend, Peggy - and in the first season finale, Peggy tells him she's pregnant.
    • Juliette helps a husband cheat on his wife. What she doesn't know is that the wife also wants her.

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