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Series / Nashville

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Nashville is an ABC turned CMT series starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, produced by Lionsgate Television and ABC Studiosnote , and The Bedford Falls Companynote  and created by Callie Khouri. Set in Nashville, 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 Scarlett's uncle, 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 (Maddie and her sister Daphne are played by real-life sisters Lennon and Maisy Stella), 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; Scarlett's childhood friend and aspiring singer Zoey Dalton (Chaley Rose) and country megastar Luke Wheeler (Will Chase) also arrive on the scene, with Luke becoming The Rival to Deacon for Rayna. The musically blessed Maddie also starts to try and take flight as a tunesmith.

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) and crosses paths with pop singer/country wannabe Jade St. John (Christina Aguilera) who turns out to be Jeff's ex. Deacon has a much, much less pleasant health issue to deal with, meanwhile... he has liver cancer. Juliette is not in a happy place herself (mentally) after giving birth. Season four sees Rayna take on a new Jerkass singer called Markus for her label, while Juliette's professional life and private life are at odds.

Khouri's husband, T-Bone Burnett, 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.

In 2014 Nashville: On The Record, a TV special focusing on the show's music, was recorded on March 29 at the Ryman Auditorium with Panettiere, Bowen, Esten, Jackson, Palladio, Carmack, Peeples, Chase and Rose, but not Britton due to illnessnote  or the Stella sisters due to scheduling problems; it 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 on a three-city tour in April-May and toured again in 2015; Esten, Jackson, Palladio and Bowen also perform regularly in Nashville. 2016 sees them touring again, with Bowen, Carmack, Esten and Palladio also going overseas to the United Kingdom.

A second On The Record special was recorded on January 31, 2015 and aired on March 25, with most of the cast members listed above plus Reba McEntire, Deana Carter, and this time Lennon and Maisy (but not Chaley Rose as she had left the series by then; Connie Britton didn't take part in this one either, and Hayden Panettiere was also MIA due to her being on maternity leave).

Unsurprisingly, several soundtrack albums (including ones for both TV specials) are available as well as digital compilations spotlighting Clare Bowen, Hayden Panettiere and Lennon & Maisy.

Sadly, certain political developments hastened the end of the series as a contributory factor, as ABC cancelled it in May 2016. Not helping matters was Panettiere's ongoing struggles with PPD, and going into holistic treatment in Utah.

However, the series was picked up by CMT for a fifth season (also due to be streaming on Hulu), with Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton, and most of the other regulars returning (except for Aubrey Peeples and Will Chase, although the latter will be a guest star). The massive fan outcry from viewers and supporters within the US and aboard (plus within the cast and crew themselves) and the subsequent online petitions and social media campaigns for the show's return that followed may have triggered the sudden reversal.

Tropes associated with this series:

  • Ability over Appearance: Occurs In-Universe when blonde Juliette is hired to play brunette Patsy Cline in a biopic.
  • Actor Allusion: Juliette is not the only one who dates football players, so does Hayden.
    ...first there was the older man thing and then the football player thing. It almost feels like they're copying HP's real life love life. - Television Without Pity poster.
  • Advertised Extra: Coleman was never really in episodes enough to justify being a regular.
    • Daphne in seasons two and three. While Maddie has her own storyline going, her sister really doesn't have enough screentime to justify being a regular.
  • The Alcoholic: Deacon. Thirteen years sober - though it took five times in rehab to get him there.
    • He went Off the Wagon after learning Maddie is his daughter. And in season three he finds out he has liver cancer.
      • He recovers. And opens a bar called The Beverly, named after his late sister. We repeat, an ex-alcoholic opens a bar.
  • And Starring: Powers Boothe and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in seasons one and two.
  • Archnemesis Dad
  • 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 - and he officially comes out of the closet in "Before You Go Make Sure You Know."
  • Artistic License Medicine: A number of viewers noted that since Scarlett can't be a liver donor for Deacon because her blood type (AB) isn't the same as his (O), and since Scarlett's mother Beverly must also be AB, therefore there is no way Beverly could logically be the match the hospital claims she is.
  • 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", and Kesha in "After You've Gone."
  • As Himself: Brad Paisley (even though his real life wife plays Peggy!) (Until... well, you know.), Zac Brown, Rascal Flatts's Jay DeMarcus, Mario Lopez, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan. And Steven Tyler in the season four premiere, doing "Crazy" with Juliette. Elton John in "It's Sure Gonna Hurt."
    • Various local Nashville media people (of both sexes) also appear as themselves.
  • Ascended Extra: Chris Carmack, Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella (Will, Maddie, and Daphne) were promoted to regulars in Season 2; Oliver Hudson and Will Chase (Jeff Fordham and Luke Wheeler) get the same treatment in Season 3 (although ironically Hudson does not appear in the first episode where he's a regular); Aubrey Peeples finally became a regular in Season 4.
  • Audience Participation: The fans got to name Juliette's daughter in an online poll - the choices: Bella, Blythe, Cadence and Nina. Cadence won.
  • Back for the Finale: Almost everyone.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: People with liver cancer who need a transplant to save them generally tend to not look as good as Deacon does, to put it mildly.
    • Sadly averted with the black eye Sadie's ex Pete gives her - it remains on her face for several episodes, including Sadie using makeup to hide it for public appearances.
  • Being Good Sucks: In "We've Got Nothing But Love to Prove," Avery decides (after some serious consideration) to allow a hospitalized Juliette to have supervised visits with Cadence. It will be the best way for Juliette to prove herself and be good in the long run for Cadence.
    Emily: You're doing the right thing.
    Avery: Then why do I feel sick to my stomach?
  • Berserk Button:
    • That is Juliette's food (bean dip in season one, salt water caramels in season three). 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.
    • Don't go around mentioning that Deacon is Maddie's biological father if Teddy is anywhere near. Seriously, just don't.
    • And as Eric Close pointed out, it's never a good idea to call Rayna a bitch - "especially in front of freakin Deacon."
  • 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.
  • Big "NO!": The last words of Jeff Fordham, just before he saves Juliette from jumping off a roof... and before he himself goes over.
  • 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, though Layla's initial characterization had shown she was a manipulator to begin with so this might not really count.
  • Bland-Name Product: In "Please Help Me, I'm Fallin'," Scarlett discovers that Beverly was turned down by a label called Tarist, whose logo looks remarkably like the Arista Records one. (Which is strange, since real labels are mentioned by name in the series.)
  • Body Double: When Juliette has to do a love scene for the Patsy Cline biopic in "Road Happy," it's clearly not Hayden Panettiere on top of Derek Hough (she usually doesn't use doubles, but...).
  • 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 from 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).Also played straight in season 6 when Juliette goes to Bolivia as part of her involvement in Darius Enright's cult. Yes, you read that correctly.
    • 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.
    • Juliette bumps into Avery backstage at a concert in the very first episode. He later brings it up and she remembers, kickstarting their relationship.
  • The Cameo: In "If Tomorrow Never Comes" Carla Gugino plays Rayna's late mother.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Deacon has two in "Before You Go Make Sure You Know" which is set before and on the day that Beverly becomes his liver donor.
  • 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.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Brad Paisley appears as himself, while his wife plays Peggy on the show.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sadie acquires one several episodes before it goes off into her abusive ex Pete.
  • 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.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Seeing as Panettiere has been confirmed as a regular in Season 5, it can be safely assumed that cliffhanger shown at the end of the 4th Season finale will get one of these.
  • Cover Version: Several, most of them country (like Scarlett and Will doing "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)," Maddie and Daphne rendering "Ho Hey" and Juliette performing "Crazy"note ) but a few... not (Scarlett and Zoey with the Supremes' "Come See About Me," Rayna and Luke handling "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and Juliette and Luke teaming up for "Bad Reputation").
  • 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." And Callie Khouri As Herself as part of the Thanking the Viewer ending of the Series Finale.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Rayna in "If Tomorrow Never Comes."
  • 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; Oliver Hudson in season 4. And Eric Close as well, since he won't be returning as a regular.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Bucky tells Luke, his competition, about an artist he wants to look at for Rayna's label knowing full well the guy would fit well on Luke's label. Predictably, said artist chooses Luke.
  • Distressed Damsel: Scarlett.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Jolene in "A Picture From Life's Other Side."
    • Will in "Tomorrow Never Comes." He doesn't do it.
    • Layla in "First To Have A Second Chance." She survives.
    • Juliette in "Please Help Me, I'm Fallin'." Jeff saves her, but he goes over instead.
  • 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.
  • Dull Surprise: Some of the cast.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The idea that Juliette can't sing only shows up in the pilot episode.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Everyone who's a regular by the Series Finale
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Especially if they're Rayna, Juliette and Scarlett.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Lamar vs. Teddy, though they aren't that different from each other.
  • 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 Fordham 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.
    • A positive example in season 3 when Jeff, in the wake of Layla's suicide attempt and the fact that the producer of Love & Country has footage of Will outing himself to Layla, has the show cancelled.
  • 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: For the ones who like gentlemen, primarily Deacon, Avery, Luke and Will; for the ones who like ladies, Juliette and Rayna (and more demurely Scarlett).
  • Flipping the Bird: Juliette gives one to the protestors (of course, being that this is ABC, it's just off-camera).
  • Friendly Enemy: Rayna and Juliette usually.
  • 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. More tragically, Juliette shares Deacon's fondness for lapping up the sauce.
  • Get Out!: Avery tells Juliette this after she throws a snow globe towards him and the baby.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Both Juliette and Layla turn out to have these.
  • Hide Your Gays: Will, though averted with other characters. And by Will himself in "Before You Go Make Sure You Know."
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Juliette, initially (in keeping with the show's original intent of having Juliette be an antagonist). This approach soon vanishes.
  • 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").
  • I Have Brothers: A beautiful gender inversion of this trope with Sean Butler in 1.06 - Juliette is surprised that he knows her music, and he simply replies "I have a sister. Come on."
  • 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 is a mixture ("That's Me Without You," "How Far Down Can I Go") as is season four ("'Til The Pain Outwears The Shame," "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye"). 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 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 Twain-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: Luke Wheeler is also known as Wheels Up. More brielfy, Juliette was once dubbed Little Miss Sparky Pants.
  • 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.
    • Juliette signs with Jeff Fordham because she knows he cares about her professional life but not about her personal wellbeing. Saving her life is the very last act he performs before he loses his.
  • Jerkass: 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.
    • Markus Keen, Highway 65's newest signing, also performs this function.
  • 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"; Beverly in "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye"; Jeff in "Please Help Me, I'm Fallin'"; and Rayna in "If Tomorrow Never Comes"
  • 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 and Live With Kelly & Michael.
  • Lingerie Scene: Juliette (more than one, unsurprisingly).
  • Little "No": The last line of "Can't Get Used to Losing You," and the answer Juliette gives to the question of whether she's ready to check into rehab - as she does so.
  • Live Episode: The season three premiere had live musical performances in amongst the filmed drama.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Peggy.
  • Manipulative Editing: Happens to Juliette when she decides to confront the protestors claiming she's a homewrecker. One of them shouts that Juliette's going to Hell, so she tells him, "There is no God that would listen to a crackpot like you." Predictably, the media edits her quote to make it sound like she just said, "There is no God.", adding to her troubles.
  • 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).
  • Mr. Fanservice: Will in Love & Country, judging from his complaint that the show makes him look like he doesn't have a shirt.
  • 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.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: When Rayna appears on Dancing with the Stars, her outfit has a plunging neckline.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The network promo for "Stop The World (And Let Me Off)" implies that Rayna and Juliette will be having a "mom-off" over the latter encouraging Maddie to go on stage and perform with her. Although Juliette does get confronted over it, it comes from Luke (she and Rayna share no scenes in the episode at all).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rayna's taking down of Jeff Fordham when he tries to sign Maddie behind her back and without her consent results in his getting fired. But it also the itsy bitsy teeny weeny side effect of destroying Edgehill Records...
  • 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).
    • At first glance, Jade St. John seems to be based on Jessica Simpson's brief foray into country.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: An accurate summation of Juliette's facial expression in "This Just Ain't A Good Day For Leavin'" when Rayna finally loses her composure at a pissed-off Juliette (both have had a very stressful day, Rayna because of Deacon's and Sadie's woes and Juliette because almost everyone blew off her baby shower that very day, with Avery off on tour), and then Miss Barnes looks horrified, and Rayna immediately apologises for going off on a pregnant, hormonal woman. Whose waters just broke...
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain:
    • The show subverts this gloriously with Rayna and Juliette by gradually showing that they're not that different from each other.
    • Lamar and Teddy appears to be this, but it just becomes Evil Versus Evil.
  • 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. Ditto Rainee Blake as Alannah in season 6.
    • 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.
  • The Place: Obviously.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Liam is written off in a quite mean-spirited way after Michiel Huisman left the show for Game of Thrones and Orphan Black.
    • Tandy also takes a bus trip in "How Far Down Can I Go," although she comes back in "First To Get A Second Chance" to attend Rayna's abortive wedding to Luke.
    • Zoey lights out for Los Angeles in "Two Sides To Every Story." She comes back for Beverly's funeral in season 4.
    • Sadie hits the road in "This Just Ain't A Good Day For Leavin'" after she kills her abusive ex and escapes being charged.
    • Teddy gets arrested at the end of season three, and Eric Close is leaving due to a creative shift to put the show's focus on (or back on) the music business. However, he still appears... from prison.
  • 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 Beverly with her song "Black Roses." It probably wasn't a good idea because she did not take it well.
    • She gives Beverly a non-musical one in the wake of her not only refusing to help her ill brother Deacon but claiming she and Deacon weren't compatible in terms of blood, when they were.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Hayden Panettiere's pregnancy was written into the show for Juliette becoming pregnant as well.
    • A somewhat darker take as the storyline of Juliette suffering post-partum depression in season 4 was interrupted when Panettiere checked herself into rehab for treatment of the exact same condition, necessitating Juliette written out for several episodes.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Season three has notably less original musical material than the first two.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Teddy's main character arc in the third season brings disgraced former Charlotte, NC mayor Patrick Cannon to mind.
  • The Rival: Layla to Juliette.
  • Rock is Authentic, Pop is Shallow: Rivals Rayna and Juliette are both country musicians, but Juliette (who is trying to unseat Rayna as the 'queen of country') is younger and more country-pop, and she's looked down on for relying on auto-tune.
  • 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 Records gets mentioned by Juliette, Bucky and Rayna - it's brought up in other episodes as well. (Big Machine is Taylor Swift's label, and also releases the show's music.)
  • Show Within a Show: Love & Country, the reality TV show following Will and Layla which gets Cut Short - see Executive Meddling above. And in season 6, Nashville's Next Country Star Daphne enters. She doesn't win.
    • And Shenandoah Girl, the Patsy Cline biopicnote  starring Juliette, which comes out early in season 4.
  • The Sponsor: Coleman does double duty as Deacon's AA sponsor and his 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Some have made this claim about Cash Gray, an up-and-coming blonde singer-songwriter with an (ex-)alcoholic father who's due to cross paths with Rayna - and whose arrival on the show coincides with Hayden Panettiere's temporary absence.
  • Survivor Guilt: Juliette in season 5, when her plane goes down killing everyone on board except her.
  • 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.
  • 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."
    • And Jeff in "Please Help Me, I'm Fallin'."
  • Too Dumb to Live: How Layla is portrayed on the Love & Country reality show she and Will do, which really gets to her by the time of "You're Lookin' At Country."
  • Toplessness from the Back: Juliette on several occasions, although see Body Double above.
  • Truth in Television: Juliette's path to redemption is littered with backsliding, especially in the bedroom.
    • And being pregnant is hardly a walk in the park ("I've Got Reasons To Hate You").
  • Two First Names: Plenty - Rayna Jaymes, Teddy Conrad, Maddie and Daphne Conrad, Lamar Wyatt, Tandy Wyatt, Gunnar Scott and Coleman Carlisle.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Rayna and Deacon refer to couples sleeping with each other as "writing".
  • Well, This Is Not That Trope: "Wrong Song" is sung to a cheating boyfriend and is all about how he's probably hoping it'll be a song about how you forgive him, but too bad, because this song is about what an asshole he is!
  • 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 and at least partially raised in Natchez, MS.
  • 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.
    • Played straight with Micah, who isn't Gunnar's son but that of his deceased brother.
    • Seems set to be played straight with who the father of Scarlett's baby is in season five.
  • Worthy Opponent: Rayna and Juliette in a good day.