I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I love the TV show Nashville.
I mean love like I can’t wait to watch the show every week and find myself making comments like “Nashville should be on every night” when it’s over.
I’ve only felt this way about a few other shows… Friends, Dexter, West Wing. The difference is that those were all good shows, overall if not every season. (Don’t get me started on the series finale of Dexter.)
But let’s face it, Nashville is a big honking soap opera. A really entertaining soap opera, but still a soap opera.
The show does have several things going for it though.
First there’s the music.
I’ve been known to listen to a little Patsy Cline and Hank Williams but I’m not what I’d call a country music fan. Especially not country pop. (I feel about Taylor Swift the same way I feel about the Dexter finale.)
But the music on Nashville is really quite good, especially the songs Scarlett and Gunnar sing. The harmonies are nice and some of it has a real bluegrass, old timey feel.
Even the songs that are sound like Top 40 country are fun in the context of the show.
I can sit through a “I’m going party ‘til my cowboy hat falls off” type song once. It’s hearing it on the radio so often that it becomes obvious that there absolutely no depth behind it that turns me off.
Maybe it’s because I’m marginally in the “music business” but I love the industry aspect of Nashville too.
I’m sure it doesn’t work exactly like it’s portrayed, but it’s fun to watch the artist / manager / record label relationships, groaning when a good artist is ignored because s/he isn’t marketable and cheering when the same artist finally gets a break.
Call it schadenfreude, but I enjoying getting a glimpse into the nasty side of the country music industry, even if it is fictional.
At a recent conference I shamelessly eavesdropped on a conversation at the next table between a country music agent and a big-time promoter. It sounded just like dialogue the show, with jaw-droppingly large artist fees and promises to book the “next big thing” as an opening act.
The other reason I love the show is because it’s set in Nashville, a city I visited for the first time last September and am determined to live in before I die.
I have rarely felt a connection to a place so quickly.
Within hours of arriving in Nashville I was saying, “I love it here.” A day later I was ready to quit my job and move into one of the craftsman style houses in the surrounding suburbs.
Until I do, the show gives me a little Nashville fix every week with scenes in Ryman Auditorium, Printer’s Alley and the riverfront.
Reading back over this, I realize that I’m obviously no television critic.
I haven’t even mentioned the writing or the acting, both of which are fine. Nothing special, but fine.
This isn’t a fifteen hundred word “think piece” on Nashville’s place in television history or the importance of Connie Britton’s character to all over-40 women in the entertainment industry who are competing with younger, prettier versions of themselves.
Nashville is what it is… a country music soap opera with a few good songs and a great location.
But as far as guilty pleasures go, it’s a pretty damn good one.