nashville is roughly my favorite tv show ever (well also i'm into justified right now). one of the many great aspects: the attempt really is to make a television equivalent of a country song, or country music in general. this gives the thing a kind of postmodern hyper-self-awareness even as it also works as a sheer soap. now this may surprise you a bit coming from a philosophy professor, but my own life has been filled with many of these themes, as well as basted in country music. i am a devotee of rural america. one character's brother just did 8 for armed robbery; my bro jim only pulled 5, though. the depiction of addiction and recovery (12-step variety) is the best and most real i've seen on television; it's a constant theme. in many ways, addiction has been the theme of my life: my father's, my brothers', my ex-wife marion's, my own. i sobered up (the first time, which lasted for 13 years) in nashville, as it happens, among many musicians, songwriters, and country stars. the more-or-less main male character deacon is right now on a 'dry-drunk', sell-the-house-and-go-live-in-the-cabin moment after 12 years sober. his real problem: he's spent much of his life helplessly loving a terribly wrong person, who's also 'the queen of country music.' i am going to speculate that such a thing is...possible. the relationships are absurdly rocky: the lies, the betrayals, the crazy fights, the d-i-v-o-r-c-e. um, yeah.
i wonder if all this happened to me because i love tammy wynette. well, no. but it has all made me love tammy wynette even more. everyone thinks that the hayden panetierre character is a 'pre-fab pop princess.' but they depict her as being, sort of secretly, an overwhelming songwriting talent. she bought some land out along the cumberland that used to belong to tammy; that's where she wants to build her house. meanwhile she's dealing - again i would say quite realistically - with her mother's meth addiction. (my ma is a non-addict, though. mama tried.) now, the palatial homes in belle meade, the rival divas, etc: that's a bit more outside my experience, but i dig it anyway. and it's a show where people really care about music and are really good at it: that's what actually matters most to these characters. i remember robert altman's unforgivable nashville: a completely ignorant hatchet job in which country musicians and others in the industry are pictured as talentless hicks, buffoons, and con men. perhaps that was the autobiographical element in altman's film, but it had nothing to do with nashville, which has its problems, but where the real talent and commitment are overwhelming. you might just stroll into a bar and hear someone singing like an angel, perhaps someone like the astounding clare bowen, who plays a nashville type: you know, just down from the hills: even she has no idea that she's a transcendent country singer, which is slowly dawning on the cast and the nation. this nashville is a very loving depiction, even as it also explores in its soapy way many problematic dimensions of the entertainment industry.