'Nashville' isn't really about Music City
By BEVERLY KEEL
The new Fox reality show Nashville, which premiered Friday, is neither as good as I'd hoped nor as bad as I had feared.
My concern was how the show would portray Nashville, which has fallen victim to ridiculous hillbilly stereotypes from Hollywood over the years.
With the exception of the "redneck golfing" scene featuring music managers firing shotguns, I can put some of those worries to rest. The city of Nashville appears to be hip, modern and beautiful, thanks to some nice shots of downtown.
There is little footage of regular Nashville residents, so there's no real sense of what the city's people are like.
The show focuses on six twenty-somethings who moved to Nashville to pursue their music. Make no mistake: Raging hormones — instead of impressive harmonies — are the focus of this series.
The music and the industry behind it serve as a backdrop for their love lives, taking on no more significance than occupations of characters in sitcoms. From the creators of Laguna Beach, Nashville resembles that show, only with a Southern accent.
This "docu-soap" is far more soap than documentary; several of the scenes feel highly scripted. Since these are not professional actors, the lines are as awkwardly delivered as a local cable access show.
It remains to be seen whether appearing on Nashville was a good career move for the majority who want to be recording artists. Unlike most new artists who are judged solely on their music, public perceptions will be formed about these singers long before their albums are released.
So far, it's a good risk for Sony BMG's Chuck Wicks, the handsome and commercially appealing singer who comes off funny, quick and kind.
The star just might be Mika Combs, a stunning coal miner's daughter with an authentically country voice. She appears to epitomize innocence and possess that intangible "it" factor required to make it.
On the other hand, the self-involved Rachel Bradshaw, daughter of legendary quarterback Terry Bradshaw, makes an awful first impression. She kisses the disingenuous but charming cad Clint Moseley, lies to her boyfriend about it and demonstrates horrible judgment. She commits the ultimate sin in the eyes of many on Music Row when she tells her father, "I want to be a star."
Nashville is supposed to be all about the music. But this Nashville isn't.