“Go home. Go to hell. Just don’t stay here.” – Rayna
Fame is a funny thing. The desire for it can be all consuming, having it can be a curse and losing it can be devastating. Nashville has helpfully illustrated this point by giving us three women at opposite ends of the fame spectrum.
On the bottom rung is Scarlett. She finally made it to her demo recording with Watty White and choked hard. She has the talent, but its being wasted by her all-consuming devotion to her sleazy boyfriend Avery. Last week she straight up told Gunnar that she felt guilty for this fortune while her boyfriend is still struggling with his band. He’s the one with the dreams of musical stardom; she only came to Nashville for him. Scarlett might not have come to Nashville with the dream, but she did come with the talent and seeing it recognized has put her own stars in her eyes. Then Avery stopped being a sleaze and gave a very touching pep talk that boiled down to, do it for me. Poof, guilt gone, hit song recorded. Then Avery reverted back to sleaze and introduced himself to Watty White, thus planting the seed of doubt that all that non-sleazy romance was a ploy to get himself in with a big producer, which makes it even sleazier. Sleaze,
Scarlett may be having dreams of fame as a singer songwriter, but the closer equivalent to what she’ll find herself marketed as is current sweet young thing, Juliette Barnes. Juliette has it all, so of course she is categorically depressed. She sings bubblegum pop with a twang which has become the new definition of country yet she yearns for legitimacy. The only people surrounding her are paid to be there, her mother uses her just like oxycodone and the man she pinned all her hopes on rejected her. Sure, Deacon will sleep with her, but he won’t tour with her and that truth is harder to swallow than any of the other disappointments fame has given her. And so, she does what any young girl feeling blue does, heads to the make-up aisle and picks herself up some nail polish. She just forgets the paying part. And the teenage fans with smartphone video capabilities behind her. (Side Note: I know Nashville is going to turn this video into a giant scandal, but in the actual world of celebrity, this seems minor. Real pop star scandal usually includes drugs, or DUIs or sex tapes or hanging out with Lindsey Lohan. Hell, Wynona Rider stole whole armloads of merchandise and people mostly just laughed about it and made t-shirts. End Side Note).
Juliette may be (she’s not) headed for a crash and burn, but a harder reality is the slow fizzling out that faces most one-time sensations and currently faces Rayna James. The intimate tour wasn’t the miracle cure for her family’s lack of income and her financial advisors are still pushing the co-tour with Juliette. That goes over as well as you’d expect. They also suggest she take a loan from her father, which goes over even worse. But somehow (he probably has her house bugged) Big Daddy Lamar hears this idea and gives the loan without asking. With the minor stipulation that Rayna make like its 1954 and abandon her career to support her husband and take care of the kids. Not the most supportive of gestures, but Rayna learns her father’s lack of warmth or general decency towards her stems from her being exactly like her lyin’, cheatin’ mother. I guess a softness for singer/songwriters is a genetic trait.
The idea of a co-headlining tour introduced us to this series, and in the intervening episodes has been trashed by every character it effects, namely Rayna and Juliette. But, it stands as the only option that will give both ladies what they want. It will give Rayna and her family an income and it will legitimize Juliette with the “authentic” country fans. Not to mention, Deacon has made it clear that where Rayna goes he follows, so getting her on tour with Juliette give her Deacon as well. Also, seeing Deacon with Juliette might help Rayna let go. But maybe that’s not what she wants after all.
At this point it’s inevitable that Juliette and Rayna are going on tour. And it’s going to be a delicious hot mess of snide remarks and jealous cat fights. I can’t wait.
– Devin Mainville