Hey ‘Nashville,’ Stop Trying to Make Scarlett Happen

Nashville, Clare Bowen and Connie BrittonABC Television Network

ABC has invited Nashville back next year for another 22-episode season of country-fried drama. And we’re all for it. More acoustic sets at the Bluebird. More of Juliette’s glorious side-eye. And the series definitely can’t end until Rayna is back together with Deacon — we all know that’s where we’re headed. They’re soulmates, y’all.

Nashville is an ensemble series. And with a sizable stable of characters, it does a series good to let a few of them fade to the background for a while. For Season 3, we’re nominating the show’s perpetual wilting flower Scarlett O’Connor for that position. Clare Bowen has had the sad duty of playing Nashville‘s resident victim. Scarlett doesn’t make things happen. Things happen to Scarlett. Throughout her arc, she’s held on to that bewildered expression — the one that makes her look like every step she takes is against her will. Does someone have a gun to your head, Scarlett? Is a man holding someone you love hostage, thereby forcing you to take off your apron and sing a few bars?

What’s worse is that, as an audience, we’re told that Scarlett is a rare talent — the makings of a sensation —  but clearly she doesn’t have the verve or personality to back it up. No one wants to watch a dead-eyed girl halfheartedly strum a guitar while gazing longingly at her ex. That’s what college open mics are for. The last straw was Scarlett’s generic perscription drug meltdown — the kiss of death for many an inscrutably tortured artist character. The pressures of performing! A crazy mother! That kicky red tutu that was so not her! Scarlett just couldn’t take it and overdid it with a bottle of tiny white plot devices. When last we left her, she’d quit on Rayna, who had already spent who knows how much of her label’s money on producing Scarlett’s album and promoting her, and picked up a few shifts at the Bluebird. Can that please be it? Nashville is a series about country music. It’s time to cut the characters loose who want no part of that.