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Relationship Deep Dive: Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella

Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella in Hart of Dixie's "Blue Christmas"
©The CW

Type: Romantic
Show: The CW’s Hart of Dixie
Featured Characters: Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella

Whether on television or in the real world, one question remains imperative to ask about all romantic relationships—do they challenge each other? If we look at some of the most successful fictional relationships, the answer is almost always a hefty yes. And for a show as ridiculously cheesy as The CW’s Hart of Dixie, there’s one couple that grips viewers almost instantaneously. George Tucker was a fantastic man, but good lord, he and Zoe Hart would’ve been the most boring couple. Because the truth is, the perfect match isn’t always the person with whom there are endless similarities. Sometimes, the ideal partner is one you least expect—the one who rocks your world in a way no other person could. And sometimes, he’s the boy next door. 

Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella rapidly climbed their way onto my favorites list. There’s so much to love about these two—their banter from day one was stereotypical in the best way, giving us the kind of romantic comedy beginning of dreams. It was easy to understand that when the two of them finally got together, they’d help each other grow significantly.

They showed one another what it truly means to have a home, and beyond that, they accepted one another as they were while fighting through all the obstacles in their path to be together.

Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella and the Art of Connecting

Hart of Dixie "The Big Day" - Pictured (L-R): Wilson Bethel as Wade and Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart in HART OF DIXIE on THE CW.
Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW ©2012 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

Connected—that’s what happens between Zoe and Wade somewhere between intentionally pissing each other off and developing an awkward friendship, they click on a much deeper level. While the banter works to set the tone, it’s during Season 1, Episode 22, The Big Day,” where we see that though their words say one thing, their hearts have something else in mind. It was supposed to be one night, but the build-up leading towards their kiss is what changes everything—the time alone at a barn, patching up wounds, losing then finding the baby goat, and the interruptions that lit their ever-present curiosity on fire. The romance tropes in this episode alone are God-sent. 

This scene changes everything in the best way, allowing the series to earn hefty credits in the romance genre. Zoe’s choice to use her new coffee maker Wade hates to blow up the generator is the perfect way to get his attention after all the tension from the barn. (It’s also an excellent choice to have Matt Nathanson’s “Run” featuring Sugarland playing in the background.) Because at this moment, it becomes her choice more than anyone else’s, allowing us to see that she’s putting aside her feelings for George and, for the first time, doing something she wants. As all this happens while Wade is getting ready, the instant change in his expression when he realizes she wants to give them a try is picturesque. 

Where we have opposites attract and reluctant neighbors as a trope, after this episode, we head towards friends with benefits territory. The sex is great until the feelings start to strengthen, punching hard and fast, forcing both of them towards confusion and, most importantly, wanting more. Wade and Zoe couldn’t be more different, and it’s what gets in the way of their relationship until the fourth season, but the sole fact that they choose to take a risk on each other is the loveliest part. A big-city woman and a small-town man sounds pretty glorious, no matter how you put it.

The Challenges

Wade Kinsella and Zoe Hart in Hart of Dixie "Red Dye"
©The CW

At the end of the day, love knows nothing of social class, but that doesn’t change the fact that the adjustments, especially with outside voices, will make things tricky initially. (It’s also what happens when the series is airing on a network that would rather push drama as opposed to romance, but that’s neither here nor there.) For the most part, a large chunk of Season 3 doesn’t exist to me, and the ending of Season 2 will always be the unnecessary parts that create challenges that aren’t organically delivered.

I’ll never condone cheating; there’s nothing worse in a romance, whether in the real world or fiction. But for the sake of digging into the canon universe, if Wade hadn’t lost Zoe through such a terrible mistake, he would’ve never grown to be the man he is. And if Zoe hadn’t been betrayed as she was, she would’ve never had the kind of faith in life as she does—Zoe would’ve never seen how much he’s indeed grown. When we first meet Zoe, she lacks a lot of faith in true love, and it’s entirely understandable because she not only comes from a house with divorced parents, but she then learns the father she’s always believed was hers wasn’t. Further, for Wade, when people constantly see him as the golden boy’s best friend and treat him as though he comes from a less “superior” family, it makes it easier to believe that second best is all he’ll ever get.

When the world always believes you’ll be a failure, eventually, you begin to accept it as a reality. Because of these reasons, Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella needed each other most—she needed to believe that real, true love and partnership could exist without a scientific explanation, and Wade needed the will to reach his highest potential. If the two had ended up with anyone else, their worlds wouldn’t be as gratifying. If there’s one thing science can never deconstruct, it’s love. Psychology can’t even fully do that. It is what it is, and it’s the best part of all our lives—whether romantic or platonic, it’s what gives us unsurpassed strength, comfort, and faith. And it’s the very thing these two needed to believe that they not only deserve but that they could be good at it.

All the hiccups aside, they both prove how much they’ve grown by the time we reach the fourth season. Wade hated himself with such intensity that he drunkenly chose to mess up the most special relationship he’s ever known. And after he realizes how stupid his choice was, he turns his life around with the motivation that his growth will prove to Zoe that he can be a better man. Wade may not have won the bar he wanted, but through hard work, after purchasing the Rammer Jammer, he found a better outcome of success. He learns the vitality of earnestness and finds the courage to help him deal with moments of absolute weakness. After realizing she’s her best self in Bluebell, Alabama, and seeing how much Wade has grown, Zoe learns the importance of contentment despite situations she cannot control. She realizes that there’s much more value in the little things and accepts that she can be happy even when she doesn’t have it all together or despite her uncertainties.

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It’s not easy being in a relationship with someone with whom there aren’t many similarities; it’s scary at first, but in this case, love is about finding beauty and inspiration through someone else’s eyes. Zoe didn’t always understand Wade’s world, and he didn’t understand hers, but it’s what made their bond gorgeous. And the most critical detail to cement their relationship is the detail that they tried—he went all the way to New York to convince her that she was the love of his life while she stood in front of a crowd and confessed her feelings for him.

Relationships are about compromise and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make one another happy. At the end of the day, Zoe didn’t have to like his band’s music, but she had to support him and love him. He didn’t have to understand why New York was so great, but he had to respect her love for it. They both had to learn that it’s okay to be taken care of by someone else, it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to be vulnerable. It didn’t matter whether they agreed on everything, but it mattered that they were always willing to hear one another out. The detail that they were willing to try is what plays a massive role in the two of them becoming better, more selfless and brave because of their love for one another.

The Future

Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella in Hart of Dixie's "Bluebell"
©The CW

Zoe’s pregnancy threw them both off because neither was sure of their status when it happened, but even though they were both terrified, they knew they’d have the courage to stand united for whatever was ahead. After all, a baby from a manufacturer you love is the best thing ever when you’ve always dreamt of having one, right? (If you know, you know.) Although neither are prepared to raise a baby, at this point, their love for one another is strong enough where their dedication and willingness to hear each other out will undoubtedly lead to excellent parenting.

They taught each other that the unexpected things are the most beautiful, and their differences make them stronger. When Zoe was hesitant to label their relationship through marriage, Wade backed off, but when she realized how much it meant to him, she understood that the title of husband and wife fits them both. And of course, as dramatic as can be, because she wanted to marry him so badly, she couldn’t even wait until she was out of the delivery room.

Upon first meeting one another, neither of them would’ve ever guessed that they’d be falling head over heels in love someday, challenging one another to be the best versions of themselves possible. It’s a shame the series ended so quickly because it would’ve been riveting to watch them navigate through their role as parents. What mattered at the end of the day was that even though they both had fears, they’d be able to conquer anything together. And that’s what makes their story a constant, lighthearted treat.

Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella learn that what the world thinks of them doesn’t tie them down. They’re in charge of their own destiny, and since they’ve fallen for one another, they grow every day.

I can’t possibly end this without talking about how much I love the little things: Wade randomly carrying Zoe into the house, dancing with her, getting her cheese flavies whenever she’s craving them, or the two of them getting on each other’s nerves for fun. She’d spend days playing video games with him if that’s what he wanted. He’d been told he was too much of a womanizer and could never settle down or really love someone. She’d been told she was too bossy and opinionated. Despite all this, they found an eternal friendship with one another—Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella learn that they’re better together than apart. Through acceptance and adoration, they understand the profundity of true love.

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Gissane Sophia View All

Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) — or, as people often call her, "Goose" — is a romance aficionado who's taken her Master's in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture. She's the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters.

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