Nashville TV: What Inspired the Rayna-Juliette Competition?
We have lots of feelings about Nashville’s Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) and Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton). On one hand, we love that they challenge each other to be better, and on the other we’re always nervous that shit is going to hit the fan and one of them might kill the other in a battle for Deacon (Charles Esten). But it’s that latter mode of thinking that series creator Callie Khouri is trying to avoid.
“I think anytime you’re doing something you have to kind of be three steps ahead so that it’s not going to be interpreted in a way you don’t want it to,” Callie tells the Huffington Post. “I mean sure, you can water [“Nashville”] down to its most simplistic form and say, ‘Yeah, it’s a competition between two women who are fighting for the same spot,’ but it’s really more about women in an incredibly competitive market, and how few spots there are and what you have to do to be relevant at any age in that market.”
That message has certainly become clearer as the show goes on and we get to know the varying drives that have fueled both characters to get to where they are. And although Callie isn’t necessarily focused on who “wins” at the end, she is fascinated by the characters and the way people react to them.
In fact, Callie’s interest in that battle for relevance between the two women is one of the central reasons she wrote the show. “[It is] much more interesting to me than two women who can’t stand each other. That story we’ve seen a thousand times. And it’s not the kind of thing I watch. I don’t watch any reality shows. I don’t watch ‘[The Real] Housewives’ of Beverly Hills or New Jersey or any place, where women are pulling each other’s hair. I think it’s base entertainment. It’s female wrestling disguised as something else. I’m not into it.”
Just like Rayna’s fight to remain in the spotlight, and Juliette’s desire to reinvent herself in her own image, Callie has had a battle of her own. “[Adult women] are a market that I feel is underserved in the entertainment population at large. I don’t see the kind of women represented that I know or that I’m attracted to. I really want to try to write more nuanced, less simplistic kind of stuff, and its hard to find a place to do that.”