‘Hart of Dixie’: Rachel Bilson Once Pranked a Co-Star With a Cold Sore After On-Screen Kiss

From Jane the Virgin to Riverdale, the CW certainly knows how to deliver a series with heart-pounding romance. Hart of Dixie, starring Rachel Bilson, was certainly no exception. It delivered four seasons of love triangles and heartbreak, with fans hanging onto every moment of title character Zoe Hart and boyfriend Wade’s relationship. Perhaps Bilson was trying out some method acting when she took the drama off-screen, pranking her co-star Wilson Bethel after a romantic scene. 

‘Hart of Dixie’ showcases big personalities in a small town

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Hart of Dixie premiered on the CW in 2011 and graced viewers’ screens until 2015. Although its first season received mixed reviews, it still garnered nearly two million viewers and received nominations for both People’s and Teen’s Choice Awards. Its popularity is understandable — following a city girl who moves to a small town, there’s sure to be an aspect everyone can relate to. 

After Zoe Hart fails to land a nursing fellowship in New York, she sets off to Bluebell, Alabama. She’s inherited half of a family practice, and bringing in patients relies on her ability to connect with the locals. Unfortunately, her city-girl lifestyle and complicated love life often get in her way. Things really heat up when she begins to connect with her neighbor, Wade… but it’s hard to figure out your feelings and fight to fit in at the same time. 

The O.C.‘s Rachel Bilson is Zoe, while her on-again, off-again lover Wade is found in American actor Wilson Bethel. Although Hart of Dixie is more light-hearted than Bethel’s previous roles in Daredevil and The Young and the Restlessit hasn’t been without its fair share of scares. 

Nothing turns down the heat like a cold sore

Rachel Bilson attends the 2018 Baby2Baby Gala Presented by Paul Mitchell at 3LABS on November 10, 2018 in Culver City, California.
Rachel Bilson | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Years of filming and on-screen camaraderie is likely to lead to some real-life friendships. It’s no surprise to hear that the actors behind Hart of Dixie have connected as if they were actually small-town pals. 

According to TheThings, pranks were one of the cast’s favorite ways to show affection. One day, Bilson decided to prove that her acting skills extended beyond her Hart of Dixie part, and thoroughly duped Bethel. Apparently, after their characters Zoe and Wade had an on-screen kiss, Bilson texted Bethel a picture of a fake cold sore. 

Needless to say, Bethel likely worried that he and Bilson had shared much more than a kiss. Despite her devilish antics, though, it seems like the cast easily survived the drama. 

Fans are hopeful the cast will stick together

The faces of The Hart of Dixie remained so close that fans remained optimistic for a reunion, even though the show was canceled in 2015. In a 2020 interview with Pop Culture, Bilson spilled that she’s just as desperate for a revival as her audience members. Conversations in their cast member group chat frequently revolve around their collective desire to return to Bluebell, although it seems like there’s no official plan yet. 

While many viewers were devastated when the show was removed from Netflix in December, it could be the first step toward a season five. With the adventures now gone from the streaming giant, there’s an opportunity for another network to claim rights and continue the saga. Unwilling to let the chance go to waste, Bethel made a call to HBO Max on Twitter. 

Clearly, he doesn’t harbor too many hard feelings about that cold sore picture. Although HBO has yet to respond to Bethel’s challenge, we’ll hold out hope for a 2021 full of Zoe, Bluebell, and maybe a few more pranks!