Like Revenge and Grey's Anatomy before it, ABC's Nashville is essentially a primetime soap opera — in the best way possible. The country music drama is filled with crazy plots and intense characters who always seem to be angry with each other, but there are two characters who stay in the periphery even though almost every twist directly affects them: Rayna's daughters. Played by real life sisters Lennon and Maisy Stella, Maddie and Daphne have had a few storylines of their own, especially Maddie, but largely serve to aid other characters' stories.
Maddie helps Deacon become responsible and shows Juliette's compassionate side, they both influence Rayna's career decisions and her relationship with Teddy. But what Nashville seems to forgot sometimes is that nearly every major event on the show so far has affected Maddie and Daphne, and they're probably one more family fight away from a breakdown.
In the show's first season, their parents went broke while their dad ran for mayor and eventually won, after some shady dealings with their even shadier grandfather. He also had an affair and divorced their mother, who was out on tour for much of these events. Before the season ended, Maddie found out that Deacon is actually her biological father, which lead the recovering alcoholic to relapse, fight with Rayna while she drove and subsequently, get into a car accident that would land her in the hospital. But hey, they got to perform "Ho Hey" on a real stage so that's something, right?
When Season 2 began, Maddie and Daphne caught a break when their mother woke up from a coma and still remembered them. Yay! Unfortunately, things went downhill from there as Deacon and Teddy fought over Maddie for a while and Teddy married the woman he had an affair with. At first Maddie wasn't pleased with the marriage, but eventually came around just in time for her brand new stepmother to be killed. And in case that wasn't enough, Maddie and Daphne's grandfather not only went to jail, but died just a few days after his release. But hey, Maddie got to play guitar with her biological dad, so that's something right?
It makes sense that Nashville focuses largely on Rayna's reactions to all of these events, she and Juliette are the show's main characters and it's meant for adults, but if things like this keep happening to two pre-teen girls, they're going to be effected in some way. They need to be, or the show won't be remotely realistic.
Sure, Maddie has had her bratty phases as she watches her parents lie to her on a daily basis, but because they're living in the world of Nashville, Maddie and Daphne have gone through more in two years than many people have in a lifetime and so far, the results are a few tears and hugs.
It's not that they should have some kind of breakdown, just that for realistic purposes, there needs to be something more. Maybe we can get a quick scene of Rayna dropping the girls' off at a therapist's office, or just sitting down and having a real conversation about everything that's happened.
Last week, Rayna started screaming, crying and throwing glasses around her father's office, shortly after her sister broke down over their father's death. Not long before that, Teddy was inconsolably sad and extremely angry over Peggy's death, while Deacon has only been sober for a few months. If these events can take such a toll on adults, Maddie and Daphne should at the very least be meeting with a guidance counselor.
But that's what you get for living in the world of a soap opera. Everything falls apart around you and if it's not your turn for an emotional arc, you just stand quietly by until it all settles. At least in that world, they have the genetic gift of Connie Britton hair. That's something right?