small town drama

Should You Move to Virgin River?

If you want to move to Virgin River, you better know how to fish. Photo: Netflix

So you’re thinking about moving to Virgin River, huh? Who doesn’t dream of a life off the grid in a picturesque small town nestled in the woods of Northern California? It seems peaceful. It seems like things could be simple and nice there. You could fish every morning, should that be a thing you’re into. There is only one food truck and it sells baked goods.

But Virgin River, as depicted over two seasons of Netflix’s series of the same name, is not your average small town. Sure, it is beautiful, and yes, it has the quirky mayor and cutesy annual traditions one might crave from small-town life. But it also has a whole bunch of other things that you should know about before taking up permanent residence there. Things like an illegal pot camp wreaking havoc on innocent citizens. And a fugitive, on the run from her monster ex-husband, hiding in plain sight. And a nice, handsome, sad man trying to fall in love but his ridiculous ex-girlfriend shows up pregnant with his twin babies which she told him about IN A LETTER and honestly how dare she and — well, now I’m getting carried away, but that’s what happens when you get involved with a town like Virgin River, and a series like Virgin River.

This little town is a hotbed for all kinds of drama, from “sexy cabin romance” drama to “burying bodies in the woods” drama. Suffice it to say, living in Virgin River can be very rewarding, but it is not for the faint of heart. So how do you know if this place is the right home for you? Well, we’ve come up with a highly specific (not to mention highly spoiler-y) questionnaire to help you decide if you should make the leap and move to Virgin River.

Are you sad? Good news! In Virgin River you will find an entire community of damaged people. Photo: Netflix

Are you a sad person looking to start over? 
You have a lot in common with Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), the nurse practitioner and midwife from Los Angeles who has had so many truly awful things happen to her I legitimately don’t know how she’s still standing. She takes a yearlong contract assisting the only doctor in a small town in hopes of fleeing her heaps and heaps of trauma.

But one cannot simply forget their sad story because that is not how life or small towns or TV dramas work. Instead, in Virgin River you will find the perfect place to dive into temporarily distracting small-town drama while also crying in your bed at night as one perfect moonbeam illuminates your face so it’s easier for people to see your tears. In Virgin River you will find an entire community of damaged people. Honestly! Everyone in Virgin River has a sad story! Even Connie — Gossip Queen, Supporter of Abstinence-Only Education, Ruler of the Town Phone Tree — has a truly devastating backstory! So you may seek out Virgin River in hopes of solitude, but you’ll find that it’s better to be surrounded by people who understand you as you try to move forward. Come to Virgin River, where the other sad people will welcome you with open arms! Just kidding, so many of them will hate you, you big city girl with your highfalutin’ ideas like digital medical files and trying to go through the proper channels to help an abandoned baby. Still, if even a small part of this appeals to you, pack up your box of tissues and the wedding ring that haunts you because yes, you should move to Virgin River.

If egg relay races and gruff-but-actually-kind doctors are your thing, we have good news for you. Photo: Netflix

Do you love small-town doctors who are stubborn, cranky, and territorial, but deep down are big softies once you get to know them?
Yeah, me too! You’d love Virgin River’s only doctor, Vernon “Doc” Mullins (Tim Matheson). He wants no part of Mel when she arrives after Hope McCrae, Doc’s sort-of-estranged wife and the town mayor, secretly hired her to help him as he gets older. He’s so mean and condescending! And then he sees Mel in action a few times and he’s won over. He’s one of the two people she wants there as she honors her late husband! They stand on a dock and hug and watch a tiny sailboat together! He wants her to be one of the few people at his vow renewal! He hangs up a little paper sign with her name on it on the front door with his until he can get a more permanent sign! He loves Vivaldi and ballroom dancing and wine cruises! Okay, now I’m just listing reasons why Doc Mullins is perfect for me. ANYWAY, if you enjoy people like Doc Mullins, yes, you should move to Virgin River. Or Bluebell, Alabama, from Hart of Dixie, where the exact same doctor lives, but goes by the name of Brick Breeland.

Who needs a mayor who does actual mayor stuff? Not you! Photo: Netflix

Do you want to live in a town where the mayor does almost zero mayoral work but finds time to meddle in all of your personal affairs?
Does Virgin River have a meddling mayor for you! Hope McCrae (Annette O’Toole) is a tricky one because she seems great and welcoming and she says things like she “prefers to raise husbands” over children, but then after a little time with her you realize Hope is the worst. She will ruin your personal life and say she was only trying to help like that is an apology. Also, she’s so mean to her kind-of-husband Doc and we’ve already been over how I feel about him. Her duties as Virgin River’s mayor are nonexistent but she did emcee the hell out of an egg relay race at the annual community picnic once, so there’s that. If this sounds like your kind of mayor, you’ve found a place to call home and you should move to Virgin River.

Would you like to freely order cosmos at a bar as if the year were 1999 and Carrie Bradshaw was still our one, true leader?
You will be laughed out of Jack’s Bar so fast because, I’m sorry, maybe some bars aren’t meant to be tamed, you know? So, save your money, buy an HBO Max subscription, and no, do not move to Virgin River.

We weren’t kidding about the fishing thing. Photo: Netflix

Is your type a sad, hot bar owner with demons who will renovate your cabin free of charge within days of meeting you?
I bet people have been telling you that you’re too picky, but they don’t know about Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson). He is a dreamboat. He will teach you to fish while wearing a dorky hat. He set up a batting cage in his backyard to let off steam. And yes, he renovated a cabin for a woman he just met the day before for what seems like zero compensation? Maybe Hope paid for it? Regardless, based on the end results of this reno, it makes no sense that Jack is running a bar and not flipping houses for a living. He’s an ex-Marine and is still very much haunted by his war experience, but he’s trying his best to move forward. Have I mentioned he’s sad and hot and kind and trying? If you’d like to see for yourself, then yeah, you should move to Virgin River.

Yes, I am tall with perfect bone structure and I will keep your secret. Photo: Netflix

Is your type a hot, tall chef who will help you get rid of your dead abusive ex-husband’s body after you accidentally kill the bastard?
Let me tell you about Preacher. He’s Jack’s Marine buddy, very reserved, highly protective of the people he cares about, and he dances with everyone at the Moonlight Mingle Dance, which is a small-town thing where the town tries to get everyone single to hook up, maybe? The rules are unclear. Anyway, Preacher is a good, loyal man … but then he falls for Paige, the lady who runs the bakery truck because, duh, unlimited baked goods. It turns out she, too, has a sad story: She and her son have fake names and are on the run from her psycho abusive ex-husband who is also a cop. Obviously that dude shows up and then Paige accidentally pushes him down the stairs and he dies and then she needs to run, and Preacher is like, yes, I am tall with perfect bone structure and I will get rid of his body and keep your secret. Now he wants to pursue his cooking dreams in San Francisco but that probably won’t work out. This fucking town! Still, if you’d like to meet someone like Preach, you should move to Virgin River.

Do you love when identical twins show up to get to the bottom of their shitbag brother’s disappearance?
I’m not judging, I suppose some people are into that — people who like to stir up trouble, soap-opera fans, actual twins, probably. If you are, that is an actual thing that happens in Virgin River, so yes, you should consider moving there.

Nope, nothing suspicious going on, feel free to move here with no regard for your personal safety, it’s fine! Photo: Netflix/(c) 2020 NETFLIX, Inc.

Would you like to avoid getting kidnapped by shady illegal pot farmers and forced to provide medical assistance including but not limited to delivering a breech baby in an unsterilized tent with very few medical supplies?
Yes, Virgin River is idyllic and has a hotly anticipated egg relay, but that small town is also surrounded by illegal pot camps full of shady dudes who love to show off their gun holsters and start fights near pool tables in bars. They will kidnap you on the side of the road so you can do medicine on them and deliver their pot-camp babies. They will make you sleep on an outside sofa overnight to accomplish these things. Even if you have no type of medical degree, they will still bother you if you get in their way as they progress to selling fentanyl from the Mexican drug cartel (yeah, they really jump up a few notches). For instance, if you start messing with their livelihood and you happen to own a bar, they will plant one of their people as a new server and that server will contaminate your beet salad and give everyone in town food poisoning. So, like, if you want to avoid any and all of these situations, no, you should not move to Virgin River.

On the other hand, moving to Virgin River means sharing a town with Charmaine, so maybe think it over first. Photo: Netflix

Would you like to stay away from people who might have gotten their dating advice from Fatal Attraction?
LISTEN. I do not condone Jack obviously leading Charmaine on for two years — he was clear he didn’t want anything serious, but for two years, dude? Grow up! — but Charmaine has taken it way too far. She hasn’t done anything illegal that we know of yet, but she is starting to look VERY capable of it. Mel hasn’t done one single thing wrong and yet Charmaine treats her like dirt. She just wants to help keep your babies alive, Char! And how many times has Jack said he isn’t interested in dating? Obviously, he shouldn’t have bought Charmaine that puppy because, surprise, puppies are the worst fucking “gift” to thrust on a person — that’s a full-time job! — but neither he nor Mel deserve to be repeatedly punished for being two consensual, single adults who are into each other. Charmaine may not be boiling bunnies yet, but she’s using the best weapon she has at her disposal: the town gossip mill. Slut-shaming is not a good look. Anyway, Charmaine sucks and if you’d like to stay away from people like her, no, you should not move to Virgin River. And stay away from Clear River, too! Just, like, all the rivers, I guess.

Ready to embark on a soapy slow-burn romance with a side of sudden gun violence? Welcome to Virgin River! Photo: Netflix

Would you like to get caught up in a “Who Shot J.R.?” situation but instead of an evil oil tycoon the person shot is your new, kindly and hot bar-owner boyfriend?
Who shot Jack Sheridan? It could be those pesky drug-camp guys that Jack helped get arrested. It could be someone from his military past. It could definitely be related to the fact that his head chef is getting rid of dead bodies in the woods and that body has an identical twin running around town asking questions. But honestly, my money is on the spurned, pregnant ex-girlfriend who is just sick and tired of the father of her twin babies moving forward in a happy, healthy relationship. Only time and a third season will solve this mystery, but if you’d like to avoid postcoitally having to apply pressure to your boyfriend’s gaping gunshot wound after it seemed like everything was finally working out for once, wow wow wow you should not move to any small town in Northern California. On the other hand, you might be into that sort of thing, in which case, go forth and prosper, friend: Yes, you should move to Virgin River.

Would you like to have steamy sex in a shabby-chic cabin while a fire crackles in the fireplace and you don’t know if you’re more sweaty from the sex or the fire but also who cares?
Okay, sure, you could probably find this in locations other than Virgin River but would you be having sex with the man who actually built your cabin? With his strong, capable, sad hands? Doubt it. If you’d like to walk into a small town and automatically ooze chemistry with the guy who owns the only bar in town (there are so many benefits to this relationship!!) and embark on a dreamy albeit soapy slow-burn romance then yes, yes, oh god yes, you should move to Virgin River.

Should You Move to Virgin River?