Sweet Magnolias is back for season 3 — and so are the cocktails. Based on the romance novels by Sherryl Woods, the show follows best friends Maddie Townsend (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), Dana Sue Sullivan (Brooke Elliott) and Helen Decatur (Heather Headley), who “pour it out” (the drama that is!) over drinks in every episode. To ring in the new season, we tried “Helen’s Lethal Margaritas” from the official Sweet Magnolias cookbook.
The effortless recipe (below) is a collaboration between Woods and chef Teddi Wohlford. It only requires a handful of ingredients and is the perfect accompaniment to a vent sesh with any group of friends.
The star ingredient is frozen limeade concentrate, which provides the perfect amount of tartness. The small amount of triple sec required is definitely worth the extra bottle at the liquor store. (Keep it in your bar cart for many margs to come.) The orange-flavored liqueur adds more body and freshness to the citrusy drink. After just a couple sips, one thing was for certain: I’ll never use basic margarita mix again!
After Ronnie gave Kathy (Wynn Everett) a big chunk of money to leave town, he and Dana Sue are forced to call off their vow renewal party until Maddie and Helen offer to put together a scaled-down version of the event on a budget. After a brief discussion, they decide not to invite Erik (Dion Johnstone) or ask him to make the cake given his tense relationships with Helen and Dana Sue. While Maddie and Helen begin to get things in order, they are met by enthusiasm around town to help at a reduced rate — free — if an invitation is given. So, going against Dana Sue’s request for a small get-together, the guest list for the renewal begins to expand. At home, after Katie inspired the letters that brought the Magnolias back together, Maddie decides to write a children’s book with Katie, asking her mother, Miss Paula (Caroline Lagerfelt), to illustrate it.
Meanwhile, Noreen (Jamie Lynn Spears) is shaken up after her confrontation with Bill (Chris Klein). She goes to Helen for advice about formalizing their child support agreement but is met by the realization that this would include Bill having more access to their child. Later, Jeremy (Chase Anderson) shows up at the spa for a meeting with the Sweet Magnolias but brings along a gift and begins some heavy flirting with Noreen while he waits for the others to arrive. Elsewhere, the kids — Ty, Annie, Kyle (Logan Allen), Sophie (Gabriella Garcia), Willow (Lana Jean Turner), Lily (Artemis), and CeCe (Harlan Drum) — are working together to fix up the local playground, going around town to get the permits and supplies they need. After getting the approval of the Acting Mayor, CeCe and Ty have a sweet moment where she apologizes for how she acted and cut him off during the events of last season. Later, at dinner with Bill and the Townsend kids, Kyle informs Bill of their plan to restore the playground and Bill gets a harsh reality check on how checked out he’s been and where the current status of his relationships with his kids is when he mixes up which kid he took to play there and how long ago.
Kyle and Ty struggle with their recovery
Kyle seems pretty downtrodden after the car accident, and his slow recovery isn’t helping. He eventually turns to an unlikely source — Noreen (Jamie Lynn Spears), with whom his dad had an affair — to feel better. Maddie is taken aback when she finds Noreen at her house one day, but the two talk and come to an understanding for Kyle’s sake.
Meanwhile, Ty is having his own challenges after injuring his arm. He distances himself from his girlfriend CeCe (Harlan Drum) and feels as though he’s lost his purpose now that he can’t play baseball anymore. Their relationship suffers for it and they eventually drift apart.
Helen experiences both love and loss
Helen tells Maddie and Dana Sue that she’s pregnant and doesn’t plan to inform the father, her ex-boyfriend Ryan (Michael Shenefelt) because he made it pretty clear that he wasn’t interested in starting a family with her.
Sadly, Helen has a miscarriage, but she finds comfort leaning on her friends and Erik (Dion Johnstone), with whom she’s been flirting quite a bit.
As they grow closer, Erik reveals that he lost his wife and child years ago, and Helen says she wants to start her own family by turning to fertility treatments. She explains that she doesn’t expect him to start a relationship with her while she’s going through the process, but he’s fully supportive of the idea.
Helen’s ex Ryan returns at the end of the season and wants to talk to her. She’s shocked when he says he has changed his mind and does want kids now. She doesn’t mention the miscarriage.
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