No. 47: Daveigh Chase Sings “The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.” On HBO’s “Big Love”

So, why did they move that bojangle clock so far away from the bed? And what’s a bojangle clock, anyway? Mr. Bojangles danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs throughout the South, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band told us once, and in this remarkably unadorned, still-officially-unavailable-on-mp3 rendition of still-a-schoolteacher-at-the-time Donna Fargo’s No. 11 1972 country-crossover pop hit, adolescent actress Daveigh Chase reminds us it’s a skippity-do-dah day, which sounds an awful lot like zippedee-doo-dah, so: Song of the South, right?

Except the excellent suburban-Mormon-polygamy drama Big Love has nothing to do with thinly veiled post-Reconstruction-era racism; Chase’s character Rhonda Volmer is just your usual vicitmized teen cult-compound junior-wife-to-be and iPod-burglarizing evil devil child, and with her aged fiancé Harry Dean Stanton looking on from his sickbed, she wears her plain old-timey dress and stares deadpan straight into the camera and bats this never quite trustworthy song out of the ballpark, sending shivers down spines even while pledging to share marital lunch-making duties. (And yeah, technically, Season 2 Episode 10 aired in late summer ’07, but we’re living on Netflix time here, ok?)

Choice YouTube-comment exchange: “When I saw this I thought this was by The Dixie Chicks.” “Which Dixie Chick did you think it was?” “The lead singer with the big mouth.” Choice YouTube comment: “Vote no on prop 8.”

Daveigh Chase, “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA” [YouTube]Big Love [HBO]80 ’08 (and Heartbreak)