Thanks to the writer's strike, a plethora of our favorites shows went on hiatus for longer than a fickle public was willing to allow. Shows such as "Eli Stone" and "Pushing Daisies" never recovered from their lost audiences, and "Friday Night Lights" never finished season two. NBC.com, in addition to having all "FNL" episodes on tap from the first two seasons as well as current episodes, is now offering "bonus scenes to help catch viewers up on events that occurred during season two's "lost" episodes (such as Smash's injury and Lyla and Tim's relationship).
Why bring this up? Even as big a fan as I am of the show, I started realizing this week how many plot points I'd forgotten. I wondered if the time between last season and this one was enough to dull my appreciation of the show, or whether the show itself lacks a certain emotional punch. Each episode so far this season has run at a languid pace more attune to a hot Texas afternoon rather than that of a compelling drama. I have come to appreciate, however, the realness of the dialogue.
I know plenty of people are turned off by hearing teenagers talk like, well, teenagers, (Case in point this week, when Saracen describes Landry's awkward greeting of Julie in the cafeteria as "He's stupid he's an idiot, basically."), I find it refreshing. Sparkling, witty dialogue exchanges in the world of "Gossip Girl" and "Gilmore Girls" are fine, but "Friday Night Lights" has always gone for a more subtle experience, which often pays off in deeper, more emotional ways.
So I continue to be disappointed in the storyline of these un-real McCoys who show up in Dillon with a house the size of Versailles (Tami: "That's a really big house." Coach: "It looks like a sanitarium."), a point I addressed last week. Once again, if Dillon is such a backwards, dying town, why are the McCoys there with their mansion? Where is this affluent suburb of Dillon that we've never seen before? The only bright spot in the McCoy drama is Janine Turner (of "Northern Exposure" fame) who plays Katie McCoy, a feisty Texas wife who says things with feigned wide-eyed innocence to a frustrated Tami. "Oh you must be on the Atkins diet. Made me cranky, too." Out of context, the comment may not seem like much. But when viewed in light of the whole barbecue situation, it sums up Katie and her family's current situation in Dillon: tanned, smiling wolves in sheep's clothing.
Other moments in Attempts to Create Drama from Naught 101, some great football action this week ... but a Panther loss causes Coach to find For Sale signs all over his yard. Seriously? As Saracen notes at the beginning of the episode, "Not even Street could beat this team." So what's the fuss? Maybe it's because the football is standing completely out of time for us. How far are we into the season? Is this game really putting the Panthers on the line for the playoffs?
In a compelling football-related moment later in the episode, Smash contemplated his future with the Alamo Freeze before getting a stern talking-to from his Mama. I'll be interested to see if Smash does end up getting into Texas A&M, because his new self-awareness speaks to a life beyond football. Speaking of people whose football careers are on hold, where the H is Jason Street?
Next Week: Tami loses a battle (with the boosters?). Tyra defines her relationship with Landry (and not to his liking). And Saracen loses his spot on the team to the Boy Wonder (who may not be the tool he's set up to be).
Musings and Miscellanea:
- I didn't mention anything about the lame Riggins Adventure Brothers subplot because it barely deserves comment. It's clearly setup for upcoming drama that will pull Riggins away from Lyla again, but they could have amped up the danger a little more. Honestly, if that's all it takes to steal copper wiring sign me up.
- In other Lyla news, things are awkward with Lyla and Tyra's family. I can' get enough of Tyra's white trash family (and her sister's Finding Nemo wedding vows ... "I'm sorry, I thought it was a joke," Lyla says, digging her grave even deeper, "Finding Nemo has lots of great messages about love and ... family ... and ... ." I absolutely think they should have their own spin-off show that leads into the Buddy Garrity Hour.
- Ah! There's that Taylor baby! I was starting to think she'd been kidnapped by the boosters to sell on the black market for the Jumbotron.
- Coach Taylor's priceless expressions during the party really made this episode for me. Kyle Chandler plays fed up like no one else.
- There were some excellent, heartbreaking Saracen scenes this week. I'm very pleased to see Julie back to being Julie-from-season-one ... aka a really nice, sweet girl and a good friend to our hero Saracen.
- The Onion's AV Club interviews Taylor Kitsch (Riggins) this week.
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