Monday, February 16, 2009

The Televangelist: 'Friday Night Lights' episode 5

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 4:27 PM

click to enlarge NUMBER TWO: Somehow doesn't quite have the same ring to it
  • NUMBER TWO: Somehow doesn't quite have the same ring to it

One thing I've always respected "Friday Night Lights" for is the character of Jason Street. In the pilot, which was based on a true-life situation witnessed by producer Peter Berg, star quarterback Jason Street takes a bad hit in a big game and ends up paralyzed. But the show never ignored him or cast him into the wings (or had him miraculously walk again, egads). As the show's grown, Street has naturally drifted to the sidelines, as it were, as he becomes less and less a part of Dillon. But "FNL" never shied away from telling the story of a young man who lost his only considered path in life, and the resulting struggles.

Street makes his first appearance of the season this week taking care of the baby he fathered with the waitress Erin. It seems he, his crotchety roommate, and his baby-mama all have an amicable relationship, although Jason yearns for more. It feels like ages since Street was involved with Lyla and the Riggins love triangle, and like Smash, he's likely to use his greater talents to get out of Dillon pretty soon.  Unlike Smash, however, (who was still able to rely on his athletics in the end), Street is an excellent example of what hard work and a passion for life can give you even when you think you've lost it all.

OK, enough of the mushy stuff. It was good to see some football action this week. According to Saracen later in the episode, the Dillon Panthers are 3-1. It's doubtful they'll play all the games necessary in reality to go to the state playoffs (and we know they will, especially behind JD-Peyton-Manning-McCoy), but I still applaud the effort in at least keeping up the pretense that there's a football team around which the show is supposed to revolve.

Speaking of defense, some of our other Dillon residents learned this week of the good that can come out of letting down one's defenses.

Tyra at first butts heads with mentor Tami Taylor, who was also facing troubles at home over Julie's new tattoo (Julie's a smart girl, so why would she choose such a pedestrian and trashy tat?) Tyra finally comes around and thanks Tami for all her help, and promises to do better, while also singing the praises of her cowboyfriend Cash. Uh-oh, that's definitely the end of Tyra and Cash (who I personally think looks like the illegitimate son of Saracen and Landry). And Tami and Julie of course share a heart to heart later about Tami's wild past and overcoming foolish teenage wiles, with which Julie seems to agree. Because of the family drama this week we were able to spend some time At Home with the Taylors, definitely one of the best things "Friday Night Lights" offers. Anyone who doesn't recognize and wholly feel the reality of the dialogue and situations surrounding the Taylors isn't paying attention to the show or her own life. I challenge anyone to offer up a better slice of the reality of home life on TV than what "FNL" gives us when it comes to Coach and Mrs. Coach.

Finally, as is "Friday Night Lights" tradition, Matt Saracen gets kicked like a wounded pup this episode (like every other). After all he faced with his grandmother, his father's abandonment, Julie's treachery, and the ascension of JD McCoy, Matt finally lets down his defenses and opens up to his mom. As much as he resents her and blames her for much of the hardship in his life, he is 17, and he needs her. I'm glad to see she appears to be a stable and positive force in Matt's life. I don't think any of us could take it to see Matt suffer any further.

Next week: Julie and Matt rekindle some romance, while Tyra sees the "other" side of her cowboy Cash, plus some good ole fashion freshman hazing!

Musings and Miscellanea:

- As far as Dillon football goes, they might win more games if they had any defense. Of course, the other teams aren't much better. Like the NBA, most of these games seem decided by who has ball control in the final seconds.

- Quote of the Week #1: Saracen's mom asks, "If you did quit the team, what would they do, shoot you?" to which Saracen aptly replies "Probably ... we do live in Texas."

- Quote of the Week #2, courtesy Street's roommate while trying to rescue his porn out of the trash. "Babies aren't scared of boobies! And vaginas? They love them, they just took a trip through one, it's like looking at a postcard!"

- Of course the Riggins boys are involved in a new scheme which now involves Jason Street thanks to Tim's parroting of Buddy Garrity's sales jargon. This can only lead to disaster!

- Greatest double-take goes to Coach Taylor for his reaction to Saracen saying, "She's my mother..."  Coach Taylor: ".....oh...!....?"

- "I know you're hurt, but power ballads? Really? How cliche can you be?" Although did anyone else get the feeling Matt appreciated the ballad as he watched JD get all the love and attention of a starter?

- In some wild action this week, Billy sucker-punches that crazy meth head from seasons past who attempts to shoot after the Riggins boys. I guarantee that's not the last we see of him. Those Riggins boys ... what will they get into next?

- Poor Billy Riggins, who can't stand being called names, but not enough to attack Street. "I can't punch you ... you're in a wheelchair!" Classy.

(Photo courtesy Herloyalsons.com)

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