This show is really a testament to getting the details right. Any show can go for the big moments, like Tami feeling beat down by the kids or the black players staging their protest -- though few shows would do them as artfully -- but what really elevates "Friday Night Lights" are the little things. Things like Matt's grandma holding up a sign cheering on Julie as quarterback, or the way Mac unwittingly stepped so deeply into the reporters' trap that even they couldn't believe they had gotten him to pull an Al Campanis, or Julie teasing Coach about his guarded praise of her passing skills, or Coach being amused by Landry trying to exert his authority as ref, or the very clear logic behind why Matt chose Julie third, or...
You get the point. The small details are always so painstakingly-crafted, and usually so subtly. As soon as Tyra entered the car dealership, Marian and I both said, "Uh oh," as we both assumed she was going to find Buddy leaning her mom over the hood of a late-model sedan. To have it be just some late takeout made the point just as easily, and maybe even made it worse for Tyra, because she didn't have an excuse to blow up and go off on Buddy then and there.
(And speaking of Tyra, I appreciate that neither she nor Lyla come off as purely good or evil in their rivalry. Lyla was genuinely trying to be nice when she approached her in the hall, and Tyra had to get all nasty about it, but Lyla's had her own nasty moments, too.)
I'm glad they did the racial storyline, as the movie completely wimped out on this aspect of Bissinger's book. My only complaint was how tied it was to the Smash/Waverly relationship, and I'm completely bored by her. (Not to mention, I don't believe she'd be with him at any point, much less for this long.)
A few other random thoughts:
- I know Street was supposed to be the next Peyton Manning and all that, but they're still rushing the hell out of the quad rugby storyline by giving him the invite to training camp after he's been in the chair for all of five seconds.
- Also, am I nuts or have we seen Street driving already?
- I usually hate NBC's promos, but the one for next week's episode was awesome. "Is there anyone else I can talk to?"
- Coach's joy at belatedly getting to help his kid play quarterback brings up a question: why do they only have the one? Am I misremembering some earlier discussion of this? Because given their backgrounds and personalities, I can't see them stopping at one, especially if that one wasn't a boy Eric could play catch with.
- Out of curiosity, did anyone here go to a high school that didn't have a Powder Puff game? Mine did -- complete with cross-dressing male cheerleaders -- but Marian reacted like it was some kind of horrific foreign concept.
- Speaking of Powder Puff -- and getting back to the awesomeness of the above photo -- I think I've hit on a solution for two of the show's problems. There aren't enough recognizable players on the team (and no defensive players that we know of), and the writers don't know what to do with Tyra, so why not have her play strong safety? If nothing else, it would give Kyle Chandler new levels of disdain to play.