Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Night Lights, "Game of the Week": Showdown at Beer-thirty

Spoilers for "Friday Night Lights" season three, episode nine coming up just as soon as I pick a theme for the winter formal...

NOTE: This and all subsequent "FNL" season three reviews were written after viewing the DirecTV cut, which can be several minutes longer than the NBC version. So both my review and the early comments may refer to scenes that were not shown on NBC.

Street is gone. Smash is long gone. Starting with "Game of the Week," we have five more episodes in the TV season and four more games, at most, in the football season. Shouldn't the stakes feel a little higher?

The episode's teaser suggested that they would be. This has been an up-and-down season for the team following a complete catastrophe of a season the year before. Even with JD McCoy firmly entrenched as QB1 and with the success of the new spread offense, this seems a very fragile team. So the idea that their first playoff game would be shown on national television should have only ramped up the pressure -- on Eric, on Buddy, on JD, on all the seniors hoping to land a college scholarship -- but after the pre-credits teaser, the episode largely ignored the presence of the camera crews. Matt's bemusement at Landry being chosen for an interview, and the running gag about the status of the physics club were funny enough, I suppose, but how could the McCoy family completely recede into the background for this one? How could there not be more tension between Coach and Wade? Why, in all the Saracen family discussion about Matt's college prospects, or in Lyla's attempts to get Tim to want college more, did the idea of this game as potentially life-changing come up. Really, it felt like just another game, which would have been fine if they hadn't introduced the cameras in the first place, or if we weren't so deep into an abbreviated season where every episode needs to count for more than they did in the old NBC-premiere days.

Now, there were still some good things in "Game of the Week," notably the ongoing tension in the Saracen household. Grandma has always been portrayed as difficult but firmly in Matt's corner. For her to announce that she expects Matt to eschew college so he can stay home to care for her was shocking, but not out-of-character. It's scary enough being Lorraine without the safety net that Matt provides, and the continued presence of her hated former daughter-in-law -- not to mention the idea of Shelby becoming the new safety net -- had to terrify her into going to such an awful, selfish place. Some excellent work by Zach Gilford, Kim Dickens and Louanne Stephens, and I like that there isn't going to be a simple solution to this problem. Something has to be done about Lorraine, and Matt probably isn't good enough to get a free ride from a college (at least not a top school), but there are options open to him if he's lucky and applies himself the way we know he can.

Some people defended the Tyra storyline when I complained about it in recent weeks, saying that the push-pull of wanting to get the hell out of this town/life and being drawn into the same self-destructive behavior of her mom and sister rang very true to life. I can see that, but it wasn't until this episode where the Cash arc really clicked for me -- specifically, in the moment where Tyra started looking around the bar full of creeps and realized just where her exotic adventure with Cash had brought her. Adrianne Palicki was very good throughout the episode -- I liked the palpable relief on her face when Landry made her laugh -- and I like when the show gives Tami an opportunity to play hero for the kids in the same way that Eric does for his players (this time, with Eric getting to watch/help).

Riggins college scholarship, meanwhile, came to him as easily as Street's new sports agent career, only with about a tenth the emotion of Street on the steps at his baby mama's house. I like Lyla best when she's used for comedy -- here with Tim noting that if he thinks her breath reeks too much of booze, then she's really had too much -- but this subplot felt very lightweight, as did the episode overall. Not bad, but more filler than I want this late in the year.

Some other thoughts on "Game of the Week":

* I liked the realization on Landry's face when Julie passed along Tyra's "sick aunt" excuse, which he is painfully familiar with the truth of.

* Also leading to the episode's disappointing feel: Eric's underwhelming halftime speech. I know they can't all be "Win one for the gipper," but that moment called for better oratory than Kyle Chandler was given.

* Have they ever established exactly where in the state Dillon's supposed to be? I know it's a flight (or long car trip) from Austin, home to the fictional TMU, but how long were Coach and Mrs. Coach on the road before they got to Tyra's motel in Dallas? And might they have a chance to get back to the hotel suite in time to take a shower?

* Back when Lyla, Riggins and Tyra were all supposed to be seniors like Street, Lyla talked all the time about intending to go to college wherever Jason went. Her relationship with Tim is more mature in a lot of ways (even though Tim is much less mature than Street), and so it makes sense that she wants to go to Vanderbilt, regardless of where Tim winds up. (San Antonio to Nashville: a 14-hour drive, which even Michael Scott wouldn't think realistic for an ongoing romance.)

* Buddy doesn't have any friends, and also the self-awareness to understand this. Nice.

What did everybody else think?

55 comments:

stevie said...

It was an okay episode but it felt a little filler-ish. I liked the stuff with Tyra and the Saracens, but it felt devoid of pressure as you said. The teaser makes me look forward to next week.

Chris Littmann said...

The whole thing was a little underwhelming for me. You probably articulated it better than I did, which was that the stakes didn't really feel as high as they should've been. For me, the other big thing was that this episode lacked what I'd consider that classic FNL moment. There wasn't some great speech, some great one-on-one moment ... and I'd say that was the first time this season that was case. More than anything, I felt like we set the table for some good Saracen stuff down the stretch with mom and grandma.

But seriously, Lyla's living room dancing was the highlight of my week. So maybe that was my moment I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

Is Dillon supposed to be Odessa?

If so, Odessa to Dallas is about 5 hours.

R.A. Porter said...

Yeah, I'd agree with @anon that Dillon is our fictionalized Odessa.

I liked this episode quite a bit, but realized while writing my review that I liked it less than I'd thought. It doesn't have any chiller moments, and it definitely wasted the opportunities for stakes and complications to be raised by the presence of the broadcast crews, but I thought it did a good job of keeping each story thread connected to football.

I think the thing that bugged me the most was Matt's football story. We've already seen Matt bust his ass to compete at this level. We've seen Matt take a beating and keep getting up. It felt like they were rehashing things we already know about him.

Still, we were treading tantalizingly close to Minka Kelly pole dancing and no hour of television that does that can be bad.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Coach is going to install some gadget plays with Matt as a threat for opposing defenses, maybe the "wildcat" offense or reverse "fleaflickers" are in his future.

R.A. Porter said...

@anon, with two QBs, they could try out the A-11 offense. Of course, *someone* other than Matt would have to be able to run a route for that to work.

erin said...

Ahh...sweet vindication on the Tyra storyline! My life is complete! :-D Seriously, though--even without the added drama of Cash owing money to the bad guys, I thought that storyline was interesting. A lot of girls would think it's glamorous to travel with their boyfriend on a job where he's the big star. It's very Cindarella-esque. he's all important, and he's whisking you away, his one and only girl. But then once you're there, you realize...there's nothing for you. You're just there to exclaim how fantastic he is, and you bring little to the table. I thought that aspect alone was intriguing. Being with him, even if he's a good guy (which he's not) does nothing to make Tyra a more complete, well-rounded, interesting person. She's just his tagalong. Adding the drama hastened the end of that storyline, but I liked the bare bones of it.

I have lower expectations of this show than others, so I enjoyed it, even if I didn't get goosebumps. I really liked the Tim/Lyla story, even if Tim barely had to work for it, because I think they mesh so well together, and he's a good guy for being such a scoundrel. I like that he didn't really believe she was going to leave him in the cold, and then she did. And I liked that he appreciates all that she does for him, and he's trying to be better than Billy (no surprise Billy fits the 10-for-10 rules of bad boyfriends in Cosmo).

Solid ep, loved Coach pulling Julie out of class and then not having any clue what class she was in or what she'd be studying in any case!

Antid Oto said...

It's a small thing, but it always bothers me when they get the football wrong. No coach in the world would go for it on fourth down there. No way. Not when your defense has shut out the other team since the first quarter, you have to make seven yards, and if you don't get it the other team is only around forty yards (at most) from the tying field goal. You kick it, try to pin the other team inside the 20, and depend on the defense that's carried you all day. Plus, Matt is such an expert on running routes (which he'd better be, since he's tiny and slow, not a good combination for a WR), yet runs a route short of the first-down marker? Was that a play designed for him to break a tackle for the first down (which he did, but if I were Coach Taylor I certainly wouldn't have counted on), or did he screw it up?

Rick said...

My biggest comment about the episode is exactly what Antid Oto just said- that was the absolutely worst call Coach has made. No coach would do that, ever. If you made that call on Madden, your Xbox would red ring in protest. There are so many problems with that call, I thought I was watching the Raiders.

Landry has a 4.6? I call Bulls**t. Yes, he's smart (took Calc his sophmore year, apparently) but there's no way. No Way.

Like Erin, I was happier with Tyra's story when she was struggling with how to succeed from a small town. Having Cash be an ass demeans that story. I did, however, root for Eric to physically attack Cash.

Best line of the week: Connie Britton's brilliant delivery of "Mmm-Hmm" in the car with Tyra.

Hooray for Julie: Eric gave her a good deal of responsibility, and there wasn't a hint of bitch in her response. I totally expected a "What's in it for me?", but I guess we're not doing a Julie story this week.

The Old Mother Seracen story is one I've waited three years for; I'm glad it's coming to a head.

wjm said...

I'm thinking that wide receiver Matt is going to be just good enough for a school (maybe one that's losing it's entire O-line in May) will offer him a paid ride.

That's my thinking.

I also loved Coach-n-Julie in the hallway. That was great.

wjm said...

Whoops. That should be "its."

I hate it when people do that.

Kathie said...

How great were Tammi & Coach in the hotel room......they have got to be the best couple on TV.

Mindy & Lyla bashing the Riggins boys was a great scene. I liked the expression on Lyla's face when Mindy asked her to hang out..."okay" she figures why not. For someone who is supposed to be popular and with the in crowd, Lyla doesn't seem to have any girlfriends.

The Saracen family trauma is good, Matt really needs to have something good happen to him. Hope something comes out of the financial help for military kids

Drew said...

For someone who is supposed to be popular and with the in crowd, Lyla doesn't seem to have any girlfriends.

I had the same thought but then realized we really haven't seen her hanging out with anyone in the last two years, and it's more than just, "Well, we don't want to hire new actors." I feel like Lyla has really left her old life beyond, and she's okay with having only Tim in her life. I'm sure she's social, but I think Jason's accident really caused a spiral for her that she recovered from as a different person.

I thought the episode was solid all around, though not spectacular. The Saracen family stuff, though, was tremendous, and the actors all play off each other well. I'm glad, too, that they've found a nice middle ground for Matt and his mom. No easy answers, no over-the-top hate. Just two good, confused, perpetually sad people. It's brilliant stuff.

And the scene with Coach and Julie in the hall is one of the all time great scenes. "Go study your Shakespeare....Tell Mr. Newton I said hello." Kyle Chandler blows me away week after week with such small lines. Well, small lines and scenes with Gracie where you forget that it's not actually his kid. He must be a hell of a dad in real life because he sure embodies a great one in TV in a way that not many people can. Even first season Sandy Cohen wasn't this good.

R.A. Porter said...

@Kathie and @Drew, I also think Lyla's never really recovered from the abuse and backstabbing she took back in season one for sleeping with Riggins. Even if everyone who treated her like a pariah came back around, I'm not sure she'd welcome them back into her life.

Which leaves her...Jason, Tim, and Tyra as the only people we ever saw continue to treat her with respect.

Anonymous said...

I think you guys are wrong about the football aspect. This is high school football, even on a high level such as this, a team with an explosive offense would make a call to go for it on 4th and 7 or whatever if they were on the opponents side of the field. Kicking and special teams is not a place most coaches would want the game decided on.

Joan said...

One tiny moment that stood out for me: when Saracen as WR made the play-of-the-game, and the announcer was pouring on the praise for Matt, there was a quick cut to the McCoys, both of whom looked quite dismayed and/or pissed off, like it wasn't enough for them that their (freshman!) son be QB1, but he had to be the star of every game, too. I wonder where that's heading.

jimmo said...

"For someone who is supposed to be popular and with the in crowd, Lyla doesn't seem to have any girlfriends."

Because all of her popular, cheerleader, in-crowd friends graduated two years ago.
And really, who wants to hang out with someone who's repeating senior year for the third time?

Anonymous said...

Was anyone else worried that someone in that seedy bar would try to rape Tyra (she appeared to be the only woman present) and then she'd have to kill him?

Oh wait.... that's been done. :-)

henry said...

Yes, yes, yes. The episode was very disappointing. It's the Texas playoffs, but the team doesn't have that playoff, state-title feel to it. The game felt like another game. And even the game kinda bent reality because all of a sudden, Matt comes into the game after a terrible week of practice and ends up being the difference between a win and going home. I also did wonder how far Dillon is from anywhere in the state. I'm thinking it's in West Texas, probably very near Dallas. But then who knows? I didn't like anything about this episode and felt that the writers are just wasting episodes until the inevitable end of the show after this season. I didn't even like Tyra. How is she still the student body president after her little soiree with Cash (who predictably turned out to be a creep)? She weeped so much in the episode that I just wanted to yell at her to snap out of it! Can we get a storyline with some hope? Does every character on this show (that has potential to be great every week) have to make a terrible mistake with everything they do?

henry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

No talking about anything in the previews.

Here's the part of Henry's comment that didn't have to do with the preview for the next episode:

Oh, and how does Riggins get into college? The man doesn't go to class. He's drunk ALL THE TIME (yet, somehow, is still a star on the team), he blows off recruiters (who take those kinds of appointments seriously), and just like that, he gets into college?! Gimme a break!

Billiam said...

I think the last scene was one of the few moments where I've actually enjoyed Tim/Lyla as a couple. That scene just made me smile.
And like everyone else, I love the Saracens.

Frank said...

Every week y'all bitch and moan about what a crappy episode this was and how it's not anywhere as good as the first season which was just perfect in every way. Where is your loyalty to what you all insist is your favorite show? What a bunch of puerile control freaks. I've watched every episode and have thought that each one is superb TV. I think the writers and actors and directors are making unbelievably spot on decisions week after week and rarely do I have a real disappointment that amounts to much. No other show has ever given me the emotional return that this show has. Stop whining about every blip on your own personal radars and be grateful you have an amazing show like this to watch on so very few Friday nights out of the year.
That goes for you too, Alan.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Frank, I feel deeply, deeply shamed by your comments. I would resolve to do better, only I kind of already wrote the rest of my reviews for this season. Will they live up to your lofty standards? Stay tuned!

Frank said...

Alan, such thin skin for a journalist who writes for public consumption. Such a heavy hand with sarcasm. My original comment says it all.

Alan Sepinwall said...

My original comment says it all.

Clearly not, or else you wouldn't have commented again.

You want the less sarcastic answer? Fine.

The day I start giving anything other than my honest and unvarnished opinion is the day I need to find another line of work. This is how I responded to this episode. Do you want me to dress it up and make it sound pretty just because my opinion doesn't match up one-to-one with your own? That's not the way this works.

Frank said...

I commented on your response not as an addendum to my original post.
Now, to respond to your most recent response: do you expect that your readers have no right to reject your 'honest and unvarnished opinion" and isn't that what the comments here are for? Should I dress up my rejection of your caveats and make it sound pretty? Isn't that the way it works? The hauteur in the way you describe your professional responsibilities is laughable. Again, thin skin.

Alan Sepinwall said...

When you say something like this...

Stop whining about every blip on your own personal radars and be grateful you have an amazing show like this to watch on so very few Friday nights out of the year.

...You're telling me you don't want to hear my opinion unless it lines up with yours. And that's expressed with every bit the hauteur I fired back at you.

Frank said...

Really must go to bed now, Alan. You are a one man stimulus package; hope I'll be able to sleep. Will continue to read every week.

SteveInTexas said...

As a Texan, my sense of the Dillon geography is that it moves around in space much in the same way as the Island does in "Lost"; and going by the grades the kids should be in vs. the grades the kids are in, Dillon moves around in time as well.

Instead of the South Pacific, though, it seems Dillon travels up and down I-35 between Austin and Dallas. Sometimes, Dillon seems like a big, close suburb of Austin, like Round Rock (18 mi from Austin, pop 86,300).

Then other times, it seems like it's more remote from the cosmopolitan spots, but still a pretty big town, like a Waco (94 mi from Austin, 87 mi from Dallas; pop 122,000).

Still other times, it seems like it's a small, remote provincial town, like a Hillsboro (55 mi from Dallas; pop 8,232).

Tonight, it seemed to be a lot closer to Dallas than Austin, which would make it more of a Waxahachie (25 mi from Dallas; pop 21,426).

Going by its apparent geography and patent topography, it's definitely NOT Odessa (dusty, flat, 320 mi from Dallas and 290 mi from Austin). It's also clearly nowhere near Houston or San Antonio.

So for those who follow football and note some of the silly scenarios and shortcuts that can take place, those of us who are native to Texas have similar issues when it comes to trying to figure out just where in the hell this place is.

The only Brigadoon I can find in Texas is a street in Salado (48 mi from Austin, pop 3,475).

Hopefully my discussion of Texas geography will lighten the mood after Frank's contributions above.

By the way, I can arrange to send many brochures and newsletters if any WAW readers would like further explication of mileages and populations of Texas towns and cities.

I can even provide information on places like Texarkana, which is in both Texas AND Arkansas! It's mind-bending!

Anonymous said...

I've come to accept that the general laws of time and space don't apply to this show. I'm willing to forgive it because of all the small and big things FNL gets right, but it does seem to have gotten a bit out of control this season, with scenes skipping between different days or times of day depending on the storyline.

paul said...

Loyalty to a TV show? While I find that concept a bit odd, I thought we expressed loyalty by continuing to watch the show and maintain its ratings. It's a good show, this season often a very good show. But we saw in season 1 that it could be a great show, and we have every right to voice our displeasure when it does not achieve those heights. It's been immensely frustrating to see flashes of that greatness, illustrating that Katims and company can still do it when they put their minds to it. I'm glad Frank gets so much from the show, but it not reasonable to expect everyone to just shut up and be thankful that NBC hasn't cancelled the show yet.

I thought this was a decent episode. I've grown to resent Tyra and some of the other subplots because they take time away from characters I care a great deal about, e.g., the Taylors and the Sarecens, but I liked how this episode handled the end of her relationship with Cash. I may change my mind if Cash shows up again next week.

I didn't have as much trouble with the game as some did. I did wonder how Dillon could put so many points on the board a few weeks ago with the spread offense, but now the receivers have suddenly forgotten how to run routes. I thought Coaches' halftime remarks reflected the generally held belief that Dillon should have been crushing the visitors. While I didn't think much about it at the time, after reading Alan's review, I would have liked to see more done with the TV crew. But still a solid episode.

R.A. Porter said...

@SteveInTexas your Brigadoon line made me quite literally laugh out loud. And since TheWife's still asleep in the other room, I felt a bit bad about that. Only a bit. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm rewatching this season on NBC now and keep noticing the duality of Dillon. The book, movie, and occassional NBC storylines (think Tami vs. the Jumbotron) want us to believe that Dillon is some backwater town in the middle of nowhere with no hope of getting out. This message was a key point to the book and the backdrop of the movie. In this case, one would expect futures for these students to be more like how David Simon developed his students from Season 4 (the system is broken so good, decent kids get screwed over). But this show seems to go too far in providing happy endings for everyone. Riggins, Smash, and Matt will all probably go to college somewhere, even though their backgrounds suggest they typically wouldn't. Lyla expects to go to Vanderbilt, but I wouldn't think that Dillon High would have the resources to produce that level of applicant. And Tyra will probably be able to get out of Dillon, even though she screwed around for one or two years. How can the show keep depicting Dillon as a town with no hope and yet so easily give hope to everyone we see on the show?

Alan, how do you reconcile the show seeming to want to have its cake and eat it too?

Jennifer said...

Well, I generally liked it. I liked that the heinous Cash storyline ended. I liked that Tyra didn't call Landry to come rescue her when she found out he had the interview (man, Matt must have felt a little sick that Landry got one and he didn't). Matt got to play and his mom and grandma united over it. I enjoyed Lyla booting Tim out of her car. I enjoyed Lyla and Mindy bonding over men until Mindy took Billy back in 2.5 seconds. I enjoyed Tim actually doing something to earn Lyla back. Tim's insta-college admit made me roll my eyes, but given the limitations of show time I'll go with it. We all know he'll have flunked out by the end of the first semester anyway.

Little moment I liked: Coach's "Bitch, PLEASE" look on his face when Tami wanted to deny having a birthday. Also, him TMI'ing to Julie.

brian said...

I had the same reaction as Anonymous directly above. Why does everyone on this show have to go to college? I guess maybe it's realistic in the sense that the show focuses on the best football players or the brightest students. And, for these kids, college is a likely destination. It might be a little strange (but more realistic) if an episode suddenly focused on the second string linebacker who's sticking around Dillon after high school.

brian said...

Also, all of these characters seem to have somewhat realistic college hopes:
Smash -- this guy was a top recruit, college is reasonable.
Riggins -- he's not as hyped as some of the other players, but he's always been presented as a baller. It may not be realistic that he IS a baller since he doesn't seem to go to practice or school. But, given his game performance, getting a partial scholarship to wherever he's going doesn't seem strange. He's "in" the school in the sense that he's admitted if he meets qualifications. He's not auto-admitted.
Matt -- he's supposed to be very smart and a good student. He seems like someone who would go to school. They're presenting his challenges in financing school.
Lyla -- I thought she was kind of a "golden" child. I don't think Vanderbilt rejects people just because they're from rural Texas. Also, she's rich. She's also not certain she's in. Vanderbilt's not her "safe" school, it's her target. This seems realistic.
Tyra --- ummm.

Jim said...

I liked this episode, but I'm a sucker for Grandma Saracen. It was interesting to see Matt's mom steer him to college, especially pointing out that she was looking at places with good fine arts programs for him. She already knows him better than his father.

As for the who-goes-to-college thing: Riggins has always been a star on state championship team. I'm not at all surprised that a third or fourth tier school would want him, and the point of him always being drunk and never going to class: He's that good. That's the point. It is an internal contradiction of the show that Taylor lets him get away with that stuff, but in a larger sense, that's the way we treat student athletes in this country, (especially in Texas, as FNL sees it).

Matt is a good student and a decent athlete, I can see him being recruited by a smaller school, too. Not the Big Ten or even a second tier school, but some surprisingly small colleges have football teams, and he'd probably bring up their GPA.

Elizabeth said...

I thought it was mentioned somewhere that Lyla is almost at the top of her class? She can also probably write a pretty compelling essay with all that she's been through. Vanderbilt doesn't seem like that far a stretch given that. The school she mentioned in Season 2, Princeton, seemed like more a stretch.

I honestly don't think Tim is going to make it in school. I still am not convinced that school is really where he wants to be. If theres' a season 4, I think he might be back in Dillon, not least because Taylor Kitsch will have all that exposure from Wolverine, and the producers will want to keep him around in hopes of getting a ratings boost.

Anonymous said...

re: Brian

But aren't we supposed to think that Dillon is so desolute a place that being a star ANYTHING can't get you out? This maybe is more emphasized in the book and movie, but I thought the point of Friday Night Lights was that being a Dillon Panther was the highlight of your life and that it didn't lead anywhere. That's where I see Buddy's character and Billy's character. The best you could hope for was to win State, because college was never realistic.

Omagus said...

I have quite often tried to figure out where exactly Dillon is supposed to be. I think that SteveInTexas's argument that Dillon moves around in time and space like the island in Lost is definitely the best explanation I've ever heard.

I will say this: that motel that Tyra and Cash used was definitely NOT off LBJ and Central in Dallas.

Blake said...

I was surprised that Coach Taylor didn't do more to Cash as Cash was trying to get to Tyra. But was also surprised that Cash didn't try to shove coach out of the way. Coach was just doing an impersonation of a flaf football offensive lineman. But when Cash slammed his palms onto Coach's hood as he drove away...I half expected him to get out and have some more words. But it made it all the better that he didn't.
Interesting that Lorraine and Shelby were watching the game at home. I think they did that instead of going because Matt had asked them not to come the games with him benched. But I still expected them to go, regardless.

Best line of the show: Coach Taylor in the hotel room: "Do we still have time for that shower?"

And just fyi: I just started up a podcast about FNL last week. Only one episode is up for it (covers New York, New York). But I'd love some feedback and input on it. I intend to make the recap shorter, but would absolutely love some listener feedback about the podcast and/or about the episodes of FNL. So please visit http://www.FNLpodcast.com. I hope that is okay to say. But I'd love your input on how to improve it.

AndyW said...

Matt's a good student and led his team to a state title - I think that earns him a small-school scholarship (at least a partial). And he'd be invited to walk on at a lot of bigger schools. This idea that no one would even be looking at him seems unlikely.

But if it requires a submarine to get to Dillon, you can understand why so few recruiters make it.

David Glasser said...

Lyla expects to go to Vanderbilt, but I wouldn't think that Dillon High would have the resources to produce that level of applicant.

Well, remember from the book that Brian Chavez ended up at Harvard from Odessa (which is generally presented as much more pathetic academically than Dillon, I think).

Zachary said...

Landry has a 4.6? I call Bulls**t. Yes, he's smart (took Calc his sophmore year, apparently) but there's no way. No Way.

It is possible since some high schools are on a 5.0 GPA scale, not 4.0 like it was back in my day. (Ah the halycon days of 1993-1997!) :)

You're calling B.S. on Landry's GPA. I'm calling B.S. on Grandma and Shelby not going to the game at all. The scene of the two of them magically forgetting their feud because Matt was playing totally rang false to me.

I was hoping Coach would kick Cash's ass outside the motel. Too bad, as the Taylors were leaving, we see a 4 x 4 pickup truck full of seedy looking guys pulling in towards Cash's room.

I think that was the same graphic that was used in FNL: The Movie about the Texas High School Football Playoffs. I wonder what class Dillon is in? 4A? 5A?

Chad said...

I'm gonna call Abilene about the vicenity of Dillon. Close enough for a 2 hour drive to Dallas, but about a days drive from Austin.

Once again, the joy of panther football brings together a bad family dynamic (remember Buddy's kids?). That cracks me up. Only panther football can heal all old family wounds! ha!

Alf said...

Coach said he had gotten a hotel room for "your mom and I." We know that he is aware of when to use "me" rather than "I," because he corrected Matt on it once. So that error really stood out to me.

Also, the San Antonio recruiter invited Tim out for a "pop." Even if the character can't say "coke" because of legal reasons, he should not say "pop." And, sure, you could fanwank that the recruiter could be from anywhere in the USA, but I still think he'd adopt the local lingo so as to fit in with the kids.

Chad said...

was the San Antonio coach the infamous Major Applewhite?
I know Mack Brown and Rick Barnes (both head coaches at Texas) have had guest spots on the series before.
That looked a lot like Major.

Zach said...

@alf above

Well.. someone has indeed made the valiant attempt to plot out the Great American Pop / Soda / Coke Regional Usage Debate...

(Disclaimer: makes no specific reference to Texan floating island towns)

Zach said...

better yet look here, for a county by county breakdown brought to you from the folks at East Central Oklahoma U..

SaraK said...

SteveInTexas,
I loved your explanation! :)

I understand that we have to suspend some disbelief for this show, and I agree to it because I love FNL so much. But Tim going to college is a little but much for me.

Beatuofa said...

Did the editing on the NBC episode feel a bit weird to anyone else? This was the first episode where I really felt like scenes must have been missing somewhere, cause stuff was awfully choppy.

Agree that there was nothing in particular to hang your hat on this week. The Brigadoon comment about Dillon made me laugh.

Finally -- I know the writers have said that they don't expect the kids to stick around after high school. But really, shouldn't SOME of these kids be staying in Dillon after high school? Taylor Kitch may become bigger than the show (assuming it continues past this year), but if there is any character that seems destined to spend his whole life in Dillon, it's Riggs.

JamesG said...

Good points about the "everyone has to go to college" element. I am somewhat disappointed that it was so simple for Riggins to get in, as he's the shining example of a guy who would remain in Dillon forever and look at high school as the pinnacle of his life. I do have a feeling that something will keep him from going. Peter Berg said they would definitely find a way to keep Taylor Kitsch on the show if they do a fourth season.

Speaking of Riggins, he confirms that he was away for three days in New York and no one says anything of his absence when he returns. I would have liked one of the coaches to at least acknowledge that he was gone, seeing as how he's the core of the team's run offense and the playoffs are a week away. Wouldn't Buddy or someone at least question where the star running back was?

Overall, I felt like this episode was taking on at least one storyline too many and couldn't do justice to all of them. I agree with Alan that the national TV angle had no significance at all and could have been used as a great plot device, both for coach and the players.

SAL said...

@blake--can we find your podcast on iTunes? I will totally subscribe, if so. I have been searching for an FNL podcast, totally surprised to not find much of anything.
(Alan: you should totally have a podcast, btw. Not that you need more to do!)

fwiw I loved this episode...here's some particular things:
--Tyra was great, I loved that she called Landry, I thought actually that conversation was one that could have happened between people who shared what they shared (which they often forget about on this show)--so much love there for each other but strained as well.
--I loved how Tami reacted to Tyra in the car, like she managed to say "how are you" but only barely, she was so annoyed at having to go get her.
--Mindy & Lyla (Lila?) was hilarious. I think it's true that she's changed so much--quit the cheerleaders, etc.,--there's no way she'd have the same friends as she did before Jason's accident.
--coach not knowing Julie was in math class was great.
--Grandma Saracen is going to kill me. Maybe she'll move somewhere with Matt, like the Grams on Dawson's Creek did with Jen.
--I think that we don't know whether they will go to college--it does seem reasonable to me that they would all kind of want to, even if it doesn't actually happen for all of them.

I just have to say--one thing I consistently love about this show is the non-existence of angst about Tami being at work and having a baby at home. (there was the first day of daycare anxiety, but after that, I mean). I feel like if this show does nothing else, having a couple who are good parents and good people and good at their jobs...that's enough for me.

Blake said...

@SAL, it is. Just search iTunes for "Clear Eyes Full Hearts" or FNL Podcast or Friday Night Lights Podcast.

Let me know what you think. And I think it'd be great to have Alan be a part of it.