Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Friday Night Lights: Can you say "Members Only"?

Today's column looks at the beginning of the end for "King of Queens." Spoilers for "Friday Night Lights" just as soon as I go looking for my piano key necktie...

Who would have thought when this show debuted that one of its strongest elements would be a fumbling romantic comedy subplot? And yet Saracen's awkward pursuit of Julie Taylor is always a weekly highlight, never moreso than last night. This was the funniest "FNL" has ever been, what with Coach's "At least she's not interested in a serial killer -- or one of the Rigggins," Landry playing personal shopper, Taylor's horrified response to the Members Only jacket and Julie's hoochie dress, the worthlessness of the QB One thing at the movie theater, Landry explaining why the grandma singing was the only thing he did right on the date, "Lance," etc. Is something going very wrong or very right when Taylor has as many funny lines as Landry?

And yet the "Mr. Sandman" scene separated the whole story from, say, what "One Tree Hill" would have tried. There's so much genuine pain in Matt's situation with his grandmother, the way he's been left to play both son, father, and, occasionally, grandfather, and to have his best friend and potential girlfriend witness that recurring role play made it even worse for him.

As for the rest of the episode, I liked Street and Tyra bonding over being cuckolded -- and the fact that, paralysis or no, Tyra didn't have anything in mind beyond getting drunk and making fun of their exes. Buddy finally got to show a human side in the way he comforted Lyla, we discovered that the Panthers' offensive linemen are capable of speech and independent thought, and Smash continued to get some belated character development.

My one negative: the Panthers need to have an easy win soon, or at least a game that they don't have to win on the very final play. Even as a hardcore underdog sports movie junkie who pumped his fist after Saracen's touchdown pass in the pilot, I'm getting tired of all the stirring comebacks and miracle passes/runs/laterals/etc.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

One of the best yet. Coach Taylor was hilarious with the Matt situation throughout: "You want a beer?" "No thanks, I'm driving." "I was KIDDING."

I guess all the games coming down to the last play is annoying, though I think if they would have shown a bit more of the game, 0-0 until the end and all, I would have minded it less. But if that's my biggest complaint of the episode, I'm willing to let it slide.

Even Lyla affected me tonight. I liked seeing that for all of his myriad faults, Buddy Garrity is a good father; the show has done a very good job showing the disparity in home life among the kids.

Anonymous said...

I think Julie's bangs are really annoying.

Seriously, I really can't improve on your take.

Very touching episode all around, although the whole thing about Riggins dragging himself in for one more play, earning the respect of the o-line and finally getting the big block on the monster linebacker so smash could run 70 yards on the last play of the game? Clicheblah.

Anonymous said...

I liked Buddy's slow take after Lila's "I was unfaithful" line; that's a close-to-explicit statement that she and Jason were having sex in the first place, and Buddy probably never had to acknowledge that before, face to face with her, and after that he has to realize how bad it is that she also slept with Riggins after Jason was paralyzed. And then he has to decide not to freak out.

Anonymous said...

This show is quickly challenging LOST in terms of my television priorities.

I think one of the reasons Taylor's fixation with the Members Only Jacket was so funny was that we typically think of him as eating, sleeping, and drinking football 110% of the time. And so, for him to notice how bad a choice of apparel that was, it just underscored how bad it really was.

Don't you just want to take Saracen under your wing and help him out?

As far as the games go, you are a little bit right, I didn't feel much suspense in terms of whether or not they would win the game. Maybe they can somehow work in a game where they roll 56-3 and have to deal with being overconfident or something.

Great show.

Anonymous said...

Why is there no post about the Lost timeslot change? I'm sure everyone has a lot to say about that and I'd love to hear your thoughts, Alan.

AndyW said...

The football scenes get weaker every time out. It's a shame.

This was supposed to be the number one team in the state? country? and every week is a killer game and a squeaker victory or loss. They have to blow somebody out, right?

Also, why do none of these kids play both ways? I'm pretty sure they still do that in high school

Anonymous said...

With you on the easy-game thing. Given that they were set up, pre-Street's injury, as a favorite to win the state title, there should be a game or two they win by a few touchdowns. Every league/district has a couple pansy teams, so maybe they load up on those at the tail end of the season.

Good Tammy Taylor stuff in this episode too. Her good-cop routines with both her husband re: Julie's dress and Buddy re: the hotel accommodations made for a nice parallel.