Friday, January 11, 2008

FNL: Mid-life, mid-game crisis

Spoilers for the latest "Friday Night Lights" coming up just as soon as I give a verbal commitment to Montclair State...

Somebody want to explain to me why a show that just spent a really long time extricating itself from a murder storyline that almost everybody hated -- and that the show immediately tried to ignore in the next episode -- would then have one of its main characters steal money from a gun-toting meth dealer?

I'm not saying that the Riggins boys ripping off Ferret Guy is on a level of wrong-headedness with Landry the vigilante killer. Nor do I think that this story will automatically go in a bad direction. But it seems to me that steering clear of the world of criminals and violence for a while might be the prudent thing for this series at this moment. I liked Ferret Guy as a darkly comic symbol of how low Tim had fallen; I'm not going to like it if he's chasing after Tim and Billy with a rifle and demanding his cash back. And for those of you who want me to trust the writers, one of the casualties of the rapist storyline -- other than the rapist himself -- was the blind faith I invest in Katims and company. They still do beautiful work much of the time, but they've proven themselves to be very fallible this year.

As for the non-larcenous portion of "Jumping the Gun," it was the usual mixed bag we've gotten from "FNL" season two: some good ideas, some erratic execution and the usual stellar performances.

Forgive me, for instance, if I wasn't paying close enough attention in the past, but had we ever before heard that Smash's undying dream was to go to TMU? In the pilot, he wants to go play for Mack Brown at Texas, I don't recall TMU coming up as one of the football factories he discussed with his mom back in "Pantherama" and the "Cabo in my pants" recruiting trip in "Seeing Other People" was to another school. It just seemed odd for the show to spend several episodes on the Smash V. Mama Smash debate over academics and football, then at the last minute introduce another school, about which we only know that Coach worked there for a few episodes. Gaius Charles and Liz Mikel were their usual lovable selves in that final scene, but the storyline was missing some pieces in the middle.

I know there were some complaints about the Unfortunate Misunderstanding at the end of last week, but I bought it at the time, knowing what kind of man Coach is and what kind of man Coach knows Riggins is. This week established that it wouldn't have mattered if Eric had let Tim get a few words in edgewise, since Tim -- in his usual self-loathing, noble style -- made it clear he wasn't going to rat out Julie just to improve his own situation. I may not like the development involving Ferret Guy's cash, but the rest of the Tim story in this episode -- the reunions with both Billy and Coach, and the farewell to Jackie the MILF -- was great. Bill Simmons argued this week that Riggins has been this season's MVP; I don't know if I'd go that far, simply because the show still features Coach and Mrs. Coach, but the guy's certainly come a long way from early in season one, where I would have been grateful to never see him or Lyla ever again.

Riggins was also involved in one of the strangest bits of on-field action to date, when the Laribee coach lost his damn mind and tackled him on the potentially game-winning play. (I seem to recall HBO's "1st and Ten" doing a similar story once with an assistant coach chasing a player down the field, but I think even there the coach got his senses back at the last minute and didn't tackle the guy.) I was glad to have football be central to the drama in the last two episodes, but as with the Smash plot, this one felt rushed. The ominous phone call followed by the Laribee coach's apology to Eric about his wife having three months to live just seemed slapped in there, as if there had to be some explanation for the guy's behavior in both episodes beyond the pressures of coaching high-stakes Texas football. We've seen the hell Eric's been put through, and I could see a weaker man than he suffering a meltdown from it all.

Some other thoughts on "Jumping the Gun":

-I'm glad that the episode eventually dealt with the problems that are going to be created by Shelly's absence -- free nanny service is a luxury for a family like the Taylors -- and I liked the usual ebb and flow of the sisters' relationship. Tami likes the idea of being closer to her sister, while Shelly knows that they'll never be that close because of their past history and their different lifestyles.

-A very nice small detail: when Tami gets the Mama's Choice for movie night, she picks "Foul Play," which is exactly the kind of movie I could imagine a young Tami (or Connie Britton) loving to watch whenever it came on TV.

-Did you catch Landry's dad high-fiving Buddy at the game? He seems to have adjusted just fine to having covered up his son's killing.

-Loved Riggins offering to give Jackie his dad's address in Corpus Christi so she could hit "the Riggins trifecta."

-When Mama Smash complained to Tami that Noelle was making Smash get caught up in all the recruiting hype, my first thought was that Mama doesn't know her son nearly as well as we do.

-"Let's all go to dinner at Applebee's!" That sounds like a fine idea, Tami. Who's with me?

What did everybody else think?


Bobman said...

Why Why WHY, FNL? I saw Tim go for the money, and just wanted to fast forward and pretend it wasn't happening.

THe things that FNL does right were so strong this week I'd be totally fine ignoring the other weaker spots, EXCEPT that theft that could have so many horrid implications.

But seriously, one of my favorite Coach episodes, with his interaction with Tim, Julie, and the other coach; and the Tim / Julie wrap-up was really great despite my serious misgivings about the turn last week.

As for Sports Guy claiming Riggins is MVP... I'd be more willing to give him most improved player or something. Maybe Coach and Mrs. Coach get the Michael Jordan treatment - they've been the MVPs for so long we just want someone else.

rhamilton said...

Other Coach: My wife has three months to live. I don't have a game plan for that.

Me: What did they do to this show?

Anonymous said...

Allen, how could you miss the fact that Mrs. Coach made it a point to wear the shirt that her sis said was too tight and sexy to wear for the last two scenes of the ep!? pure FNL comdey!

I agree that stealing the drug dealers money can only lead to bad things. Lets hope, ala the Russian in the sopranos, that this plot point just hangs for the duration of the series.

BTW any chance of doing reviews of veronica mars season one if the strike continues? been re watching it and would love to see your comments!

Mo Ryan said...

Yeah, stealing from Meth Elvis was not a great idea for a plot. I just don't get that. It sounds like a Skynrd song waiting to happen. But that's too positive a spin on it. In any case I was glad to see Billy back. Double the Riggins, double the... beer?

Yeah, I absolutely agree with Alan's assessment of the rushed nature of the Smash/TMU plot (Huh? That was his dream? Ooookay then.) and also the slapped-together revelation about the visiting coach's wife.

That's been my problem with this season, as Alan has pointed out so well -- things don't feel connected. Characters come in, ping pong around for an episode or two, then leave. What was great about last year was how organic and connected everything felt. Now, new people are just shoehorned in for reasons that don't always entirely work, then exit stage left. I like Jessalyn Gilsig as an actress but I think she was 80 percent misused on the show. Shelly was there to be a catalyst for conflict, and never became a real person.

Ah well, give me a good Buddy scene or two and possibly some vintage Connie Britton and you know, whatever. I'll live. But I do feel like whisper-yelling at this show sometimes.

Chris Littmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Littmann said...

I really enjoyed tonight's episode. I was even left unfazed by the money thing because I enjoyed having A) a game, B) another good performance from Taylor Kitsch C) some solid Taylor family moments and D) Yes, I enjoyed the recruiting stuff.

To answer your question, Alan, about Smash's "lifelong dream of playing for TMU" clashing with his earlier statement about Texas...FNL put itself in a bind early, and I mean real early, as in the pilot. Smash proclaimed he was going to go to Austin with Mack Brown and get his Heisman on and his National Championship on. One problem: Mack Brown actually appeared in the pilot as a booster. I'm guessing it's one of those things that gets done in a pilot, unsure of how long the whole crazy thing would last. It would've been at least a little problematic to bring Mack Brown back as a recruiter I suppose, although it was a nice touch using Texas men's basketball coach Rick Barnes as the recruiter tonight for TMU!

We did a post on that over on The Sporting Blog:

Chris Littmann said...

Argh, sorry for screwing up in the comments. My ability to use HTML has gone to crap at this hour evidently.

Hopefully that shows up like it does in the preview.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, Alan, that you thought the show was a mixed bag. My wife and I thought it was easily the best show of the season. Easily. It got back to its roots in relationships in this small town.

I loved Eric having to apologize to both Tami and Rigg -- humanizing a character who sometimes borders on characterization -- yes, too much the boy scout.

I love Eric's final words to Rigg -- choked me up like last seasons speech to Jason right after the just-injured Jason says great things about Saracen.

Yes, the theft was stupid and unbelievable (they were afraid even to go in to the house to get Rigg's own stuff, and heck, the guy woke rigg up w/ a shotgun to the chest).

But 90% of the epi was gold.

Anonymous said...

Was I the only one who thought, for a second, that Riggins was going to kidnap a ferret and hold it for ransom?

The Fabulous Riggins boys have an easy out. Riggins calls the cops and says "The fat guy with the thick sideburns on Bacalacadaca Street has a meth lab in the trailer in the backyard." Game over. Money for nothing and single moms for free.

OK, so they screwed up and had to introduce tMU as Smash's dream school, but the bigger problem I have is that suddenly they are treating TMU like some major, epic football dynasty. That feels so strange to me. No one ever talked about it before like it was anything but an average college. It is like Landry, who is only n the team when the writers want him to be, TMU is whatever the writers need a college to be. It is far too lazy for a show with as rich a history (including long before the pilot) as FNL.

And, yes, Foul Play is a perfect Tami Taylor movie. I bet she is Dillon's biggest Goldie Hawn fan.

Anonymous said...

I'm with both Chris and Carlos. I thought this episode was sublime. At the same time I'm troubled that there seems to be a bandwagon who are inching closer to wanting to abandon the best show on network tv. The choke-ups I had this evening took me by surprise. Mrs Coach's eyes welling up in the restaurant with her sister. The look on Coach's face when Mrs Coach calmly explained that she should be the one to kick one of her own family out of the house. Any of Coach's speeches and what he didn't say at critical moments when most other shows would insert words for him. The vulnerability of Mama Smash. Smash in that last scene. Collectively, it was an emotional feast.
I thought it was interesting that there was no dialogue this episode for Matt, Grandma, Matt's new love, any of the Garritys, Tyra, Landry, Jason, or Santiago. Lots of MIA and the episode still shone.
I can't figure out if Rick Barnes' awkwardness was stunningly bad or stunningly brilliant acting. Either way, I thought his casting was inspired and completely watchable.
Call me glass is half-full but I even seem to recall the murder plot showcasing the best acting the show has ever had (other than KC and CB on a week-to-week basis, of course).

Anonymous said...

wryanh: I thought the same thing when I heard that line. It was like a dagger in my heart.

For me, Tim saved this episode. I'll admit it -- I have a man crush on him. His too-cool walk away when people are finishing up talking to him just gets me.

And I have to say, I'm not sure if it was ad-libbed or written for him, but the little interaction that Coach had with Gracie at the end was such a nice touch that I could physically feel the ice melting off of my normally cold heart.

Anonymous said...

per Alan: Did you catch Landry's dad high-fiving Buddy at the game? He seems to have adjusted just fine to having covered up his son's killing.

He hadn't even found out about it yet. A lot of the generic crowd shots is shot en masse at the start of production.

Anonymous said...

Alan - I couldn't believe you didn't mention Shelley taping over Coach's game footage with an episode of The Office and then explaining that Coach might not like the show because it was "talky." I loved it.

jcpbmg said...

I too loved Shelly's comment about The Office saying "a lot of people don't like it because it's too talky." Meta much? I got quite a chuckle out of it.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, my eyes got a little watery in the closing seconds as Mama Smash reacted to Smash's TMU news.

The look on her face after he called her ma'am -- a sign of respect that Coach mentioned to him -- plus the ensuing hug and tears, got me unexpectedly lumpy in the throaty.

And, for the second week in a row, I've heard a line from the show and wondered if it would be Alan's choice for the " soon as I..." opener.

Last week, I was rooting for " soon as I read an old issue of Tiger Beat."

This week, I was counting on " soon as I go to Applebee's."

And one thing about the game...

After the opposing coach tackles Riggins, did the official say that the game was over? Or did I hear that wrong.

Does the other team forfeit the game because of what the coach did? There was still time on the clock even if the officials were going to give Riggins the go-ahead touchdown.

Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think I could watch a whole show of Coach just reacting to uncomfortable situations. Chandler makes you wince & laugh while feeling his urgency to just run out of the room but you know he can't because he is the boy scout "trying to do the right thing". But sometimes it gets the better of him example, shelley, and he just explodes. It is always a balance of control with coach. Love it.

To me this show is all about the detail and small moments and this one had plenty. The Riggins thing bothered me last week but I liked the way it played out here. I think Taylor has been underated as an actor as I always feel like I see Riggins and not an actor while watching the show and I can't say that about everyone.

Enjoyed the game scenes, the wrap-ups and give me more Mama Smash!

Anonymous said...

I also loved this episode and thought it was the strongest one all season -- the football and directly related story lines took center stage. There was a total abandoment of The Tyra/Landry manslaughter-- and thank heavens for that! I'm fine with just moving on like it never happened...haha.
I actually thought the Riggins boys broke into Ferret Man's house to steal money! So it came as no surprise to me that they actually did it, even if that was nopt their original intent.
Totally noticed Tami wearing the sexy shirt...LOL
I couldn't believe what I was seeing when bad coach tackled Riggins...I am so sure that kind of stuff happens IRL. Maybe not as dramatic (or for such contrived reasons), but I thought it was pretty shocking.
All in all, I loved this episode!

Unknown said...

First, I'd like to thank NBC for ruining this week's football game by showing the Larrabee coach tackling Riggins in last week's previews. Not only did they spoil it, but it turned out to be the KEY play in the game that they spoiled. (I thought even NBC Promotions wouldn't be dumb enough to put the game-turning play in the previews. Oh well.) Incidentally, does that mean Dillon gets the win? They never said what happened.

Also, it's been my understanding that "TMU" is the show's way of saying University of Texas, since they've been using all fake college names up to this point. (Though Alabama must have given some sort of special permission. If you notice, they referred to Georgia as playing "in Georgia" though Smash's comment about them being top-5 clearly indicates were supposed to be thinking Bulldogs.) And I just assumed that Rick Barnes appearing at the end was another hat-tip to let us know that TMU is once again supposed to be the Longhorns.

olucy said...

Definitely thought the pro's outweighed the con's of this ep. I enjoyed it immensely for all the emotional moments and moving a few stories forward.

I'm relieved that Julie 'fessed up to her dad, because I thought I was going to have to bail on this show if they kept up the misconceptions about Riggins and just kept dumping on him with no relief in sight and continuing the incomplete communications tactic. That's lazy writing.

Loved Mama Smash in all her scenes, and LOVED the return of actual football (I can't believe I'm saying that).

I'm also happy to see Shelly go, since the character has served her usefulness. And loved the cross-promotion of The Office. To be honest, I'd love to see Coach Taylor's reaction to watching that show, although I don't think he'd get past the first 10 minutes.

The Coach With Dying Wife seemed like a total copout to explain his asstastic behavior from last week.

But overall LOVE for the show this week.

Anonymous said...

I was more bothered by the disappearance of the MILF's son than by the theft of the money.

And the Riggins can get rid of Meth Elvis with a phone call, to Landry's dad.

Anonymous said...

My favorite moment:

"Damn, Julie. Damn."

olucy said...

But if Ferrett Boy is busted for meth, he's immediately going to suspect Riggins, anyway, and will seek revenge one way or another, even if he does it behind bars. That scares me as much as the Riggins stealing money. That guy is Batshit Crazy.

Anonymous said...

I had a mixed reaction to this show. I liked everything with the Coach and Mrs. Coach. I didn't like "my wife has three months" or the Riggins boys stealing their mortgage money. It's not enough to just make the opposing coach a jerk? He doesn't have to be evil, but does everyone need to be sympathetic? The Riggins boys raid was just unworthy of the show, or at least what the show used to be.

Meh on the Office joke. I've got a graduate degree and I don't like the Office. (I'm not a fan of cringe humor.) Don't insult your audience.

On the coach tackling Riggins, the penalty would be to award Dillon the touchdown under NFL rules. I assume that would be true for high school as well. I'm just speculating, but they probably ended the game for fear of a brawl. There was an incident in the last few years where a high school coach attacked an opposing player after that player tackled the coach's son. The teams and crowd stormed the field and a brawl ensued. On the show, Coach got his team off the field as quickly as possible, which I took to be meant to prevent a fight.

I couldn't find it on the web, but I distinctly recall that there was an incident years ago where a college coach tackled an opposing player who was on his way to the endzone. I was hoping to find out what the penalty was there.

Anonymous said...

I think FNL decided to merge the real UT and maybe SMU into the fictional TMU. They probably wanted to provide cover for themselves since they presented "TMU" in a less than flattering manner.

I think TMU is more than an average school in the FNL universe and is likely to be in the same league as Texas A&M or UT. Coach Taylor would not have been so eager to jump for a quarterback coaching job there if TMU was just average.

olucy said...

I can imagine an illegal play resulting in a TD for the "wronged" team. But a COACH tackling a PLAYER? That should result in a forfeited game.

Was Dillon already ahead, anyway? When games are forfeited IRL, what usually happens? Does the win go to the "wronged" team? What if they were behind at the time of the infraction?

Anonymous said...

Is Jason not on the show anymore?

Anonymous said...

To answer olucy and others' questions, the team that forfeits automatically loses. Score doesn't matter. This was coach interference, an automatic forfeit. But the clock would've run out as Riggins scored the winning TD anyway, so Dillon wins regardless of the crazy coach's actions.

Andrew, I too had a ferret for ransom thought. As dumb as that would've been, at least it would've been funny too. When the money and Tim's belongings are the two things that go missing at the same time, not too hard to figure out the guilty party.

This episode was a nice showcase for Coach, who had been overshadowed all season by Tami's highly emotional state. It didn't bother me that so many regular characters were absent from this one, but I worry that the writers don't know what to do anymore with Jason, Lila, Tyra, etc.

My favorite moment was Billy's encouragement for Tim to hurry up:

"I'll just be down here becoming a meth addict."

olucy said...

Based on the sides I read, some new Lila material is coming up. That's all I'll say. I don't know what the heck happened to Jason.

I do appreciate the fact that this is an ensemble and they rotate the focus in and out on various characters instead of trying to cram all of them in every week. So a one or two week absence of a couple characters doesn't bother me. That said, Street is incredibly MIA of late.

And for as emotional as Coach can get when he's angry, I continue to appreciate that when Julie screws up (and haven't we had an AMPLE serving of that of late), that he disciplines her and does the right thing, but they don't portray him as some two-dimensional hothead dad who flies off the handle. The "remorseful" scenes between Julie and Coach continue to impress me to no end.

And thanks, dole, for the clarification. I thought as much, but it's nice to know for sure.

K J Gillenwater said...

Okay, if I were unemployed with a kid brother in high school and was about to be foreclosed upon without $2000, I might be tempted to take drug man's money. We already know the Riggins boys aren't all that bright. Didn't we just learn that the older brother can't hold a job for more than 6 months? Doesn't the same brother also allow Riggins to drink beer any old time he wants? Not the most stellar example of adult behavior.

It's called desperation, people.

However, at the end of the episode when Coach told Riggins what an honest, upright young guy he was, I started to think that Riggins will change his mind about the drug dealer's money next week. And then the trouble will really start. Nothing good coming up for Riggins. Wish the guy could catch a break, but then he wouldn't be Riggins.

I adore this show. Don't care about the complainers. I just go on looking forward to my Friday nights. Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

Time for my football analysis:

As for a sideline tackle, it's happened in college football before (though not by a coach)

The automatic forfeit was a bit unrealistic - a University of Texas assistant just got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty this bowl season for illegal touching of a ball. Riggins would get the TD - but it wouldn't have required a forfeit (though the coach likely would have been ejected).

Anonymous said...

As for the episode - I completely agree about cringing when the opposing coach said his "I don't have a gameplan for that" line. I didn't really see the point either - it's hard for the audience to get emotionally invested in a bit character who had been nothing but a villain to that point.

I agree that TMU is basically the stand in for UT at this point. I thought they should have at least elaborated on Mama Smash wanting her son to stay closer to home to make the recruiting plot stronger.

I did appreciate an actual football game though, and Coach Taylor had tons of great moments here. Him holding the baby with the "don't hit yourself" line was fantastic. And very glad Julie finally confessed to her dad - after cheating on Matt and hanging Riggins out to dry I thought she was going to somehow injure Smash next.

Anonymous said...


I won't speak for others, but personally I have no problem buying that both Riggins boys are dumb enough to steal meth guy's money. I just think it's very stupid of the writers to cook up this plotline so soon after the manslaughter one finally resolved.

I kept cringing during the episode where meth guy seems to be almost stalking Tim (showing up at pep rallies and high school sporting events, etc). That seemed like a rehash of Tyra's crazy rapist stalker, and now the stolen money revives something I didn't like and thought we were done with.

Especially with Street (one of the most essential characters, in my opinion) so MIA lately, it just seems like there are better storylines being passed up in favor of dopey, sensationalistic stuff.

Anonymous said...

I personally am glad that they took a break on Street for a while. Don't know if he will be back soon, but he left to find who he could be away from Dillon and Panther Football. If he was still on the show all the time, it would basically be a one man show for his scenes. He needs time away so he can come back as a fresh character. As great as it was, I don't want to see him rolling to the music store for a Nirvana CD every week.

I didn't think the wife dying was hat made the coach such a jerk in last weeks episode. To me, the things he was doing were in character for a jerk. He was downright jolly about needling coach and letting his players slide after the brawl/food fight. The coach even said something when they were first arriving about how things would be fine if their coach would play nice. I don't think the wife's dying explained anything about him but his tackling Riggins.

They need to make a point of showing Landry in these games, or at least on the sidelines. I didn't buy him on the team to begin with, and they went a long while without him being shown at practice or in games so they need to pay some attention to him.

Alan, I think you have nailed it when you mentioned that this show is at its best when it shows the town and the interactions between people and stories. Too many storylines this season have happened so independently of everyone else, from the Mexico trip to the Very Bad Mistake, to Lila and Buddy's buddy from Juvie who we haven't seen since he forced a fumble a while back. This season has been about concentric circles, rather than the interlocking web of season one.

Jefferson Burns said...

Is it me or does anyone think that the gun Riggins knocked over with his duffle bag in Ferrett Guy's house going to come back to him. He knocked it over and picked it up with his hands and placed it back on the staircase ledge. Something is telling me (since they did the rapist murder storyline) that now that gun is going to be used in a crime and Riggins' prints are on it now...

olucy said...

I thought of the "fingerprints on the gun" angle, too, but didn't dare voice it out loud, not wanting to tempt fate.

Anonymous said...

kristin is a breath of optimism that is infectious. Love her posts every week here. I agree with her desperation motivation for the Riggins boys. What I don't understand from some of the posts here is why characters can't have flaws - so the writers have have taken the characters across a legal boundary again. I'm up for seeing where it takes us instead of lamenting that it isnt sufficently connected or organic like it was last year.
I also loved the father-daughter interactions. Damn. Julie. Damn. Indeed it was a great line, not because of the words but what KC did with those words. You could see him burrowing in the back of his mind for the apology he would have to give Riggins. And he was at the same time grasping with what to do with Julie. And he was on the way out the door and figuring out how to win the football game. Wonderfully set up, brilliantly delivered.
I also liked how father and daughter kept mother out of the loop. No good could come from telling her.

K J Gillenwater said...

Why, MJ, I'm blushing! I guess I just love this show too much, love the characters too much.

FNL is much more than a teen drama. I don't know what some people expect from this show. A show that started out with a HUGE soap opera storyline...winning quarterback is paralyzed. If that ain't over-the-top drama, then I don't know what is.

Riggins, oh, Riggins, I'll put you up in my garage!

Anonymous said...

todmod is, of course, correct. Rice's Dicky Maegle was well on his way to a touchdown (ala Riggins) when Alabama's Tommy Lewis leaped off the bench and tackled him with a cut block in the 1954 Cotton Bowl. The referees awarded Maegle (and Rice) a touchdown and ejected Lewis.

Those who want to see the play, hear Maegle recall it and listen to some weird narration by Tim McCarver can check that You Tube here

Now FNL-related: Is anyone else surprised that Julie got no credit from her father for telling the truth? Or did I miss that part?

Anonymous said...

"I don't know what some people expect from this show."

Some people expect it to be half as good as season 1. And its not. It's still a good show, a fine show. But a brilliant, beautiful season that I will immediately buy when it comes out on DVD like I did for Season 1? Season 2 doesn't even come close.

However, I love all the Tim Riggins love. Hate the ridiculous plot development with the meth guy, but if it gives Taylor Kitsch more screen time, so be it.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Tim getting any attention from recruiters? He's a senior, he's supposed to be one of the stars of the Dillon Panthers, and there was an episode in the first season when Eric indicated that he thought that Tim could play college ball. Maybe he's not good enough for TMU, but there are a lot of other schools out there.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Kristin's point/question: what will Rigg do having just been told by Coach that's he noble after stealing money (unbeknownst to Coach). Of course the episode ended so we're not going to get any continuity from that.

But I cannot see the character Tim Riggins walking back inside that house and doing anything other than finding a way to return the money. His only real father figure has just given him probably the highest praise he's ever gotten from anyone he respected, and it had to do with what kind of man he is, not what kind of football player he is.

And he's still gonna keep the money? Is this the same riggins who returned the video camera his dad stole from Coach?

Yeah, I know ferret guy is a drug dealer, but theft is theft. And there was nothing noble in what he and Billy did.

Anonymous said...

"Why isn't Tim getting any attention from recruiters?"

Because a) there are about 50 kids in Texas alone (to say nothing of California, Florida and the rest of the country) who are just as good and who b) don't have the baggage Tim does.

I know the recruiters are presented in a less-than-stellar light on this show, but those guys generally do their homework.

Personally, I would have loved to see the show delve into the scuzzery that can be college recruiting. They hinted at it with Smash, but - especially for the truly gifted kids - it's so much worse, not just from the colleges, but also from the alumni, the press and the alternative media (i.e., Internet-specific outlets).

Someone like Smash would have at least 3-4 Internet sites in contact with him every day, on top of the collegiate guys hounding him.

I actually appreciated the show's nod to current realism - it's no longer about the LOI (letter of intent) signing any more, it's all about the early verbal. Coaches like Mack Brown and Joe Paterno and Pete Carroll have accelerated the process so much that you're more likely to see "commitments" coming from high schoolers in February/March/April of their junior years. The Longhorns, in fact, have nine players enrolling in college this spring (i.e., they're foregoing the second semester of their senior year in high school).

Ten years ago, it would be a sensation if a player "committed" before December of their senior year.

(FYI, as an utterly biased observer, I can totally understand a player wanting to get to Austin ASAP ... final semester of high school be damned.)

MMS said...

Enjoyed the episode and reading all the posts above. The one great moment I didn't see praised above is Coach Eric giving Jules the "I'm so disappointed in you" treatment. The writers and the actors nailed it. Because Eric softened his "lecture" with "we all make mistakes" Julie was able to look him the eye and stay in the room. Otherwise she would have left the room with a "you don't understand" to cover her guilt and we would have been denied the happy family scene at the end, with the above praised work as Eric interacts with baby Grace.
I'm with Jefferson and the others who cringed because Tim's fingerprints are on Ferret Guy's gun. The Tim can't catch a break theme will go sour for me if after his redemptive conduct and finally earning Coach Eric's respect he now becomes a felony suspect because his prints are on the gun. The rapist murder plot was MORE than enough crime drama for season 2.
Despite the season 2 sophomore slump this is still easily one of the best shows airing this season.

Anonymous said...

LOVED this episode! It had all the great moments I've come to expect from FNL - I laughed and cried at various times, and thought about it long after it was over. My two cents on the Riggins' boys "theft" - I think we won't hear any more about it, that they felt it was their right after how Tim was treated in that house, and that beacuse their parents abandoned them, the Riggins boys have learned to "get by" any way they can. I think it's a nonissue. (I guess that was more than two cents, wasn't it?)

Patrick said...

I agree with JasonG and would love to see you do a rewatching of Veronica Mars while the strike continues.

Looking forward to catch up on Mad Men next week since I missed it the first time around.

Charles said...

Gave up on this show after the rapist-killing-throw-the-body-in-the-river and the Saracen sleeping with the latin nurse/housekeeper-who-magically-appeared-out-of-nowhere.

Such an enormous disappointment, given that last season probably represented one of the best things that network television has put out in at least the last 10 years.

Wish I could come back and pretend that those 'plot twists' didn't happen, but I can't, and I can't bring myself to watch the show anymore either. What a pity.

Anonymous said...

If TMU equals UT, or at least a prime football program, then this episode once again highlights the major flaw with this season: a professional football coach (one that makes a living coaching) would NOT leave a position coach job at TMU to go back to high school coaching. it's a step up, a promotion, it's what they do.

nevermind the money. UT just hired a new RB position coach for $300k/year. coach makes no more than $100k/year in Dillon.

Also, we are supposed to believe that with 14 seconds left in game, needing a touchdown from around midfield, our brilliant coach calls a play-action, bootleg pass...riiiiigggggghhhhhht.