Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Night Lights, "I Knew You When": A man for you in Dillon

Spoilers for the "Friday Night Lights" season three premiere coming up just as soon as I find out whether I deserve a smoothie...

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.

Now that's more like it.

You all remember the problems I had with season two, and there's no need to rehash them here. While there was nothing in "I Knew You When" that gave me the goosebumps in the same way I got them from, say, Street getting his helmet cut off in the hospital, or Coach talking Saracen into being confident enough to play QB1, or Tami having The Talk with Julie, this still felt very much like an episode set in the same universe as the first season, where too much of season two seemed to be taking place in a parallel world where the faces were the same but nothing was quite right.

There were some bumpy spots -- the press conference felt more nakedly expository than a similar sequence at the start of season one, and the JD McCoy pass that has everyone all agog looked almost identical to the one that Saracen threw right after Street was paralyzed -- but overall, this was a very strong return to the show and its characters.

It was also, somewhat surprisingly, a very funny return. Now, "Friday Night Lights" has never suffered from excess solemnity -- "I've got two words for you: Members Only" -- but the premiere felt like a concentrated burst of all the amusing things that happen in Dillon, including:

* Coach ending the otherwise inspiring practice session with Smash by reminding Smash to pick up the cones;

* Pretty much every moment between Buddy and Tami, but particularly her "Let's not go there" when Buddy tried to do the clear eyes, full hearts bit;

* Landry and Tyra's simultaneous, conflicting assessment of the state of their relationship;

* Coach's patronizing, "Honey, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard" to Julie's insistence on eating free-range eggs;

* Coach righteous indignation about the smoothies;

* Coach's complete and utter cluelessness about how much better he has it than the rest of the Dillon faculty;

* Billy and Mindy's schmoopie talk while Mindy's dancing on the pole, and especially Billy's take on Tim and Lyla's relationship: "She went to bed with Jesus, and woke up with you. Jesus, you. You're a rebound from Jesus."

It almost felt like Jason Katims and company wanted to be absolutely clear that we were over and done with the gloominess of the murder, and Julie's rebellious phase, and everything else that went haywire last season. "Come back!" the premiere seemed to say. "It's fun to watch again!"

Which isn't to say that the premiere was a non-stop laugh riot. This is "Friday Night Lights." Heavy stuff goes down here. But the drama felt much more organic than it did last year, in part because so much of it was tied to the football team.

I suppose they could have pinned the failure of last year's team on Smash's suspension (which happened in the last episode before the strike shut down production), but an injury later in the season allows Gaius Charles to stay in the picture a bit longer than if Smash were healthy and off at college. I'm going to miss him once he's gone (in case you missed it, Charles and Scott Porter -- who wasn't in this episode -- will be doing four episodes apiece to get a proper send-off), but he'll still be around for nearly a third of the season, and he did some very nice work here. In particular, I liked seeing Smash's posture completely change once he donned the Alamo Freeze manager's uniform. That's not the kid who was going to dazzle Mack Brown, go to the NFL and endorse two rival sneaker companies simultaneously; that's just another poor Dillon soul whose life peaked in high school, and he knows it.

Eric's explanation for wanting so badly to help Smash -- "Cause I need something good to happen" -- speaks not only to the turmoil on the team in this episode, but all the bad things that happened last year. He made the right decision for his family in quitting the TMU gig, but nothing seems to have gone right for the team since he returned. They couldn't survive Smash's injury, Saracen and Riggins are feuding for reasons unknown (maybe Tim's just bitter that Saracen stopped ditching class with him to go to The Landing Strip?), and even a blowout season-opening win (easily the most plausible game we've ever seen on this show) winds up controversial because of JD McCoy's big throw. (Though, again, that particular beat would work better if we hadn't seen Saracen do something similar a couple of years ago.)

One of the things that's always distinguished "Friday Night Lights" is its use of silence, the way it asks its actors to tell you so much more than the characters will verbally tell each other. Kyle Chandler is arguably the best at that, and he gets a lot of opportunities to be expressive here. Other than that one line to Smash, Eric doesn't say much about the trouble with the Panthers, but you can see it on his face throughout the episode.

The re-focus on the football team not only brings the show back on-mission, but forces the characters to all interact with each other in a way they didn't last year. Even Tami's promotion, while probably not that realistic (she had apparently been a stay-at-home mom from the time Julie was born until early in the first season), places her in a situation where she'll be more involved in Eric's professional life, with Buddy, and maybe with the rest of the team.

(I also think that Tami made a mistake by appropriating Buddy's Jumbotron check, but it's a mistake I wasn't surprised to see her make, as opposed to last year, when characters often did stupid things that also seemed wildly out of character.)

Again, not a "wow" premiere, but a reassuringly solid one.

Some other thoughts:

* I will complain this once about the characters' ages and then be done with it, because this is the choice that's been made, right or wrong: I had a hard enough time buying Riggins, Lyla and Tyra still being in school last year, as they had all been established as contemporaries of 12th-grader Street, but asking me to believe that they were all sophomores in the first season is original recipe "90210" levels of silliness. Aside from the plausibility of it, it gets in the way of Tyra's storyline, since Tami made Tyra her pet project very early in what we now learn was her sophomore year, which should have been plenty of time to erase whatever GPA damage was done as a freshman. I like the story -- and I'm glad that the writers have remembered Tami's role as Tyra's mentor -- so I'll go with it, but with gritted teeth.

* Much better exposition than the press conference: Buddy rails about Lyla's mom moving off to California with her tree-hugging new husband (and, presumably the younger Garrity kids). Explains why Lyla and Buddy are now co-habitating, but in a funny way. On the other hand, they didn't explain what happened to Santiago -- and, based on Katims' surprised reaction when I asked about him at press tour, I'm not expecting them to.

* D.W. Moffett, who plays Joe McCoy, has had a career that's largely interchangeable with Brett Cullen (who plays Riggins Sr.) -- and, in fact, he replaced Cullen as the dad in the CW's short-lived "Life is Wild." So it's funny to see them both wind up as very different

* I liked that Riggins was so eager to support Smash's desire to give up. One of the few strong threads from last year was watching Riggins let his life fall apart because he didn't think he deserved any better, and the one disappointment of seeing him together with Lyla is that he's now sort of content, and even trying to better himself. Growth is good, but I hope we don't lose the epic self-destructive streak that made Riggins so compelling.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I had ridiculously high expectations and while they weren't met, I completely agree that this was a very strong return. I also found many of the silent moments more penetrating and provocative than some of the dialogue (though Buddy's "love and football" line was an instant classic). In particular, the way Grandma Saracen was filmed twice, with a beautiful shot of 7's lack of reaction to McCoy's touchdown sandwiched in between, made me remember the emotional power and potential of this show. I suspect the spine-tingling moments upon which this show has built its reputation are not too many Wednesdays away.

Anonymous said...

Personal highlights for me:
-- The one-on-one's between Smash and Coach. Any time he's giving a talk, I'm listening.
-- Along the lines of the Collette hilarity, the way the scene was shot with Tyra/Landry on the back porch and all the trashy stripper underwear hanging in the background.
-- The fact that they essentially disavowed any and all ridiculous plot lines from Season 2. No murder mention, no Carlotta, no Santiago. Check, check and check.

And really, you hit basically everything else I enjoyed. I really felt like the Smash-Coach sequence at the end took me back to Season 1. It made me feel a little bit of those goosebumps.

R.A. Porter said...

I'm always thrilled anytime we get a Tami/Buddy scene, so tonight was great for me. The promise of many more to come makes it easy for me to ignore the unlikely ascension of Mrs. Coach to the Principal's chair. Plus, it looked like there might be some tension between Tami and her vice-principal over him being overlooked.

The rest of the episode was a solid run up the middle for two or three yards. Not a big gain, but they stopped moving backward.

Oh, and I was a fan of CBS's short-lived Clubhouse and thought Jeremy Sumpter was great in that. I'm anxious to see him sink his teeth into J.D. McCoy.

Anonymous said...

Some poor sportsmanship was displayed by coach Taylor. His team is up three TD's late in the fourth and he is still throwing the ball downfield, looking for more points. It would seems running the ball and keeping the clock moving is more appropriate. This is still hight school after all. Also why is this new kid not on a the JV team instead of riding the pine on varsity? getting valuable playing time. He can be moved up to varsity for the playoffs and still be the man for the next three years.

pgillan said...

I knew your opening line would involve smoothies!

The fact that they're Chuck Cuninghamming Santiago makes some since, since my first reaction when they showed Lyla living with her father was that I didn't think for a moment he would have been ok with the two of them living there- which made it kind of funny when they introduced Riggins.

I never watched the first season, and came in about halfway through second based on reading about them here. I liked what I saw, and I'm glad to hear that this season is shaping up to be even better.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Coach's "Cause I need something good to happen"was more about looking at what football has done to the people of Dillon in the past e.g. Street's broken dreams and Buddy's unwillingness to let go of his quest for football glory. He sees how much hope it gives and then sees how it takes away all that once school ends for these kids. For Smash he wants football to have positive effects for him far into the future: he wants football to do good for once rather than harm.

Kiersten said...

Sigh. Y'all make me miss my DirecTV.

R.A. Porter said...

@mark, I didn't think that was much of a display of poor sportsmanship. When the second string goes in - not just one player, but the whole backfield and possibly more - it's with the expectation that they're going to do their best to make an impression in their few garbage-time minutes. The fact that J.D. is probably just better than Matt makes it rough for the opposing team, which *also* wants to give its backup players gametime experience.

And as for J.D. playing JV instead of varsity, would you have him play a game, shower, and be ready to go again in case Matt gets hurt? It's not like J.D. is the 3rd or 4th string QB. He's QB-2, so he needs to be ready to play, and is probably working with the QB coach and Matt to figure out what the opposing defense is throwing their way. This is Texas football, after all.

Mo Ryan said...

Oh jeebus, pgillan, go get those Season 1 DVDs pronto!


Don't know why but I was reminded of the sputtering "Pledge pin!!" line from "Animal House."

What you guys said, re the good stuff. This may be totally lame, but in season 1 I got in the habit of judging an FNL ep by how often it made me cry. Self-indulgent, I know. I'm hoping now that they've hit the reset button they can take me to that "something got in my eye" territory once again... It may take a while for that aspect of FNL to fully kick in. We shall see.

Unknown said...

i'm glad they brought back the "shaky" camera.

also, they don't use qb1 anymore. peyton manning informed street/porter that qb1 is incorrect (

Oaktown Girl said...

Is there any way to watch this new season of FNL if you don't have Direct TV? I've been watching this show since day one, and I feel kind of betrayed by the network to be cut off.

Apologies if someone has already answered this question, but I've only skimmed the post and comments to avoid spoilers in the unlikely event I'll get to see Season 3 anytime soon. Thanks.

R.A. Porter said...

@oaktown girl, there's no way to *legally* watch without
a) DirecTV
b) a friend with DirecTV who can record it for you
c) access to critics' screeners.

But of course there are the non-legal options.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this was great. I mean, I liked season two enough to buy the DVDs, but I felt like it was the high school friend whose newfound faults you keep forgiving out of affection for your shared history -- the friend you maybe get a little defensive about being friends with. But this, hell, I'd take this episode home to meet my parents.

The age thing is going to bug me more than once, but I like enough of what they've done with the undocumented time that it's keeping me from saying "I wish this season picked up where last season left off."

Oaktown Girl said...

r.a.porter - thanks for answering my question. Unfortunately, I don't have the requisite technical skills to access the non-legal means of viewing Season 3. Oh well.

My first instinct was to avoid spoilers (which means not reading any current reviews of the show) and just wait for the dvd's to come out. But now I'm more in the "f**k it" state of mind because I'm pissed off. I'll read whatever I want, and they don't get a dime of my dvd money.

Unknown said...

I loved it! I was never as dissatisfied as a lot of people (understandably) were with S2, but this episode felt so right.

I'm wondering what they're planning with Matt and Julie this season - they were standing side-by-side at the post-game party in the dealership, and the "previously on" montage showed their "I love you" and "breakup" scenes. Interesting. I kind of wish the show would stop dumping on Matt so much but man, Zach Gilford brings those disappointed puppy eyes.

I like the Tyra storyline, though I think it could bring back some resentment from Julie. Her mom's got this hugely stressful new job and now she'll be spending her free time helping Tyra.

Doug said...

I'm not sure if it was me, but the episode seemed to look different to me. (I'm not sure if it's being shot in HD now, but the quality looked better...I'm not sure if that's a good thing)

I loved seeing every single character (especially Grandma)
If I'm not forgetting something, I don't think we ever found out why Lila broke up with her religious boyfriend from last season. I can live without finding out what happened to Santiago, but I'd like to know why Lila and her boyfriend broke up.

While I was watching the first few minutes of the episode, I was just so grateful that we're able to see another season of the show.

This definitely felt more like season 1.
The theme of this season seems like it will be how difficult it is to get out of Dillon.

K J Gillenwater said...

This is one lady who is not happy that Riggins is with Lyla. Do not like Lyla at all. Do not feel sympathy for her situation. Do not care about her one bit.

I want Riggins to go head-over-heels for some chick who won't give him the time of day. He makes changes to the way he lives his life in order to win her...making many, many mistakes along the way.

Now, I guess one could say that is the role Lyla is supposed to play...but I find her so irritating, I just don't ever root for her to succeed. In fact, I really want her to get burned. Badly. Bring her down to earth for a bit.

I have to say, I fast forwarded through the football game.

It was good, but just not as good as I was hoping. And I don't really like Tami as principal. I just don't believe she'd take on that job after last year's stressful craziness with a new baby and husband far, far away. Now, if they'd make some point of the financial necessities of in, Coach is making WAY less now...then I might believe it.

Hope next week is better. I'll cut them some slack for having to bring the audience up to speed some.

Oh, and I loved Riggins brother proposing to Tyra's stripper sister. Classic.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with the episode?
The Vice Principal acted like it is hard to get accepted into Texas A&M. The only people that actually go to A&M are children of A&M alums, and people who got rejected by UT. That's why there's such bitterness towards UT from A&M. It's just not a realistic portrayal of applying to colleges in Texas. They should do some research, shouldn't they?

erin said...

Ha! As soon as I saw the scene with the smoothies (and Kyle Chandler's very funny repeated mentions of the phrase "You want a smoothie?"), I thought--that's what Alan's tag is going to be. And I was right! Brilliant.

Omagus said...

OK, Season 3 is finally legally available for those of us without DirecTV.

I've also been bothered by the loose discussion of what grade Lyla, Riggins and Tyra are actually in. I get why the show does it but I just wish they would come up with some better ways of explaining it to the audience. We're now expected to believe that they are all the same age as Matt and Landry? And Smash is a year older than all of them?

No mention of either Santiago or Carlotta doesn't surprise me. I was pretty apathetic about them as characters (although considering that this is my home state of Texas, they probably should look into getting more Latino characters some face time). And FNL has never been a show to worry about having a character go upstairs never to return. Remember what-her-face-Smash's-girlfriend-who-was-bipolar? No? Exactly.

How come Smash and Riggins are so buddy buddy? For a few minutes at the beginning of Season 1 those guys hated each other as much as it was possible for two human beings who haven't gone through a divorce could.

Is Landry still on the football team?

Tyra as class president? Hee.

McCoy senior mentioned that Saracen has a weak arm. If I'm remembering correctly from Season 1, someone mentioned that he actually had a very strong arm; his problem was more that he wasn't very polished as a passer.

I'm also finding it hard that Tami is now the principal. So in one year she goes from stay at home mom to guidance counselor, and then in another year is the principal?

All those things said, I still love the show. The chemistry and the dialogue are always fabulous. The show also does a much better job than almost any television show (or even movie) that I've ever seen at depicting football games. Plus the Taylors might be the best depiction of a family on TV since the Huxtables and Connors.

Unknown said...

No one is posting new comments. I'm guessing almost everyone who wanted to see FNL saw it on DirecTV, or watched at a friends house, had them tape it, found the episodes online, etc. They are definitely not hard to find online even if it is illegal. In the age we live in once something is put onto any form of media it's out there and can not be protected. It's like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.

Byron Hauck said...

Looks like I'm the first of the NBC crew.

I actually thought it was a pretty sad episode. A very good one, but I didn't focus on the funny stuff. The Smash storyline has already come back around, but I was near tears thinking about how hard Smash was going to work in his disappointing life.

Anonymous said...

I was very happy to have the show back last night, it felt so comfortable and familiar. The tone, the camerawork, and the still moments, giving the actors time to take a beat, all felt really good.

I for one liked the Santiago situation last year, I thought it gave Buddy a really beautiful opportunity at trying to have a do-over and get something right.

I'm also not buying Tami as principal at all, not straight from mommy-track guidance counselor. Might have been better to have her as a vice principal - it would have put her in a more plausible position for the continued mentoring of Tyra, and maybe could have put her in some kind of intermediary position between answering to a higher administrator and dealing with the athletic department.

Why start with Tyra and Landry on a break, after all it took to get them back together last year? I have when shows arbitrarily take apart couples.

But glad the show is back, no matter what. Are we working under the assumption that this is the last season?

Anonymous said...

No one is posting new comments.

Well it was a Friday night -- give us all a bit!

Maybe I'm just used to having to suspend belief when watching TV shows that the age thing didn't bother me after about 2 seconds. (If you pretend Season 2 didn't happen--which the show seems to be doing in a lot of places--then it makes even more sense.) And yeah, Tami becoming principal is a stretch too, but I love the story opportunities it creates.

Anyway, I thought it was a very good episode. Sure, it had flaws, but it soared at times--smoothies, Coach and Smash playing racquetball, Tyra's plea to Tami, etc. And the stripper proposal was just hilarious. And I'm intrigued by the freshman QB story line. (Loved the shot someone above mentioned of Matt standing on the side line that then focused on his grandma in the stands.) I thought Moffett was pretty good as the dad.

Overall, I'm so glad the show it back, both on NBC and seemingly in tone and character. It'll be hard to go out on Friday with FNL and BSG both back with new episodes.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether it was sad or funny that Tyra makes a tearful case for how good she is with numbers and at math but earlier she has to get Landry to figure out for her that she needs a 6.4 GPA for the current school year.
Loved the contrast in backdrops in the scenes where Smash tells Coach he has to become Brian versus the scene where Coach and Smash play racquetball. In the former where there was pessimism, the Texas landscape and icons from the football field framed the shots. In the latter where there was optimism, the backdrop was just white.

Anonymous said...

Any info on what/how much was missing from this episode compared to what aired on satellite? And, does anyone know which version is being sold on iTunes?

Anonymous said...

Did you take down the rest of the season 3 posts? I just watched the finale and was looking forward to reading your thoughts. When I click on FNL season 3 on the side of your blog the only post I get is the premiere. If I am missing something obvious, can someone please direct me to the finale post?

snugglebear said...

The version on lists a timing of 47:08, so would seem to be the original DirecTV incarnation. I watched it immediately after viewing the network version and noticed no missing dialogue, let alone missing scenes. Maybe the cuts are in wordless bits--reaction shots, etc.

Once this becomes common knowledge, the show's Nielsen ratings may drop like a stone (unless Nielsen somehow counts hulu accesses). Classic catch-22.

Anonymous said...

Once this becomes common knowledge, the show's Nielsen ratings may drop like a stone (unless Nielsen somehow counts hulu accesses). Classic catch-22.

Or NBC could run one or two fewer ads for whatever Howie Mandell is doing

Anonymous said...

I loved Eric's distinction between Tami his wife and Tami the damn principal. It reminded me of that great scene from season one in which he insisted on speaking to all three Tamis in one scene -- counselor, wife, and best friend - trying out each in hopes of hearing the advice he was hoping for.

And anytime someone says he needs something good to happen I have to think about Dana Whitaker on Sports Night. At the moment those two great characters express that need -- when you hear the longing in their voices -- you're reminded of the goodness in them, the depth of those characters.

Anonymous said...

same question as anonymous -- i was looking forward to the finale post too. will we have to wait 13 weeks?

Anonymous said...

I thought the McCoy pass was intentionally similiar to Saracen's from Season 1. In Season 1 it was the passing of the torch from Street to Saracen, and this throw signals that Saracen's days could be numbered.

I thought the episode did a good job of setting up the season, and I'm just glad to have FNL back in my life.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I said on Wednesday that I was going to pull all the season three posts on Friday and then repost them once each so airs on NBC.

Also, the DirecTV cut of this ep ran a little over 50 minutes.

R.A. Porter said...

@Byron, you're definitely not the only one of the NBC crew. I actually know a good number of people who didn't have DirecTV and didn't catch the show any other way - legal or il - during the fall.

Like Alan, I've unpublished all my season three reviews and will be repushing them as NBC airs the episodes. If you're interested, you can read the review for last night's episode here. I will admit, it's a little odd, and sad, reading it now, as I expressed happiness at the return of Pushing Daisies which occurred the same night as the DirecTV premiere of FNL.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I really want to see how the JD McCoy thing plays out. I will 33rd the compliments of the smoothie scene. To whoever said that the show has the best football scenes, go pick up the movie, IMO they definitely did it better. The actual plays on the show are quality, but the way every game ended on some crazy play or the continuity errors are annoying. I held off the illegal ways of watching the show for so long, but now I am so tempted to go watch the rest.

Anonymous said...

So glad to have this show back in my life.

It is great storytelling, and these young actors are terrific.

- I love the use of sports-talk radio as a narrator to introduce the season.

- Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton should be nominated for Emmies every season, but that's a separate issue.

- High praise for the use of cinematography, lighting, and score.

- I for one do NOT have a problem with the ages of the characters. High school dramas always have this problem, and there is no solution, but only ways to minimize the damage. When you start a high school series about the "important kids" (star athletes, rich and popular kids) you cannot introduce them as freshman because it would ring false. However, you can't introduce them as seniors because you hope that the show lasts more than a season, and the show would create an instant conflict for the second season (especially is a show focused on a sports season).

Thus, a show has to present the characters vaguely in the first season, discussing issues that could put them in any grade, potentially.

This buys the show time, so that by the later season when the characters are now seniors, the suspension of disbelief required for them to be freshman/sophomores in the first season is just collateral damage and kept at a minimum.

Anonymous said...

does the NBC website air full episodes? I get the feeling some good stuff was cut out of the network broadcast.

Unknown said...

It felt like S1, not the abomination of S2. I don't miss Carlotta, though I do think it might have been nice to explain Santiago's absence. I think Tami the principal is far-fetched, but...oh well.

The heart of the episode for me was (a) Tyra wanting to get the hell out and being told that she's already doomed herself to never leaving town thanks to her freshman year, and (b) Smash/Brian being told this is the peak of his recovery- and it's not quite (half a second?!) what he had before, which he thinks dooms him to Alamo Freeze. And Tami being recruited to help...while Coach has to go to Smash and make the offer. I love how these two are trying to save some kids from the local doom.

And oh, Tyra watching Billy propose to his stripper girlfriend of five weeks? The horror!

I'm already calling Dad McCoy "Svengali" (or Marinovich) in my head. Boy, is Eric gonna be driven nuts by Mr. Pushy.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Smash's commitment to Whitmore University? I know he lost that TMU scholarship, but at the end of the season he was going to play ball with a junior college (Whitmore).

Also, Alan, can we access your earlier FNL recaps? I went to look at some of the other episodes of S3 but I can't seem to find them.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on! I saved watching the last two episodes of season 3 until this weekend. So after watching them, I come here to find that you've already pulled your recap of the season ender. Unfair, Alan. I think you can keep them up and let those who want to read them do so.

Anonymous said...

This feels much more like the beautiful and poignant season 1 than the entirety of season 2.

I can buy Riggins still being in school-- he may be the same age as Street, but ended up a grade or two behind him at some point in the system. (If we retcon that he spent an extra couple of years in elementary or middle school), voila, he was actually a sophomore in season 1! But Lyla and Tyra were also both in the same class as Saracen and Landry?

But ultimately, the ages of the characters doesn't really matter. Sure, it can be aggravating to try to figure out the continuity (see above), but if the show works. If it delivers the emotions and character development that it can, the contrivances don't matter. If the show doesn't deliver emotionally or service the character, the narrative cheats stand out more (see Season 2.) If season 3 manages to keep up with this standard, we should be good.

And it provided the best ratings for NBC on Friday at 9 in weeks. Not a hit, but that may be good enough for NBC...

Anonymous said...

when i watched this, i noticed at least 3 discrepancies from the Direct TV screening, but can only remember one now...

When Buddy presents the check to Tami, at the end of the meeting,
Buddy starts "clear eyes, full hearts..."

and Tami cuts him off with a "Don't even go there"

Too funny, Mrs. Coach!

john said...

I waited for NBC to start showing Season 3 (haven't read any spoilers, either) and haven't gone back to Season 1 in a while, but I had a different take on the pass than I've read here.

In my opinion the fact that they completed their long passes is where the similarities end between Saracen and McCoy plays.

As I recall Saracen came in for the injured Street and on his pass takes the snap scrambles and just heaves it downfield for the completion. Where as McCoy takes the traditional 5 step drop and throws a perfect spiral in stride to a wide open receiver for the touchdown.

It's the former athlete in me picks these apart. Saracen has most the physical tools just not the belief in himself to do it. This is what Coach Taylor picks up on and tries to bring out in Saracen. McCoy on the other hand has been trained to make plays just like that, the question is how does he react when everything isn't perfect for him to come in and succeed.

Then again, maybe I'm putting too much thought into what can be a great show.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to debate the differences between McCoy and Saracen, especially since it seems like it is setting up to be a theme of the season….the fundamentally sound/talented prospect vs. the less naturally talented, but experienced and (most importantly) gutsy veteran. I think that is acutally part of what makes this show great.

McCoy may have all the talents and natural gifts, but Saracen finds a way to get it done. As you said, not only were they in the game for far different circumstances, McCoy's pass was picture perfect while Saracen's was more of a heave down field. But also, the story around Saracen's pass was that he closed his eyes and chucked it and got lucky, but in S1 Ep2 he tells Coach right at the end that his eyes were open, that it wasn't a fluke. Saracen may not look like much from the stands, and the Dillon die-hards may want to see a more prototypical QB, but he has a knack for getting the job done and the athletic intangibles to be successful.

And this isn't the first time Saracen is finding himself in a (potential) QB controversy. Buddy and the rest wanted to replace him with Voodoo and even coach admitted Voodoo had more physical ability. It'll be interesting to see if the same thing plays out, especially with Coach feeling the heat around his job security