Joe Dyton

Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Friday Night Lights recap: “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”

In Friday Night Lights on December 18, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Last night, our beloved Dillon Panthers tried to battle their way back to State, Coach and Tami learned about a move that could dismantle the storied team, Matt and him mom had to make some tough decisions about Grandma Saracen, Landry helped Tyra plan a bridal shower, Buddy tried to get Lyla back home and tensions rose higher than ever in the McCoy household.

 

It’s impressive that all of those things happened in an hour (well technically 45 minutes or so), and none of the storylines felt rushed or slighted. Not that it’s any surprise since this is a fantastic show, but last night was another solid episode of “FNL.” There was a lot at stake last night, and not just on the football field, which is why this show is so good. I know there are naysayers who think the show should focus more on the football, but the game is only part of the story that this show is trying to tell. If all you want is high school football drama, watch the movie. The whole point of the show is to deeper into the characters’ lives away from the gridiron.

 

OK, I’m rambling. How about I get off of my soap box and recap last nights show…

 

The Saracen’s

 

I love Grandma Saracen. She’s one of my favorite characters on the show along with Coach, Matt, Riggins and Buddy. So, it’s very tough for me to see her declining mentally. It was a really bad sign when she hopped out of a moving car. It was even a worse sign when she demanded Matt bring her the slippers she had on her feet.

 

I loved Matt’s dedication to his grandmother, but after the slippers incident, I couldn’t help but I feel the doctor was right. Luanne needs to be under constant care, more than Matt and his mom, Shelby can give her. Although at the end, I’m not sure what they decided. Matt said that he didn’t know how to take care of her anymore, and Shelby said she didn’t plan on leaving. So….they’re going to continue to take care of her? Unless I blacked out for a second, or missed something, I don’t think they made it clear what they were going to do. For one, I hope that Grandma Saracen is staying right where she is. She’s too good of a character to cut loose. I mean how great was it when she told Shelby she wanted to be back home in time to see Oprah because she was doing a new makeover show?

 

Riggins and the Garrity’s

 

So, it looks like Lyla is still made at her dad for squandering her college fund on a bad investment. I can’t say that I blame her. Although, I felt it was strange that rather than work with her dad on a solution, she opted to play video games and get drunk at Tim’s place. She was so drunk in fact that she was too hung over to go to school the following day. That seemed out of character for her in my opinion. I understand she’s upset at Buddy and worried about how she’s going to pay for school, but Lyla seems like the type of person who’d be figuring out away to fix things. She doesn’t seem like the pity party type of person. Just when I was about to get tired of her near the end of the episode, I began to feel a little empathy for her when she said she was all alone and had no family.

 

Thank goodness Tim Riggins was there for her (And on a smaller scale, Buddy. How great was their little car ride yesterday) last night. Wow, how often can one say, “Thank goodness for Tim Riggins” off of the football field. He’s been the voice of reason the last couple of weeks, first with Street, then with J.D. and now Lyla. He told her what I’ve been screaming at the TV ever since she found out Buddy lost her college money; there’s a such thing as scholarships and financial aid. She was mad, I get it, but by now she should have taken a deep breath and realized there are other ways to go to school than Daddy’s wallet. And like Tim said, if all else fails, she can attend San Antonio State with him. Since they professed their love to each other last night, maybe attending college together is the logical move. Riggins is in love, who would have thought?

 

Tyra and Landry

 

Tyra having to plan her sister’s bridal shower was the weak link in this strong chain of storylines last night, but that’s OK. There were plenty of head scratching and laugh-out-loud moments involved that the story wasn’t terrible. It was just not as good as the rest of them.

 

I was definitely puzzled that Tyra’s sister, Mindy, wanted to have a tea party for her bridal shower. All of a sudden, she wanted to be classy? I did get a kick out watching her and Billy registering for wedding gifts. Does Billy really expect someone to get them a leaf blower?

 

Anyway, it was Landry to the rescue when he offered to help Tyra put together the shower. I couldn’t help but laugh when they were setting the tables and saw the sign for “Sugar,” only to find out it was one of Mindy’s friends’ names and not a spot for the sweetner. I also loved that Landry postponed his departure from the Collettes’ house so he could gander and Mindy’s “exotic dancing” co-workers. He’s great.

 

Of course, the best part of this storyline was the pep talks to Tyra. I liked Landry telling Tyra how proud of her he was for working so hard to get in to college, when a lot of girls as attractive as her would just try to get by on their looks. The better, and most surprising talk, came from Tyra’s mother, Angela. Wow, she blew me away. Up until last night, I always felt she was kind of an airhead. But her talk to Tyra about her potential was really powerful stuff. If she were that kind of mother more often to Tyra, maybe she’d be in a better position educationally. That pep talk was right out of the Tami Taylor school of parenting.

 

Dillion to be Re-District-ed????

 

Since this season’s premiere episode, it’s been no secret that Dillon is in desperate need of state funding. Well, it looks like the only way they’re going to get it is to re-district the town and split Dillon High in to two separate schools: Dillon and East Dillon High. Of course with two schools, that means two football teams and bye-bye to the powerful Dillon football team. That is not if the boosters have anything to say about it. No matter how many episodes I watch, it still blows my mind how seriously this town takes high school football. The boosters sitting around a table with a map of Dillon and figuring out how to draw up a new boundary so all of the best players would stay with the Panthers was madness.

 

Eric lying to Tami about not knowing what the boosters were up to surprised me. They are the moral centers of the show. Why in the world would Eric feel the need to lie about that? My only guess is that he’s secretly hoping the boosters find a way to keep the Panthers together and if he told Tami about what was going on, she’d get in the way somehow. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite him….

 

Joe and J.D.

 

Last week I said, I felt the McCoy’s storyline was filler, but it turned out to much more than that. It was foreshadowing for the disturbing showdown they had last night. Joe was obviously still upset that J.D. is thinking about things other than football, and it didn’t help matters when J.D.’s QB coach, Wade called Daddy to tell him he was making time with Madison during a water break at practice.

 

Joe took “overbearing parent” a new level last night. His pre-game advice about running the football in miserable weather conditions was bad enough. Last time I checked, he wasn’t the coach. Things got much worse after the game, when J.D. didn’t heed his advice and the two got into a shouting match, which led to Joe hitting J.D. in the Applebee’s parking lot. Thank goodness Coach and Tami were there to help break it up. Who knows how badly Joe would have hurt J.D. if they weren’t there. I’m trying to rack my brain for a more disturbing scene in this series than Joe hitting J.D., and I can’t think of one, with the exception of Tyra getting attacked in Season One. It’ll be interesting to see how the McCoy family gets through this.

 

Two thoughts about this:

 

1)      I’m not sure why Joe was so mad at J.D. for throwing the football. He was just running the plays that Coach Taylor was calling. If he wanted to be mad at someone, it should have been the coach. It’s one thing if J.D. was audibling out of run plays to throw, but I don’t think that was the case.

2)      I don’t excuse what Joe did—at all. But a kid should never say, “Screw you” to his or her parent. Especially a freshman in high school. I’m 28 and wouldn’t say it to my mom or dad.

 

The Game

 

Dillon’s going back to State! I have to say, I knew the Panthers were going to win the game. I saw a link about a “Friday Night Lights” casting call a couple of weeks ago, and it was extras for the championship game! Talk about a major spoiler. Still, I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone that they won the game. I did have some issues with game though. I find it hard to believe the Coach Taylor would go with a passing game plan in a downpour. Like him or not, Joe McCoy was right when he wanted J.D. to hand the ball off. My other issue was that there’s no way a coach would go for two in that spot. They were in the state semifinals. Kick the ball and force overtime, especially in that weather. A two-point conversion is too risky with so much at stake. If that play failed, the Taylor family would have been run out of town. It did work though, and the Panthers are going back to the state title game for the second time in three years.

 

So, those are my thoughts. Friday Night Lights is off for the next two weeks for the holidays, and will return with the penultimate episode of the season on Jan. 7. What did you think about the show? Will the McCoy family work things out? Will the boosters be able to stop Dillon being split in half? Comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

“Friday Night Lights” recap: The Giving Tree

In Friday Night Lights on December 12, 2008 at 3:36 pm

On Wednesday’s episode of Friday Night Lights, the Taylors found out Julie was no longer their little girl, Lyla discovered that her college fund was drained because Buddy made a bad investment with the money, young J.D. McCoy started to become his own man and Landry finally took a stand against Tyra.

 

I thought this episode was good. The scenes with Tami and Julie and Buddy and Lyla were especially strong. The stuff with J.D. and his dad was OK, but all the storylines can’t be home runs (or I guess I should say touchdowns for this show, right?). And I always enjoy the episodes where there’s a game, which there have been plenty of this season because of shortened amount of shows (13). Speaking of which, I can’t believe there are only three episodes left of this season! Where did the time go? Anyway, here’s my breakdown of the main storylines from Wednesday’s episode….

 

Landry and Tyra

 

This week’s episode’s title, “The Giving Tree,” was the basis for the one-sided friendship of former lovers Landry and Tyra. After blowing off school and SAT preparation to go on the road with Cash, Tyra fell woefully behind with her schoolwork and asked Landry to come to her rescue. Being the good guy that he is, he said yes, despite his band mates mocking him and telling him he’s basically a prostitute. Except, “he doesn’t get paid, and he doesn’t get laid.”

 

Fortunately, Landry saw the light when Tyra asked him if he could delay his band practice so they could finish their SAT vocabulary session. Landry finally put his foot down and gave her “The Giving Tree” breakdown of their friendship. The little boy would take and take and take from the tree that loved him so much, but eventually there was nothing left but a stump. Tyra’s the little boy who Landry, the three, loves to death and she continually takes from him, but gives nothing back. It was nice to see him have a backbone when it comes to Tyra for once.

 

As for Ms. Collette, she redeemed herself by getting Landry and his band a gig. Part of me couldn’t help but wonder if she did it because she cared about Landry, or because she wanted to prove she wasn’t selfish. The optimist in me is going to go with the former. I was just happy to see Tyra do something nice for him after all that Landry has done for her.

 

Buddy and Lyla

 

Is it wrong that I felt a little bit sorry for Buddy in this episode? I know that he lost Lyla’s whole college fund in a risky investment, but I couldn’t help feel bad for him when he was on Tim’s doorstep pleading for her to come outside or when he left that apologetic voicemail for her. I guess I’m such a big fan of Buddy that I can’t help but pit him a bit. If you want to get technical, one could say his relationship also had a “Giving Tree” feel to it. Buddy provided for Lyla his whole life, but now he’s just a stump and she wants nothing do with him. I couldn’t blame him for calling her spoiled.

 

In the end however, Lyla was right; this mess was Buddy’s own doing starting with cheating on his wife and then compounding it by using Lyla’s college money for that business venture without even asking her. Something tells me that she’ll still find a way into college though.

 

Matt, Julie and the Taylors

 

This was my favorite storyline of the episode because it shows how real this show is. Eric and Tami’s reactions to finding out Matt and Julie were sleeping together and how they went about handling it was spot on.

 

Let’s rewind for a minute though. I cringed when Coach went into the Saracen house to get Julie when no answered his knock. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. Julie’s shriek was priceless. As was Eric’s about face back to the car. When Julie finally got into the car, her and Eric’s silence was deafening.

 

As for the parental guidance on this delicate matter, I love, love, loved Tami’s talk with Julie. It was so real and heartbreaking all at the same time. I loved Tami’s honesty about how she hoped Julie would wait. Her advice was just as good from always being safe to letting Julie know if she and Matt broke up, she didn’t have to feel like she had to sleep with her next boyfriend. If this scene doesn’t get Connie Britton an Emmy nomination, then I just give up trying to understand awards shows.

 

While I enjoyed Tami and Julie’s talk, I think I liked Eric and Matt’s talk better. It may have been shorter and more one-sided, but it hit the same points. I got a kick out of Matt telling Tami that he was there to pick up Julie and bring her right back home and his deer-in-the-headlights look when Tami told him he could go outside and wait with Eric while Julie got ready.  He looked like he was walking The Green Mile as he headed to back yard. As Eric forcefully cleaned off the grill, he made his point with just a couple of sentences, “I know your dad is in Iraq, but I think he’d agree with me when I say women are to be respected,” and “That is my daughter.” All Matt had to say (and all he should have said) was, “Yes sir.” I was just happy to see that this personal stuff didn’t affect the football stuff. A more clichéd show would have had Coach put Matt on the bench, the team struggle, and Matt give Coach the old, let’s put personal stuff aside and win this game type of speech at halftime and then Coach puts him and Dillon wins the game. Luckily for us, this isn’t that type of show.

 

Joe and J.D. McCoy

 

This storyline felt a little like filler to me, but it is important to establish J.D.’s character if this show gets a fourth season. With most of the players graduating this year, J.D. will at the forefront of the cast next season. It’s sad that there are actually parents out there that are so wrapped up in their kids’ athletics, that they forget to let their kids have a life outside of sports.

 

It was so silly of Joe to ask J.D. to put his thing with Madison aside until the playoffs were finished. Doesn’t he trust his son to be able to handle being a football star and high school relationship? I cheered when Katie saw J.D. sneaking out to see Madison and didn’t say anything to Joe. It’s good that J.D. is standing up to his dad and doing what he wants, thanks to some advice from Tim Riggins of all people.

 

The Game

 

Honestly, could a referee crew really get away with not calling any penalties on the other team because they don’t like coach Taylor? That was so ridiculous. Maybe things are different in Texas, but in my youth sports experience, there’s no way officials could get away with letting their personal feelings get in the way of calling a fair game. I mean, they weren’t letting ticky-tack stuff go; there were late hits and blatant pass interference calls. When Riggings ran in for the winning touchdown, I was worried that the refs were going to throw a flag against Dillon for a phantom holding penalty. My favorite part of the game (aside from the Panthers winning) was Eric getting thrown out of the game for arguing after he told his team that they were going to control their tempers no matter how bad the officiating was. Practice what you preach, coach!

 

The other key thing that came out of the game, the accolades Mac McGill’s replacement and J.D. quarterback coach, Wade, got for leading Dillon to victory with that last drive. Could there be a coaching controversy in Dillon? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Well, that is it for this week. What did you all think of the episode? Will the Panthers make it back to the state championship? Comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com

I’ll believe the Sabathia signing is a good one when I C.C. it

In MLB on December 10, 2008 at 8:11 pm

The New York Yankees are closing in on signing a front-of-the rotation starting pitcher in the prime of his career.

 

And as a die-hard Yankee fan, I’m not all that excited about it.

 

Capt. Buzzkill reporting for duty.

 

I hate to rain on everyone’s parade. And I know most Yankee fans are excited about this seven-year, $160 million contract the Bronx Bombers have offered C.C. Sabathia that is all but signed. Heck, deep down I’m happy that the Yanks are close to obtaining a starting pitcher that they desperately need.

 

However, the better part of me is a little worried. I’m cautiously optimistic at best. I am not concerned about the money aspect of the deal. The Yankees are one of the few teams in the league that can afford to eat bad contracts (read: Pavano, Carl). It’s not about the money, I am more concerned about the years committed and how is Sabathia is going to peform. Here are few reasons why:

 

1) I’m not sure how much he wanted to come to the Bronx. The Yankees offered Sabathia a six-year, $140 million contract more than a month ago. He didn’t sign on the dotted line right away because he had a desire to pitch on the west coast and stay in the National League, and wanted to see if that opportunity was out there. That’s fair enough, but as it became apparent that he wasn’t going to do that, why did he wait so long to sign on with the Yankees? Did he hold off to see if the Yanks would throw in more money? Well they did. So now, the Yankees are going to be counting on a guy whose heart may not truly be in it, but he came here because the Yanks were the highest bidder. There are enough mercenaries on this team already; no they need another one trying to carry their rotation?

 

2) I’m worried that he won’t be able to do it in the American League. I know he won 19 games and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2007, but he had a really rough go of it in the beginning of the ’08 with the Indians. He went 1-4 and April, and battled to a 6-8 record before he was traded to the Brewers. He didn’t return to form until he started pitching in the less hitting-rich National League. Chances are he’ll carry the momentum he gained last year to the Yanks’ 2009 campaign, but just thinking about his rough start last year scares me—just a little.

 

3) Kevin Brown, Javier Vasquez, Jose Contreras and Carl Pavano. Do I need to say more? All of these guys were busts and brought here under general manager Brian Cashman’s watch. Granted, Sabathia is better than all of these guys, but what if the New York pressure gets to him and he goes belly-up like the rest of these guys? Keep in mind Cashman hasn’t made a solid starting pitcher free agent signing since he got Mike Mussina to come to New York—and that was eight years ago.

 

4) The Yankees claim to be about winning in October, and C.C. hasn’t done that too much of that. He was bad in his lone postseason start last year, but I’ll give him a pass. He was pitching his fourth straight start on three days’ rest; it was no shock to me that he couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. In 2007, he had three starts and wasn’t good in any of them. Even in his win against the Yankees in the ALDS, he didn’t get out of the fifth inning and threw 114 pitches. In the ALCS against the Red Sox that year, he was even worse. He went 0-2 in his two starts and only pitched 10.1 innings. The Yankees want to put their quest for a 27th World Series title on the shoulders of a guy who has yet to prove he can win in the playoffs?

 

And the main reason this signing worries me….

 

5) Bill Simmons wanted it to happen. ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons, AKA “The Sports Guy” has been rooting for the Yankees to sign the big guy for months now. Whether you like Simmons’ opinions or you hate them, you have to admit that there are few bigger Sox fans out there than him. Now why in the world would a big Red Sox fan be happy that his teams arch-rival signed a heavily-coveted starting pitcher who’s just a year removed from winning a Cy Young Award. I’m just saying…

 

Look, chances are this works out and he has the type of career that Mike Mussina had when he signed with the Yankees. It’s just that I have enough doubt to worry about it going splat. I think it’s because I want this to work out so badly it’s to the point that I’m afraid that it won’t. Between the Bombers not making the playoffs in their last season at Yankee Stadium this year and the tragedy that was the 2004 ALCS, I can’t take anymore embarrassment from this team.

 

See you all at the New Yankee Stadium this spring. I’ll be the one with my fingers crossed hoping this deal works out for the best.

 

So, what do you all think? Are you excited for Sabathia to be a Yankee, or are just as worried as I am? Comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com

“Gossip Girl” recap: O Brother, Where Bart Thou?

In Gossip Girl on December 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Last night, we treated to the final episode of “Gossip Girl” before the holiday break, and fortunately for us fans, we were left with a solid episode.

 

We didn’t have to wait very long to see if Bart survived the accident, did we? I actually preferred it that way. By establishing that he had passed away so early in the episode, we got to hit the ground running as far as getting into the plot. And there was plenty of stuff going on, so we needed the entire hour to get through it all. If any time had been wasted on wondering if Bart was going to make it, the other stories would have suffered.

 

The undisputed MVP of this episode was Chuck Bass himself, Ed Westwick. I thought he did a phenomenal job of showing a wide array of emotions. He played drunk, angry, depressed, manipulative and sympathetic all in one episode. I got a little extra kick in my step every time Chuck was on the screen last night. I thought it was a little unfair that he went after Dan at the funeral and blamed Rufus for his dad’s death. But like Blair said, he was upset and wasted and not really in his right mind.

 

Speaking of Blair, I thought she was great last night too. She was a wonderful caretaker for Chuck, who desperately needed one. Rufus told Dan that death brings some people together and pushes others apart, and Bart’s death definitely did the latter for Blair and Chuck. Blair even found the courage to tell Chuck that she did love him. It was heartbreaking that he didn’t say it back, but again everything Chuck did or said last night had to taken with a grain of salt. He was mourning the loss of his dad for crying out loud. I do wish that he had stuck around though. My heart broke for Blair when she woke up to him gone and a note lying in his place.

 

I might as well keep going with the positives from last night’s episode. I loved Cyrus’ carpe diem mentality when he asked Eleanor is she’d marry him the next day. I think Cyrus is good for Eleanor; he brings out more of her human and emotional side that we never saw before she started dating him. I like it even more that Blair has accepted him as part of the family. It was definitely, although predictably, touch and go when Eleanor brought him home. I loved the scene when Blair told Cyrus that she confessed her love for Chuck and he didn’t reciprocate, and Cyrus just gave her a hug and told her everything would be alright. It looked like Eleanor liked that moment too. I hope we’ll see more of Cyrus as the series goes along. If only I liked every branch of the Rose family tree….

 

I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of Cyrus’ son and Serena’s boyfriend, Aaron. He’s not a bad guy or anything, it’s just that he doesn’t bring anything to the table. He is kind of just there. I don’t sense any real chemistry between him and Serena. Maybe that will change after they get back from their Argentina getaway. I like her and Dan much better, but Serena’s right, they’ve tried to date twice, and failed, twice. Maybe some real time apart and dating other people is just what the doctor ordered.

 

Speaking of Dan, one of the most awkward scenes of the episode was when he and Aaron were waiting for Serena outside of the church. Was I the only one who thought the whole, “She texted me first” discussion was childish and absurd? It got even more awkward when she got there and greeted them both. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but it looked like she embraced Dan a little bit more than Aaron. Either way, I know Dan was trying to be a good friend, but he was better off letting Serena’s boyfriend be there for her at that moment.

 

And finally…

 

So the Lily’s big secret was she had Rufus’ child in a hospital in France and/or had an abortion? That’s it? There has to be more than that to it right? I mean, she wanted her mother to pay Bart’s P.I. whatever he wanted to keep this secret buried. I was so excited to find out what the big secret was, and felt a little underwhelmed when it turned out to be a love child. I’m holding out hope thought. This is “Gossip Girl” after all, there’s always more to every story.

 

So, that does it for “Gossip Girl” for 2008. What do think will happen when the show returns in January? Will Chuck return damaged as ever, or will he turn over a new leaf? Will Serena and Aaron still be together when they return from South America? Will Rufus and Lily ever get back together? Feel free to comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com

“Grey’s Anatomy” recap: All By Myself

In Grey's Anatomy on December 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

After a one week break, which felt longer in my opinion, “Grey’s” was back on last night. Was it worth the wait? Kinda sorta. It wasn’t a bad episode, but it wasn’t earth shattering either. It was solid; like a line-drive single when you really need a home run. You’ll take the single, but a homer would have been great.

My favorite story of last night revolved around who was going to get the solo surgery. It was a touch of genius by taking the decision out of the Chief’s and the other attendings’ hands and making Cristina choose. I don’t feel there would have been as much at stake if the senior circuit got to choose, but with Cristina having the power, we had a whole different wrinkle added to the story. I felt bad for her because she was the one who was chosen by the attendings, but because of her silly interns, she had to pass the torch. Well, at least she got the satisfaction of knowing she was the true winner. And there will plenty of solo surgeries in her future.

The “feel good medical case of the week” was interesting too. I felt bad for the husband who had been communicating with his wife for years with Post-It notes. I couldn’t even begin to imagine. During the show last night, I kept wondering what I’d want my first word to be if I had lost my voice for five years. It’s almost like getting a second chance to say your first word. When we’re babies we all just uttered out something, but this time we’d actually have an idea of what we were talking about. Yeah, I know I’m crazy. Anyway, I was happy that it worked and the wife was able to take her nose out of her laptop for a few minutes to reconnect with her husband.

This episode probably could have gone from “line-drive single” to “a double off of the wall,” if it weren’t for the Izzie-Denny stuff. My, the wheels have fallen off of this storyline in a hurry. Anytime these two are on the screen, it’s like I’m watching “The Sixth Sense,” except it’s a million times worse. It’s almost like these two are on their own show because it’s so far removed from the reality the rest of the show is existing in. It’s scary that Denny is supposed to be around until February, but when I think about it, the show will be on Winter hiatus soon, so February will be here before we know it. The only positive that came out of this story last night was that George is starting to realize that something is wrong with Izzie.

Then of course, we had the “sad medical case of the week,” which involved the two sisters who were in the car accident. While they were arguing, the younger sister shouted the customary, clichéd line, “I hope you die.” Usually when this line is said (or its sister line, “I never want to see you again.”) the person ends up fighting for their life and while the person who said it is hoping that’s not the last thing they get to say. This has been done a number of times, but to my surprise, the older sister didn’t make it. I have to admit, I was shocked. It was just a heartbreaking scene when the younger sister said good-bye. Didn’t see that one coming.

Speaking of not seeing things coming, I couldn’t believe Mark and Lexie crossed that line last night. The tension has been building for some time now, but unless you know ahead of time when the big moment is going to happen, you can’t help but feel in shock when it actually does. Would these two make a good couple? I’m honestly not sure. But when I think how about it, how many good couples are there on this show? Even the show’s resident power couple, Derek and Meredith have more issues than Rolling Stone. I guess time will tell what happens with those crazy kids.

OK, I’m babbling now. Here are my “Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down” and other thoughts from last night…

THUMBS WAY UP: To Dr. Alex Karev. I think Justin Chambers found the scene to send to the Emmy voters. Did he blow anyone else away with his “I love you” speech to Izzie? I think I saw a side of Alex that I didn’t know existed. He just laid it all out there and was sincere in doing it. Besides that, he also won the solo surgery. He would have been the next-to-last person I expected to win (Izzie would have been the last), but Cristina was right, he had the best case and he was the most prepared. Hopefully, this Alex will stick around for awhile. Although, I do fear for his sanity a bit. If the rumors that Izzie is going to have some sort of brain aneurysm, then this will be the second woman he’s been involved with who’s had head troubles. I’m pretty sure Alex will be by her side during the ordeal, so between helping Izzie and what he went through helping Ava/Rebecca last season, I don’t know how he avoids losing it himself. Anyway, he gets the game ball from me last night. For more on Izzie’s possible condition, check out this story: http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2008/12/greys-anatomy-1.html

THUMBS DOWN: To the bratty sisters who were arguing with each other in the ER. I couldn’t agree with Dr. Hunt more when he said to Alex, “Make it stop.” That scene went on waaay too long. So long, I considered muting my TV until it was over. Of course I didn’t do that in fear of missing a key plot point, and I’m glad I didn’t do that because I would have missed the “I hope you die” line that set up the rest of that storyline.

THUMBS UP: To the “Cristina having to pick the resident to replace her on the solo surgery” storyline. I was intrigued by the initial storyline of one of the residents getting to fly solo, but once it was announced the Cristina would have to choose, that story was taken to a whole new level. I felt the suspense was good; I honestly had no idea who she was going to select. Normally, Meredith would have been the frontrunner, but their argument from the last episode evened the playing field. I have to admit, after Dr. Dixon told her to leave feelings out of it, and she went to the board; I thought she was going to write her own name down and see what the Chief said. Now that would have taken the story to an even higher level. Still, it was great to see Cristina humanized a bit, even it was just for an episode.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN: To Dr. Virginia Dixon. The “Thumbs Up” goes to Mary McDonnell for her portrayal of someone who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. She’s done a good job with it, even though I have to agree with people who feel it’s a bit over-the-top and borderline “Rainman-ish.” The “Thumbs Down” goes to how cold she was to that poor family regarding getting the older sister’s organs. I was about to say the body wasn’t even cold yet, but the girl was technically alive! The way Dr. Dixon went on and on about her central nervous system and how she wasn’t going to wake up was so, so painfully honest that I was hurting for the family. I have to say, part of me hopes she doesn’t stick around for more than the three episodes she singed on for.

THUMBS UP: To Meredith for being there for the younger sister. You could see in her eyes and what she was saying that she was thinking about her and Cristina’s fight. The writers always find a way to parallel a medical case with one of the doctors’ personal issues, don’t they? I also have to give Meredith a “Thumbs Up” for sticking up for Alex when the other residents were taking bets on how soon he’d mess up. She did the same thing for George in the first episode when he got to scrub in on Dr. Burke’s surgery. My only complaint regarding Meredith was she did try to make the solo surgery choice personal with Cristina. I think Meredith thought deep down, despite their fight, that she was going to be one picked no matter what. Shame on her for thinking Cristina pick Alex just to spite her.

THUMBS UP: To Dr. Hunt for being there for Cristina. He didn’t have much going on last night, but his little bit of screen time was significant. I thought it was cool of him to not only know that the stress of having to pick one of the residents for the surgery was killing her, but also that he took her to an out of the way place to let it all out. I’m still not sure how I feel about their pairing yet though. I think because Cristina’s so by the book and sort of robotic, it’s hard for me to see her be in romantic situations. Even when she was with Burke, it always seemed a little off. I know she loved him, but I have a tough time seeing her as anything but a doctor. Either way, I’m a big fan of Dr. Hunt’s, so if him dating Cristina means he’ll get more screen time, then I’m all for it.

THUMBS WAY DOWN: To Denny and Izzie and everything about them. This storyline gets stranger and stranger each week. It needs to go away ASAP. It’s hard to take. I never imagined that a worse idea would come out of the writers’ room than George and Izzie, but this one is much worse. At least George was visible to everyone. I can’t write anymore about this because it frustrates me just thinking about it. It’s just a shame that they’re ruining one of the best guest characters ever for everyone. And finally…

THUMBS UP: To Dr. Sloan. He did it all last night, and I mean it all. He performed a miracle, groundbreaking surgery and gave a woman her voice back, he was (once again) a sounding board for Callie and he was gracious enough to let Bailey take the reigns for a bit on his surgery. If that was all that happened with him, I would have been completely satisfied, but then….

We were reminded that while McStreamy has become a pretty good man, he’s still a man as proven by him hooking up with “Little Grey.” I don’t know what to think about this. I thought it was strange how Lexie just showed up at his room, started undressing and kept asking him to “teach her.” It was such and odd way to go about asking Mark to “get together” with her, wasn’t it? All the while, poor Mark is trying to resist, but he predictably caved.  I didn’t cheer or cringe when this happened, I kind of watched it unfold in disbelief. To me, the interesting thing isn’t the hook up, but what the consequences are going to be. That’s when the story will really begin with what happened last night.

OK a few random thoughts and I’m finished…

*There’s been a good amount of soul searching the last few episodes. Two weeks ago, Bailey talked to Callie about wanting a new challenge, and even last night she was so interested and involved in what Mark was doing during the throat surgery because it was something new. Meanwhile, McDreamy (he was kind of invisible last night, no?) mentioned how he’s tired of the death. I wonder if he’d ever some sort of career change. I hope he’s part of the “Private Practice/”Grey’s” crossover episodes in February.

*I thought the Sadie/Callie thing was a little odd last night. Not good or bad, just odd. Anytime a woman smiles at Callie, is she going to think they are interested in her?

*Speaking of Sadie, I wonder who her dad is that’s so influential that she was able to stay employed at Seattle Grace?

*I love the Citibank commercial with the “seat jumper” guys. Especially the part when they make it to the front and the security guard points them back to their nosebleed seats. I don’t know, I just get a kick out of that. On the flip side, I find the Xbox commercials where the back of the persons head is cut out a little disturbing.

*I think it’s hilarious that “Scrubs” and “Grey’s” are now on the same network. Especially since “Grey’s” was considered a “Scrubs” rip-off when if first aired. So much so that in on episode of “Scrubs” the main character, J.D. said, “I love (“Grey’s”). It’s like someone’s been watching our lives and put it on TV.” Good times.

*I have to admit, I’m a little confused about when the next new “Grey’s” episode is going to be. The previews made it look like it was going to be next Thursday, but according to TVGuide.com and ABC.com, there will be a repeat on next week. That’s disappointing if that’s case. Anyway, the next new episode looks pretty good.  *Honorable mentions for “Line of the Week.”

-“Whatever, Hellen Keller.” (I got a kick out of this line because I guess Alex forgot that Hellen Keller was not only deaf, but also blind so she wouldn’t be able to read lips.)

-“No hot interns!!”

-“I can kiss (butt) when I have to, but not yours.”

-“I didn’t cut LVAD wires, put my hands in balmy body cavities or have my interns operate on each other.” (Let’s face it, Bailey’s whole speech in the beginning of the episode could have been the Line of the Week, but I don’t think it would fit in the subject line.)

-“No, I am (bad).”

-“If you want to be scared, that’s OK. Just be scared with me.”

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com

Tripleheader of blowouts give fans very little football to be thankful for

In NFL on December 2, 2008 at 4:03 pm

 I love Thanksgiving. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become my favorite holiday. As a kid, I loved Christmas the most. Could you blame me? Waking up and seeing a whole bunch of gifts under the tree, what more could a kid ask for than that? As I got older though, and the gifts remained appreciated, but not as anticipated, I began a love affair with Thanksgiving. Eventually, I had to break if off with Christmas and I made Thanksgiving my full-time holiday love.

 

OK, OK I know that metaphor was a little bizarre. The point is, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always falls on a Thursday, and I take off from work the next day, so every November, I look forward to that four-day weekend. Plus, it’s a day where I’m stuffing my face with great food and going back for more throughout the evening. If all I had on Thanksgiving was a lot of good food and a the start of a four-day weekend, I’d be more than happy. But there’s something else, I look forward to on Thanksgiving…

 

Football.

 

Ah, football. It’s my favorite sport and knowing that I get to enjoy games while pigging is simply paradise to me. It’s even more of a paradise now that there’s an evening game after the traditional day games. Before NFL Network gave us that extra game, I always felt a little lost after the Cowboys’ game. I always felt like, “Wow, I could go for one more game. What am I going to watch now?” Anyway, when I looked at this years slate of Turkey Day games, I assumed we’d have a bad early game (Lions vs. Titans), a game that could be good depending on if the visitors showed up, but would most likely be bad (Seahawks vs. Cowboys) and a good game (Cardinals vs. Eagles).

 

Well, unfortunately, I was wrong. We got three bad football games. Like I said, the Lions-Titans game and the Cowboys-Seahawks game were anticipated. But what about the Cards-Eagles match-up? I was looking forward to this game all day! I figured it would be a saving grace after two straight laughers that were over before they started. Unfortunately, Kurt Warner decided to put the ball up for grabs all night and the rest of his crew were moving around like they had a little too much turkey before the game. What a disgrace. I turned off the TV with about five minutes left in that game, bummed out that I didn’t get to see an ounce of competitive football on my favorite holiday of the year.

 

I could have sulked about the lousy games until I fell asleep, but instead I opted to be thankful for that there were games for me to watch at all. That’s what I kept trying to tell myself anyway.

 

Here are some quick thoughts on the Thanksgiving games and the remainder of the Week 13 Slate….

 

Titans 47, Lions 10

 

Well, the whispers about the Lions having the Thanksgiving game taken away from them probably turned into shouts after that putrid performance. Wow, what an awful team the Lions are. I really felt for the Lions’ fans who spend their Thanksgiving afternoon watching them play, and kudos to them for selling out the place.

 

I couldn’t help wonder several times, “Where’s the defense?” as Titans’ running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White ran up and down the field at will. After Johnson ran untouched for a 58-yard touchdown, I think Phil Simms said it best, “You know you’re in trouble when you’re 0-11 and your crowd doesn’t even boo after you give up a long touchdown run.” I could have said it better myself.

 

There were plenty of lowlights in this game, but the lowest had to be the pick Daunte Culpepper threw that Dave Ball returned for a touchdown. Daunte, who were you throwing that ball to? That made the score 21-3. The only interest I had in the game after that was if the final score would total up to 47 or more, because that’s the pick I made in ESPN.com’s “Streak for the Cash” game. Fortunately for me, the Titans took care of that total all by themselves. And while I’ve been bashing Detroit for the last couple of paragraphs, I should give the Titans their due for coming out and just laying the smack-down in a short week. White and Johnson combined for 231 rushing yards! A couple more thoughts on this game:

 

-The Lions’ poor play made me feel sorry for their fans. But I really felt sorry for them when with their team down, 35-10 at halftime, they were serenaded by Jesse McCartney. I don’t have anything against him, but I just can’t imagine the Lions’ faithful being thrilled with him being the halftime entertainment.

 

-Shame on Lions head coach Ron Miranellis for punting on fourth and 1 when they down by four scores. When your team is 0-11, does it matter if the Titans stopped you or not?

 

-I loved the sign on fan held begging Congress to “Bail out the Lions.”

 

Cowboys 34, Seahawks 9

 

Again, thank goodness for that “Streak for the Cash” game. It’s the only thing that kept me interested in this game. Unfortunately, I picked the “45 points or more” option, and with some quick math, you can see that I lost. I figured the Cowboys would be good for 30 points, so Seattle would only need 15 to keep my streak going. Unfortunately, the Seahawks left their offensive punch in Seattle, and my streak went back to zero. I thought they’d have at least one touchdown drive in them, maybe a careless Romo pass that was picked off and returned for six, or a garbage time TD when the Cowboys were way ahead and had their JV in there. But nope, even during that garbage time final drive, the Seahawks play with zero urgency to punch one in the end zone.

 

As for the game itself, what can you say? Seattle is the walking wounded and really had no shot, with a full week to prepare let alone three days. The Cowboys’ win looks like it may be costly as their star running back Marion Barber and linebacker DeMarcus Ware both left the game with injuries. Right now, they’re listed as day-to-day. The ‘Boys will need them both back if they’re going to make the playoffs.

 

Two other thoughts on this game:

 

*What was up with the teeny-bopper themed halftime shows this year? For the early game we had Jesse McCartney and for this game we get the Jonas Brothers? I know they’re really popular, but is it their target audience that’s watching the game? Maybe it is, I just don’t know. I’d love someone to explain it to me.

 

*I noticed when Fox displayed the list of past Galloping Gobbler Award winners, Michael Vick won in 2005. However, when they showed pictures of the winners and clips of each player accepting the award, Vick’s picture and clip were excluded. It’s pretty obvious why they did that, I just found it interesting, that’s all.

 

Eagles 48, Cardinals 20:

 

I think I said enough about this awful game in my opening paragraphs. I did get a kick out of the Eagles fans starting to boo quarterback Donovan McNabb when he threw his first incompletion, despite the fact that he completed his first five passes prior to that one and the Eagles were up 14-0 at the time. Speaking of the Eagles faithful, I was stunned to see so many people leaving Lincoln Financial Field early. The Birds had lost two of their last three games (and the other game was a tie to the dreadful Bengals); you thought they would have wanted to stick around and see the home team actually complete a victory. But that’s just me.

 

As for the Cardinals, Arizona receivers: CATCH THE BALL!!