Joe Dyton

Archive for the ‘Friday Night Lights’ Category

Friday Night Lights recap: “Tomorrow Blues”

In Friday Night Lights on April 11, 2009 at 2:49 am

Editor’s note: This entry was originally posted on January 19, 2009 after DirecTV’s run of “Friday Night Lights'” third season. It has been updated now that NBC has concluded its run and the announcement has been made that the show will be back for two more seasons.

Hello Dillon Panther fans! Tonight, NBC finished its Season Three run of “Friday Night Lights” with the season finale, “Tomorrow Blues.” Now everyone has had a chance to watch this wonderful season unfold!

As for the season finale itself, what else can I say besides it was excellent. Even without any game play, there were plenty of stories that kept us in suspense, mainly Coach Taylor’s future with the team. We also spent the hour wondering if Tyra would get into college and if Lyla would stick with her plan of going to San Antonio State with Tim or attend her dream school Vanderbilt courtesy of funding from Buddy’s less-than-beloved brother, Gary. Let’s take a look at what happended, shall we?…

Coach Taylor, thanks for the memories.

Wow, football really is a, “What have you done for me lately” type of business, isn’t it? Despite leading Dillon to three straight playoff appearences, which included a state championship and another state finals appearance, Eric was shown the door to make room J.D. McCoy’s personal quarterback coach, Wade Aikman. Did anyone find this as ridiculous as I did? I guess money talks, as the board felt they’d rather have Joe McCoy’s financial backing amongst the boosters than Coach Taylor’s coaching experience. I think what surprised me the most about the situation was when Joe was more or less threatening to have Eric fired, one of his demands that J.D. would be the starting quarterback next season. Was there any doubt he would be? The kid led the team to the state finals (although he was pulled), was named the high school player of the year and Saracen was graduating. Of course, he was going to start at QB next year.

Joe’s other demand is probably what more so made Eric tell Joe to “stick it.” He wanted Wade to call the plays, which would make Eric’s current offensive coordinator, Mac obsolete. I was happy that Eric stuck to his guns and told Joe he knew what he could do with his “opportunity,” even if it did cost him his job. I liked that Coach did the right thing and showed up at the board meeting to defend himself.

His speech was short and sweet, but true: “If you want to replace me with a guywith a lot money whose son has a rocket of arm, you are wrong. You are dead wrong.” I was paraphrasing, but you get the idea. And who knows, maybe by him showing up, it helped him land his new gig: as head coach of the East Dillon Panthers. I wonder if I could place a bet somewhere that next season, East Dillon will face Dillon in a crucial winner-take-all matchup. It’s just a hunch, that’s all.

Tyra’s going to be a Longhorn!

After what seemed to be an uphill battle a season and a half, Tyra battled her way into not only college, but a good one, Texas U. It’s funny how when this show started, she was more or less a fringe character, but now she’s front and center and a wonderful part in this cast. When she opened her acceptance letter, I felt that was one of the most triumphant moments in the show, maybe the most triumphant since Smash dove into the end zone to win the state title in the Season One finale, “State.”

With this storyline, came a great pep talk, or maybe it was more of a venting session from Landry. After Tyra stormed the Texas admissions office begging for a slot on the freshman call sheet and found out she had a one in a thousand shot of getting off of the wait list, she really began feeling sorry for herself. Thankfully, Landry, the voice of reason, finally got out of the car because he couldn’t take her whining anymore. Basically he told her she can be anything she wants to be and needs to believe in herself. I can’t help but wonder what will happen with these two, who make a good couple. They bring out the best in each other.

Lyla and Riggins part ways

Well, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tim and Lyla were going to San Antonio State together in the fall. As it turns out, Buddy may have found a way for his fisrt-born to go to Vanderbilt after all. It seems like he’s willing to swallow his pride and his brother for the money. Which begs the question, why didn’t Buddy think of this weeks ago when Lyla moved out because she was so mad that he blew her college fund? Wouldn’t that have saved everyone a lot of heartache and aggrevation?

The answer is yes, but of course that would not have made for great drama. As great as “FNL” is, it is still a TV show.

To add more drama, Lyla had the ultimate decision to make: go to SAS with Riggins, or attend her dream college? She predictably decided to stand by her man and go to the lesser school. But Tim unpredictiably wouldn’t let her do it. He didn’t want to be “that guy” that asks his girlfriend to stay only to resent him for it later. I have to say that Tim has really grown from the slacker who only loved girls and football in the beginning of the series. He really has become quite wise, even if he almost decided not go to college. Thank goodness his brother Billy told him he had to go to college if for nothing else to show his future niece or nephew, or maybe even his own kids that anything is possible if you go to college. That was a very touching moment between the Riggins Bros.

Speaking of bad decisions…

Matt’s staying in Dillon?

Last week we learned out of nowhere that Matt was an incredible artist, which got him into the Art Institute of Chicago. Everything looked like it was set up for him to head up to the Windy City. He and his mother were packing up the house so Grandma Saracen could make her way to a retirement community. But then he pulls a 180 and decides to take his grandmother out of there and that he’s not going anywhere. Huh? I understand Matt feels he owes his grandmother because she’s the only person who never left him. And that he didn’t want to break up with Julie, I get it. But I just don’t buy him giving all of that up, even though it’s something his character would do. I guess I was more suprised that his grandmother didn’t give him the same “Go” speech that Tim gave to Lyla. I can’t wait to see what Matt’s doing with himself next season. I’m hoping after he and Grandma danced, she talked some sense into him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working at the Alamo Freeze in the Season Four premiere.

What happens now?

With Riggins, Lyla and Tyra all headed of to college and Coach Taylor taking over a new team, our beloved show will have a new look next year. I have to give Jason Katims, the writer of this excellent episode, a lot credit. The episode ending the way it did (with Eric and Tami standing in the center of the poor-looking East Dillon field looking around) made it a perfect season or series finale. Fortunately, we now know that this was only a season finale.

Two random notes because I didn’t know where else to put them:

*I loved the cowboy hats Billy and his groomsmen wore during the wedding.

*How nice of the Eric and Tami to buy Julie her first car.

What did you think of this episode, and this season as a whole? How excited are you that “FNL” will be back for not just one, but at least two more seasons? Feel free to comment below!

Have a comment, question or criticism for Joe? He can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

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Friday Night Lights recap: It Ain’t Easy Being J.D. McCoy

In Friday Night Lights on February 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm

It Ain’t Easy Being J.D. McCoy

 

Greetings Dillon Panther fans!

 

I apologize for the delay in getting my “FNL” recaps posted. Starting with this Friday’s episode, “Keeping Up Appearances,” I’m hoping to have my recaps up the following day, Sunday at the latest.

 

Alright back to the action. I thought this episode was solid, just like the rest have been this season. Rather than go storyline by storyline like I usually do, I’m just going to touch on the highlights with some quick hit thoughts.

 

*My favorite moment of this episode was watching Grandma Saracen attack Coach at the supermarket about benching Matt. Say what you want about her, but she cares about her grandson. Even better was after she had her say, she had to admit it was hard to stay mad at Eric.

 

*Even if Coach put him up to it, I enjoyed Riggins giving J.D. a tour of “his” Dillon. I found it humorous that he pointed out a strip joint and a bar to a high school freshman. Only in Dillon I tell you.

 

*I also got a kick out of Landry’s band auditions. They introduced Devon, who I think could be a nice match for Landry; much better than Tyra is for him.

 

*I was very happy to see Matt and Julie reunite. I liked their awkward conversation in the supermarket while Matt’s grandma tore Coach a new one. I have to admit, I was very surprised they consummated their reunion so soon. I’m sure Matt won’t care that he’s QB2 anymore after a night like that.

 

*My second favorite moment in this episode was the scene between Eric and Jason. After realizing he might have made a mistake investing in his house; Coach gave him the pep talk that he needed. Coach was right; Jason’s 20 years old, he doesn’t need to have all the answers right away. The important thing is that he’s trying. It was just a phenomenal scene. My guess is Coach helped Jason out a bit with some of the repairs since he showed up at the dance with paint in his hair.

 

*Besides that scene with Coach and Jason, I’m not too big on the house storyline. All it is to me is Jason and his crew arguing. No one seems to have a clue about what they’re doing. Here’s hoping this wraps up soon.

 

*I’m also over the Tyra/Cash romance. She should have kicked him to the curb even if that kid wasn’t his. I will give him credit for offering to pay for Tyra’s college applications, but he’s obviously not good for her. I hope she realizes this before she gets hurt.

 

*And finally, I’m really down on Joe McCoy, Sr. Wow, talk about your typical stage parent. It was bad enough when he told Mrs. McCoy that J.D. didn’t have time to worry about cheerleaders, but then he comes into the locker room after the game to congratulate his son, rather than wait outside with the rest of his parents. To make matters worse, he spoils J.D.’s plans to celebrate with the team by saying they’re going to Applebee’s. The worried look on Coach’s face said it all. None of this bothered me more than when Mr. McCoy felt the need to make J.D. tell Coach that he got drunk and apologize. Seriously? Did he really have to involve the Coach in a matter that should have been handled between father and son? If this how Joe Sr. treats Junior after a big win; I hate to see what happens after a loss.

 

I hope you all enjoyed this episode too. Feel free to comment below!

 

Have a comment, question or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights recap: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”

In Friday Night Lights on February 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Greetings Dillon Panther fans!

 

Just as soon as we saw Smash Williams move on to greener pastures at Texas A&M in the fondest of farewells, we welcomed back another Dillon hero, Jason Street. It was great to see him on the show again. Meanwhile, Julie made an ill-advised decision regarding body art, Tyra continues to carry on with her cowboy-friend and Matt looks like he lost his job as QB1 to a freshman. Here are the highlights…

 

Welcome back, Jason

 

It was great to see Street again on Friday. It had been too long. The last time we saw him he found he was miraculously was going to be a dad and was begging the mom, Erin, to keep it. Well, it looks like he wish was granted as he’s a proud papa. Unfortunately, he’s not making the kind of money he needs to support his son, Noah. This is definitely not the time to be a car salesman.

 

But, Jason is smart and resourceful, so his plan is to buy Buddy Garrity’s house, fix it up and sell if for a profit. That part of the plan isn’t so bad. Part 2 of this plan is where things go south, since he can’t afford to buy the house on his own, he’ll need some investors. Unfortunately, the only ones he can think of (or get) is the idiot brigade of his roommate Herc and the Riggins brothers. Yikes, no wonder Buddy was hesitant to sell the house. Although, I felt this part of the storyline was unrealistic. He was desperate to get rid of that house, so much so that he was willing to sell it below market value. Why would he care who buys the place? I thought he’d be happy just to get out from under that mortgage.

 

Oh well, at least this unrealistic scenario gave us a chance to hear a brilliant monologue by Jason. It was very moving watching him convince Buddy to sell him the house. It was a brilliant move by Street to convince Buddy by bringing up a big football game that he won for Dillon during his sophomore year. As they say, you have to know your audience. Jason knew his, and Buddy sold him and his crew the house. Yippee! Now all they have to do is get it fixed up. After seeing the boys arguing the first day on the job, it looks like it’s going to be a major uphill battle. And is anyone else worried that the Riggins’ share of this big investment came from money the got by selling stolen copper wire?

 

I felt awful for Jason when he found out Erin was taking Noah and moving back east. After all the hoops he went through to get his plan going, it didn’t seem fair for her to just up and leave like that. He is doing this for her and Noah after all. I also found it naïve of Erin to tell Jason he could visit, “whenever he wanted.” Something tells me it might be a little tough for him to jet off to Jersey whenever he had some spare time. I hope for Jason’s sake, she comes to her senses and moves back to Texas. Street’s a good guy and has had enough bad breaks already. He needs something good to happen.

 

What I did like during the farewell scene was after Riggins saw what was going on through the window, he didn’t call Jason on it. He just asked him what happened and let Jason lie by saying Erin was really excited about it. It wasn’t much, but I just thought it showed a lot of character on Tim’s part.

 

Julie gets inked

 

One of the biggest mysteries for me is how Eric and Tami, the greatest TV parents this side of Clair and Cliff Huxtable, could have raised such a brat like Julie. It really blows my mind. It really bothered me how nonchalant she was about getting a tattoo and then not understanding why her folks were so upset about it. I gave Eric and Tami a lot of credit for not absolutely losing it when Julie gave them the, “It’s on my body now and there’s nothing that can be done about it” remark. I don’t know Eric didn’t drag her out of her room after that.

 

I enjoyed the second conversation Eric and Tami tried to have with Julie about her new artwork. The sequence when Eric asked her what the (heck) she was thinking, followed by Tami asking in a more PC way, “We wanted to know what your thought process was,” and then Eric saying, “Like I said, what the (heck) where you thinking” was hilarious. That of course was followed by another classic line by Tami after she told Julie she was going to get it removed, “Until you’re 18, that leg belongs to me.”

 

The storyline wrapped up with another classic mother-daughter scene between Tami and Julie. Who would have thought Tami was a wild child when she was in high school and it was Eric who helped her find her way. Wouldn’t you have bet it would have been the other way around? I loved this scene, especially when Tami told Julie that she thought she was smart and independent and wouldn’t need a man to pull her on the straight and narrow path. Let’s just hope Tami’s faith in her first-born daughter isn’t blind. As for the tattoo removal? I think Tami said it best, “By time you’re 30, you’ll want to remove it yourself. I’m not paying for it then though.”

 

Tyra & Cash

 

Despite Tami’s warnings and wishes, Tyra thinks she’s found herself a good man in Cash. Never mind the fact that she’s skipping class to hang out with him at his request. A good guy wouldn’t encourage his girlfriend to just ditch class like that. Unfortunately, Tyra’s too head over heels about her cowboy to realize he’s no good. I mean, he took her to see a newborn horse, so he had to be a good guy, right? Run, Tyra, run away while you can! I know Cash is the exciting option, but Landry is the better man for her.

 

The Game

Despite Coach’s oddball strategy of rotating quarterbacks, Dillon topped Ft. Hood in a barnburner, 42-39. Things looked bad early for the Panthers due to the running different offenses with a different QB every other play. This led to multiple delay of game penalties until Coach was able to settle down J.D. and Matt. It was great that Saracen was the one who got to score the winning touchdown, but the look on face made it seem that he knew he might have run for his last score.

 

There’s a new QB in town

 

I found it very interesting that even though the Panthers won with Eric’s multiple QB strategy, Mac and the other coaches were, “done with that.” Excuse me? Isn’t Eric the head coach? Doesn’t he decided when the coaches are done with anything? I guess Eric doesn’t feel that way because he opted to choose one starting quarterback—J.D. McCoy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t know how a coach could bench a senior who’s in his third year starting in favor of a freshman. I don’t get it. I know J.D. is talented, but hasn’t Matt earned the right to finish his career at Dillon as QB 1? To make this situation more believable, the writers should have had Matt stumble out of the gate and had the Panthers win a game or two in spite of his poor play. That way, it would make sense that people would want a change at QB. It would be one of those, “Coach I know we’re winning, but if we don’t make a change now, Saracen could kill us down the road” situations. It wasn’t like that though, Saracen had been playing great; why in the world would Coach bench him?

 

I have to give Coach Taylor credit for doing the right thing and delivering the bad news to Matt personally. He could have called, and I’m sure he wished he did when Grandma Saracen pulled up and gave him her patented overly excited welcome whenever Coach stops by. The pained, awkward looks on Eric and Matt’s faces were priceless; especially when Grandma Saracen said Coach “practically walks on water at their house.” Ouch.

 

I loved the showdown between Matt and Coach as well. I always thought football was something Matt did, but never cared too much about. But after watching him bang helmets all over the place, it’s obvious he cares, a least a little bit. I was happy to see he was able to vent his frustrations to the coach. He said everything I had been thinking, he won a state title and did everything Coach asked, but somehow he’s not good enough anymore. I can’t blame him for wanting to quit; I was surprised Coach was able to convince him otherwise. I liked the heads up he gave Eric—that he’d come to practice and sit the bench, but he’d hate it, and Coach would hate it too. I guess time will tell if that is true.

 

The Saracens

 

Ah, there hasn’t been a dull moment in the Saracen household since Matt’s mom, Shelby blew into Dillon. She’s offered to help Matt out with his grandmother until he graduates, much to Grandma Saracen’s chagrin. I loved how Grandma Saracen gave Shelby a hard time about every item she purchased from the grocery store. Poor Shelby was just trying to help, but doesn’t she realize that nobody likes grape jelly? I did find that admission from Matt strange because I thought grape was the standard jelly flavor.

 

I liked the tender moment between Matt and his mom when he admitted to her that he lost his spot as QB1 to a freshman. I thought she was very supportive—almost like a mom! I hope Matt becomes more accepting of her presence as this season wears on.

 

So, what did you all think of the episode? Did Coach make the right call about his quarterbacks? Were you happy to see Jason return? Will he and his pals be able to sell Buddy’s house? Comment below!

 

Have a question, comment or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights recap: “Hello, Goodbye”

In Friday Night Lights on February 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm

 Hello Dillon Panther fans! In this week’s episode, we bid farewell to a Dillon great and welcomed a new scoreboard, a rodeo star and possibly a new QB1. Here’s how it happened….

Smash is going to college!

Hey, no point burying the lede, right? The main, and the best, storyline of this episode was this one. I loved that coach Taylor thought rescheduling Smash’s tryout was unacceptable and marched right on the field and told the head coach if he didn’t give Smash a look today, that he may not get another chance. I loved how Smash played the Big Call as if it were just a call about his shoulder pads. I loved the moment of triumph when he told him mom that he got in and the Williams family celebration. I loved the final two on two football game with Smash, Riggins, Matt and Landry at Hermann Field before they head to A&M. But most of all, I loved the final scene between Coach and Smash. It was a little short, but the point got across. It was a treat watching a humble and grateful Smash thanking Coach for everything that he had done for him. I could go on a lot longer about how much I liked how Smash’s exit was handled, but there were other storylines in this episode like…

Tami vs. the Boosters

Oh, poor Tami. All she wants is for her students to have good supplies and a fully-staffed faculty. How dare she want what’s best for the school! The heck with that darn school-learnin’, Dillon High needs its Jumbrotron! At least in the boosters’ eyes they do. I really felt for Tami in this episode. She knew she was fighting a losing battle, especially with her less-than-successful “stalking” of the superintendent. When he told her that the boosters gave that money for a Jumbotron, she knew her fate was sealed. I still find it hard to believe a decision like this would fly, but football is taken pretty seriously in Texas.

The best part of this storyline was watching Eric being the “prinicpal’s husband” that Tami had been dying to meet. His pep talk to her about fighting the boosters even if she knew she was going to lose was phenomenal. I’m as big a fan of football as anyone, but my favorite part of this show is the interaction between the Taylor family. It’s so real.

Tyra, Landry and the rodeo cowboy

As much as I felt for Tami in this episode, I felt just as bad for Landry. The poor guy goes through the painful wisdom tooth removal, only to find out Tyra blew him off to make time with rodeo cowboy, Cash. The Smash-Coach good-bye scene was the best of the hour, but the Tyra-Landry blowup which ended with her saying she was choosing Cash came in a close second. It was a flurry of incomplete, interrupted sentences until Tyra finally laid it out there and sent Landry combing through his power ballad collection. Poor guy.

And I liked the not-so-subtle touch by the costume department of putting Cash in a black cowboy hat. In the old cowboy movies, the villain usually wore the black hat. It could be a coincidence, but something tells me Cash isn’t the charming well-behaved cowboy he seems to be.

The Saracen’s

I was glad to see Matt’s mom, Shelby offer to stick around Dillon for awhile to help him take care of his grandmother. I think one of the most bizarre situations regarding this series was Matt having to go to school, play football, work and take care of his grandmother without any help. The kid’s a miracle worker, I tell you. With that said, it was a bit of surprise he wasn’t interested in Shelby’s offer, you know since she ditched him all of those years ago. I can’t blame him for not wanting her around, but seeing that this is her senior year and all, this isn’t the best time for him to be proud. I was happy that he (and his grandmother) finally came around. I loved when Grandma Saracen said she could have done more for Shelby when she left and when Matt asked what she meant her reply was, “I meant what I said, let’s not make a big ol’ soap opera out of it.” She’s the best. Now that Matt’s got some help back at home, he’s got some bigger fish to fry. Such as…

Is a quarterback controversy brewing in Dillon?

Last week’s loss coupled with a bye week was not a good thing for young Saracen. All that did was give the town (and Eric’s coaching staff) time to consider switching to the golden boy, J.D. McCoy. Like I’ve said over and over, I just can’t understand why there is any debate about this. Why in the world would people expect a coach to replace a senior with state title under his belt with a freshman? But, it looks like that could happen as Coach is struggling with the decision. His struggling did lead to the best exchange of the episode though:

Eric: “I need a drink.”

Tami: “We have wine at the house.”

Eric: “I need a scotch-flavored drink.”

So, after clearing his head, Eric took the easy way out and named Matt and J.D. co-starters. That can’t mean good things for Matt who after being QB1 for two seasons will be sharing his snaps with a freshman. Next week’s game should be very interesting.

What did you all think of this episode? Did the writers give Smash a good farewell? Will coach Taylor’s two-head quarterback scheme work? Feel free to comment below!

Have a comment, question or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights recap: “How the Other Half Lives”

In Friday Night Lights on February 4, 2009 at 1:02 am

Hello Dillon Panther fans!

 

On Friday, as the episode was appropriately titled, we learned how the other half (of Dillon) lives. Joe McCoy’s beer distributor business has afforded him a pretty nice pile of bricks, not to mention a personal quarterback coach for his golden boy son, J.D. The McCoy estate is so nice in fact, Mrs. Katie McCoy offered to host the annual Panthers barbeque, much to Eric’s chagrin.

 

We also learned how quickly a town can turn on a team after just one loss. Seeing those “For Sale” signs in the coach’s front lawn never gets old. That happened in the movie, “Friday Night Lights” as well, so I assume people actually take the time do that in towns were high school football is taken that seriously. I’d love to hear from any Texas readers to confirm if that really happens.

 

The other thing we learned is that football is a tough, painful “What have you done for me lately,” type of game. Despite Matt Saracen leading the Panthers to a state title just two seasons ago and the fact that he’s a senior, everyone wants to replace him with the freshman because they think he can handle the spread offense better, which is what the town thinks they should run against their upcoming opponent Arnett Meade. The craziest thing about this is Dillon was 2-0 heading into this game! It’s not like they lost their first two games. Thank goodness coach Taylor has his head screwed on straight and remained the voice of reason during this ridiculous quarterback controversy. He’s a loyal guy and he knows it makes the most sense to stick with guy who has gotten him this far.

 

Overall, I thought this episode was good. I especially enjoyed everything that went on between Eric and Tami. The football stuff is great, but their relationship is the heartbeat of the show. I also loved the final scene between Smash and his mom. I was happy to see a little more game action this time than we got last week. The only thing I didn’t really enjoy about the episode was the storyline with Tim and his brother stealing the copper wire. It didn’t really fit with the rest of the episode, and I hated Tim’s decision making during the whole ordeal. Other than that, I felt this was a strong episode. This season has gotten off to a much stronger start than last year with the awkward Landry-Tyra murder storyline.

 

Here are few quick hit thoughts on the rest of the episode:

 

*The best storyline by a long shot was the tension between Eric and Tami surrounding the team BBQ. The both had a point about who should be playing host. Tami has a school to run now, she really doesn’t have time to clean the house and shop for 20 racks of ribs; especially since Eric isn’t a big help in the process. On the flip side, I understood Eric’s concern about letting the McCoy’s host the barbeque. He was simply concerned that they (well, specifically Joe) would want something in return like…hmmm…let’s say his son be the Panthers’ starting quarterback.

 

After their argument, it did feel like Eric did get the short end of the stick by letting the McCoy’s play host. I enjoyed watching him openly show he wasn’t having a good time; I thought it was great that he didn’t even let the valet park his car. Then, the poor guy just wanted to shoot some pool by himself, and here came Buddy, Joe and J.D.’s personal coach, Wade to “just talk football.” Of course “talking football” turned into grilling Eric about his strategy for Friday’s game. I have to give Eric credit for sticking to his guns, and reminding everyone that he’s the head coach and that in time, he’d get to know J.D.

 

One of my favorite lines/exchanges came from this storyline as well. I loved when Eric admitted to Tami that he missed, “the coach’s wife.” Then she throws this beauty at him, “You know who I can’t wait to meet? The principal’s husband.” Great line, great show. It’ll be interesting to see how this power struggle between the two of them affects their marriage.

 

*Watching Smash work his way back into playing form has been one of the best story arcs of this young season. I’m impressed with how mature and selfless he’s become. I never thought he’d consider giving up his dream of playing college football for a career at the Alamo Freeze, but that’s exactly what he did when he found his mom was taking a second job to pay for his college tuition if he gets into A&M.

 

But, in one of the most touching scenes in this show’s short history, she said there was no way he was passing up on this opportunity. I’m not sure why I was so moved by this scene; I guess I just think it’s so great to see how much Corrina loves her son. I loved her line about how Smash would pay her back by graduating and how she wouldn’t mind watching him play football again. Here’s hoping his tryout goes well next week.

 

*As I mentioned before, the only thing I didn’t like about this episode was Billy and Tim stealing copper wire. There was nothing I liked about this storyline. Especially how Billy kept pressuring Tim to help him, lying the “I’m your brother” guilt on him. I think what made me dislike this scenario the most was it forced Tim to stand up Lyla, which Tim tried to explain to Billy. You’d think Billy, who was stealing this stuff to set up a better life for his fiancé, would understand Tim wanting to do right by Lyla. No dice, however as Billy was only interested in helping himself. I’m just happy they didn’t get caught.

 

I thought this might have been the point where Lyla’s patience with Tim finally expired. I was shocked that she gave him another chance; just so long as he doesn’t make a fool out of her. Part of me wants to believe Tim will keep his promise; but the other part of me thinks along the lines of Buddy; that he’s no good and will break her heart. I hope Buddy and I are wrong.

 

*It’s been great watching Matt and Julie reconnect. There was nothing worse than watching Julie become such a brat last year. She has been much more bearable this year. And with Matt hearing J.D.’s footsteps everywhere he goes, he could really use a good friend like Julie in his life. I thought it was incredibly sweet of her to wait for him after the game. I know he wanted to be by himself, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone to talk to after a tough game like that. It’ll be interesting to see if these two get back together.

 

*Last, but not least, we can’t forget about the game. The Panthers lost a tough one to rival Arnett Mead, 21-17.  Saracen played his heart out in this one, but I’m sure that the town is still going to be screaming for a change at QB. That’s just a guess. We know for sure that the Dillon faithful wants a new coach, as seen by all of the “For Sale” signs in the Taylors’ front lawn. I mean he’s only been to the playoffs both years he’s been the head coach and won a state title, but who cares about the past right? I think it’s safe to say coach Taylor needs to win the next game in the worst way.

 

Well, that wraps up another week for our favorite fictional football team. What did you think of the episode? Do you think Smash will get into college? Will Eric cave to the pressure and replace Matt with J.D.? Will Riggins ever get his stuff together? Feel free to comment below!

 

Have a comment, question or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights Recap: “Tami Knows Best”

In Friday Night Lights on January 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Hello Dillon Panther Fans!

 

I apologize for the tardy recap. I was out of town last weekend and didn’t get to re-watch the show until Monday night.

 

So, although the episode was titled, “Tami Knows Best,” the mayor of Dillon and the boosters would say that’s a big ol’ Texas-sized lie. After watching this show, the movie it was based of off, as well as the film, “Varsity Blues” and reading the book that started it all, “Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream,” I thought I knew how big of a deal high school football was in Texas. It turns out, I didn’t know how big it was until watching this episode. The fact that the boosters and the mayor are down Tami’s throat because she decided to use their precious Jumbotron money for education said it all. You would have thought she shut down the football program by how upset they were.

 

Overall, I thought this was another solid episode. Some of the storylines were stronger than others, but the weaker ones didn’t kill the episode. I am thoroughly enjoying watching Smash work his way back to being a college-level running back. The other two good stories from Friday were of course Tami and her battle with the boosters and Matt trying to figure out a way to keep his grandmother healthy. On the flip side, Tyra’s quest for class presidency was pretty silly and Riggins freezing up at dinner was just odd.

 

Here’s a closer look at what happened in the season’s second episode….

 

Will Smash return to form?

 

This is probably the most interesting story of the season so far. Watching Smash, who was so cocky and brash for the first two seasons, suddenly become timid and vulnerable has been a real treat. I love that writers went in this direction and humbled him a bit. I also like the one-on-one time he’s gotten with Coach Taylor. We’ve gotten to see some of their best scenes together since he discovered Smash was doing steroids. And I have to give Coach kudos for not giving up on Smash, no matter how many times the kid wants to give up on himself. I loved the scrimmage he set up for Smash with the guys. My heart stopped for a second when he went down, but when he got back and up and said, “That’s six!” I knew Smash was back.

 

And how great was it when Coach finally got a call from a college (Texas A&M) that was willing to give Smash a walk-on tryout? I loved that he went to Smash’s house to deliver the news rather than just call him, and the cheering that came from the Williams’ house was one of the most uplifting and triumphant moments of the series. The look on Coach’s face was priceless as well. Now all Smash has to do is wow them at his tryout.

 

Tami vs. The Boosters, Round 1

 

Like I said before, it’s insanity the fuss that’s going on over this Jumbrotron. I felt for Tami because she’s only doing what she feels is best for the whole school, not just the football program. I was floored when Buddy told her that he and the boosters went over her head to the superintendent and were able to freeze the funds until there was a hearing. The superintendent is OK with the idea of using that money to put a big scoreboard on the football field instead of buying new textbooks and supplies. What planet is this? It’s Planet Dillon, TX I guess.

 

I also felt for Eric last night too, as he is caught in the middle of this. He wants to support his wife, but as football coach he knows in the back of his mind Tami might have crossed the line. He knows how the boosters think, and how seriously they take their football. He even admitted that people might call her decision, “questionable.” I loved how when the newspaper article broke about Tami shaking things up, Eric just said, “I’ll get more wine.” Here’s hoping this mess doesn’t affect Eric and Tami personally.

 

Matt Saracen: Quarterback, Student….Legal guardian?

 

Wow, Matt can’t catch a break, can he? I’m sure all the kid wants to do is play football and get through is senior year, you know like a normal 17-year-old would. Unfortunately because of his unusual family situation, he has to play caretaker for his grandmother.

 

Since Grandma Saracen has developed an aversion to taking her medicine, it’s up to Matt to get her to take it. Too bad for him, Lorraine’s doctor can’t give Matt the meds legally, so he has to become an emancipated minor in order to be his grandmother’s legal guardian. Something every high school senior wants added to his or her plate.

 

This is where Matt’s storyline got interesting. With his dad in Iraq, Matt’s forced to reconnect with his estranged mom, Shelby. Turns out, she left home a long time ago. To say their reunion was awkward would be a big understatement. I thought Matt was a little cold to her, but I guess I can’t really blame him since she walked out on him all those years ago. I hope we haven’t seen the last of her; I think watching Matt and her try to have a relationship again would be very interesting.

 

Tyra for President, Yes she can!

 

I felt Tyra’s campaign was one of the two bizarre storylines of the episode. It was silly and didn’t have much to do with anything. I was mildly entertained that she had some of her sister’s, ahem, dancer friends drawing people to her rally. And her speech to the school was just preposterous. I couldn’t blame Tami for being so mad at Tyra for the way she went about winning the election. My guess is the vice principal, Mr. Truck’s, original punishment, a three-day suspension would have hurt Tyra a lot less than Tami’s disapproval speech.

 

Tim Riggins, high society man?

 

Not likely. I felt this was the other less than stellar storyline. It wasn’t bad, just bizarre. I was with Tim, it felt like Lyla was trying to change him when she dragged him to that dinner with Buddy and the McCoy’s. Riggins in a jacket and tie? I loved Tyra’s reaction when she saw him in that outfit, “Who died?”

 

Anyway, Lyla’s heart was in the right place; rubbing elbows with Joe McCoy, and Oklahoma alum, probably would have been good for his future. I just don’t think that setting was right for him. I was very surprised how strange and uncomfortable he was at dinner though. Riggins struck me as the kind of guy who could handle any situation. I’m not sure if he was rattled by the pre-dinner tongue lashing Buddy gave him, or if he was so put off by the whole situation, but he was a stammering mess. I can only imagine how bad that rare squab (pigeon) must have tasted.

 

While I didn’t really care for this story, I did like the way it was handled. Rather than make us sit through another five to 10 minutes of an uncomfortable dinner, we got the recap from Tim and Lyla’s car ride home. They were able to fill in the blanks, and it sounded like things didn’t get much better. I thought it might have been curtains for them after their fight, but Lyla the sweetheart that she is brought Tim a hamburger and they made up. I could only imagine what was going through Lyla’s mind when she got to the Riggins’ house and saw Tim sitting on the couch with Tyra without any pants. Thankfully, she didn’t panic; turns out Tyra was just there waiting for her sister Mindy to finish, “getting together” with Tim’s brother, Billy.

 

The Game

 

Not much to say here, as we only got a few seconds of game action. Dillon whooped Laribee, 49-0. So much for the team not being able to score points without Smash, huh?

 

So, after two episodes, has “Friday Night Lights’ been everything you hoped it would be be? Will the booster get their Jumbotron, or will Dillon High get the much needed school supplies and additional teachers? Will Smash get into Texas A&M? How will Matt handle guardianship of his grandmother? Feel free to comment below!

 

Got a question, comment or criticism for Joe? Contact him at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

Friday Night Lights recap: “I Knew You When”

In Friday Night Lights on January 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Welcome back, Dillon Panther fans!

 

Last night, NBC began its season three run of “Friday Night Lights.” I have DirecTV, so I’ve seen the entire season already, but I didn’t start this blog until there were about four episodes left in Season Three. So, I’m going to write recaps about the first nine episodes. That’s right, I like this show so much I’m going to watch it again during NBC’s run. Also, I will do my best to write these recaps like I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I don’t spoil anything for those who haven’t seen this season’s episodes yet. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, whatever you do, don’t read my recaps titled, “The Giving Tree,” “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “Underdogs” or “Tomorrow Blues.” Those are recaps of future episodes.

 

Now, let’s get back to business. Last night’s episode began season three and picked up with a new football season. We find out that last season ended without a return to the state finals, mainly because the team’s biggest offensive weapon, Smash Williams got hurt. This season, Smash has graduated, and its up to senior quarterback and newly appointed tailback Tim Riggins to pick up the slack. Will they be able to do it? I guess we’ll find out….

 

Coach Taylor’s on the hot seat

 

The town of Dillon is not so sure about Eric’s coaching despite being one year removed from a state title. He took the brunt of the blame for last year’s playoff collapse because he didn’t have a backup plan after Smash got injured. Now he’s burdened with questions about whether Riggins can effectively take over for Smash and if the new freshman phenom quarterback J.D. McCoy will replace Matt Saracen. It’s all is a day’s work, right coach?

 

There’s a new sheriff in town, and her name is Tami

 

That’s right, folks. Tami has been promoted to principal of Dillon High. When “FNL” creator Peter Berg asked Connie Britton to be on the show to reprise her role from the movie, he promised her more to do this time around. He wasn’t kidding. She quickly went from “Coach’s wife” to guidance counselor at the school to principal. Not a bad turn of events for her I’d say. But Tami learned quickly that heavy lies the crown. She’s now stuck with trying to figure out how to pull Dillon High out of its economic crisis. That sounds eerily familiar to what’s going on in real life, doesn’t it?

 

Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity: Secret Lovers

 

Last year’s season finale was titled, “May the Best Man Win.” Well, it looks like Tim won as we saw him having a sleepover at Lyla’s house unbeknownst to her father, Buddy. It looks like these two had quite a summer together, but once they get back to school, she’s decided she wants to keep it hush-hush. I guess I can’t blame, she’s right about Tim: he drinks constantly, skips out on class, has rally girls do his homework, why should she take him seriously? It’s like Tim’s brother, Billy said to him, “She went to bed with Jesus and woke with…you. You’re a rebound from Jesus.”

 

By episode’s end though, Lyla must have seen some potential in Tim, at least enough to give him a big kiss in front of everyone at the Pathers’ post-game rally, much to Buddy’s chagrin.

 

No college for Tyra?

 

Ah poor Tyra. After goofing off for a better part of her high school, career she learns point blank that her college prospects are bleak. Despite cranking it up and improving her grades, her current GPA was a pedestrian 2.6. The vice principal told her point blank that state schools were a pipe dream and she should be “realistic” about her post-high school plans. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the way he went about explaining Tyra’s situation to her. On the one hand, he was just being honest. Why build up her hopes only for her to end up disappointed? On the flip side, I can’t help but feel as an educator, he’d want to encourage Tyra and make her feel if she continued to work hard, who knows what could happen. Thank goodness there’s Tami to do that. I’m glad Tyra realized she’s better off at least trying to get into college rather than end up like her sister Mindy who earns her living dancing for dollars (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and marrying a slob like Billy Riggins. After realizing this, she probably could have waited until the next school day to talk to Tami about this rather than waking her up in the middle of the night, but whatever works.

 

Will Smash bounce back?

 

After Smash’s devastating knee injury last season, we see him working with Eric to get back to his old self in hopes of landing a football scholarship somewhere since Whitmore took back its offer. After finding out from the doctor that his knee might be as good as its ever going to get, he decides he’s going to give up. That really surprised me since all Smash wanted to do since the series began is play college football. It seemed out of character for him to be discouraged so easily. Fortunately, Coach wasn’t willing to give up as easily, and told him he’d keep working with him. We’ll have to wait to see if Smash takes him up on his offer. Hopefully he will because as Eric put it, “I need something good to happen.”

 

The Jumbotron

 

One of my favorite characters on this show is Buddy Garrity and last night is one of the reason why I like him so much. Despite Dillon High’s financial woes, he presents Tami with a huge check from the boosters to purchase a Jumbotron for the football field. He just cracks me up with how short-sighted he can be sometimes. Never mind the four teachers who quit or the fact that Tami was forced to decide between buying soap or chalk because the school couldn’t afford both, what Dillon needs is a Jumbotron!

 

I have to be honest, I was very surprised that Tami so brazenly decided to go against the boosters wishes and use the money for school funding. She made the right choice of course, but I don’t’ think the boosters are going to see it that way. There’s nothing Dillon, TX loves more than its high school football. She might be fighting an uphill battle on this one. Of course what will make this interesting is what side Eric is on in all of this. Does he back his wife or side with the boosters as they’re the ones that back him and his boys?

 

The Game

 

Well, I guess the Panthers are going to be OK, aren’t they? Geez, all that panic about losing Smash seemed like it was for nothing as Dillon mopped the floor with South Pines, 44-13. Hopefully the critics were silenced after the performances Saracen and Riggins put up.

 

I have to say, Matt may have a right to be concerned about his job security as QB1. Freshman phenom, J.D. McCoy looked pretty good in garbage time, didn’t he? The look on Matt’s face (and his grandmother’s) said it all.

 

My only complaint about the game was why was Coach Taylor still calling passing plays when they were up, 38-13? He doesn’t seem like the kind of coach who would run up the score, does he? Wasn’t he the same coach who had the defense let South Pines score a TD last season so they wouldn’t be shut out?

 

Overall, I felt Season Three of “Friday Night Lights” is off to a good start. Last night’s episode was solid. I especially liked the interactions with Coach and Smash and Tami dealing with her new position. I’m not too keen on the father of the whiz kid J.D., Joe McCoy. Who offers a coach Cuban cigars and a bottle of scotch unless they want something in return? His kid is a freshman for crying out loud! He’ll have three more seasons to lead Dillon to state titles. I did get a kick out him sending a smoothie truck to the field though. It was just ridiculous enough to be funny.

 

Whew, so that’s enough writing for one episode. I’d love to hear what you all thought of the premiere. How happy are you that the show is back? Will Matt lose his job at QB, will Smash and Tyra get into college? Will Hermann Field get a Jumbotron? And where the heck is Jason Street? Feel free to comment below!

 

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

Friday Night Lights recap: “Tomorrow Blues”

In Friday Night Lights on January 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Hello Dillon Panther fans!

On Wednesday DirecTV’s 101 Network finished its Season Three run of “Friday Night Lights” with the season finale, “Tomorrow Blues.” I for one was very grateful for DirecTV pitching to keep this fantastic show alive. I also enjoyed watching these episodes without having to sit through commerical breaks. And as much as I hated seeing a shortened season (13 episodes), I think that number of episodes worked perfectly. Since this show deals with the high school football season, there’s no need to worry about what stories to tell during the offseason with only 13 episodes. If the show is brought back (fingers crossed!), I wouldn’t be surprised it there’s another 13 episode run.

As for the season finale itself, what else can I say besides it was excellent.  Even without any game play, there were plenty of stories that kept us in suspense, mainly Coach Taylor’s future with the team. We also spent the hour wondering if Tyra would get into college and if Lyla would stick with her plan of going to San Antonio State with Tim or attend her dream school Vanderbilt courtesy of funding from Buddy’s less-than-beloved brother, Gary.

Let’s take a look at what happended, shall we?…

Coach Taylor, thanks for the memories.

Wow, football really is a, “What have you done for me lately” type of business, isn’t it? Despite leading Dillon to three straight playoff appearences, which included a state championship and another state finals appearance, Eric was shown the door to make room J.D. McCoy’s personal quarterback coach, Wade Aikman. Did anyone find this as ridiculous as I did? I guess money talks, as the board felt they’d rather have Joe McCoy’s financial backing amongst the boosters than Coach Taylor’s coaching experience.

I think what surprised me the most about the situation was when Joe was more or less threatening to have Eric fired, one of his demands that J.D. would be the starting quarterback next season. Was there any doubt he would be? The kid led the team to the state finals (although he was pulled), was named the high school player of the year and Saracen was graduating. Of course, he was going to start at QB next year. Joe’s other demand is probably what more so made Eric tell Joe to “stick it.” He wanted Wade to call the plays, which would make Eric’s current  offensive coordinator, Mac obsolete. I was happy that Eric stuck to his guns and told Joe he knew what he could do with his “opportunity,” even if it did cost him his job.

I liked that Coach did the right thing and showed up at the board meeting to defend himself. His speech was short and sweet, but true: “If you want to replace me with a guywith a lot money whose son has a rocket of arm, you are wrong. You are dead wrong.” I was paraphrasing, but you get the idea. And who knows, maybe by him showing up, it helped him land his new gig: as head coach of the East Dillon Panthers. I wonder if I could place a bet somewhere that next season, East Dillon will face Dillon in a crucial winner-take-all matchup. It’s just a hunch, that’s all.

Tyra’s going to be a Longhorn!

After what seemed to be an uphill battle a season and a half, Tyra battled her way into not only college, but a good one, Texas U. It’s funny how when this show started, she was more or less a fringe character, but now she’s front and center and a wonderful part in this cast. When she opened her acceptance letter, I felt that was one of the most triumphant moments in the show, maybe the most triumphant since Smash dove into the end zone to win the state title in the Season One finale, “State.”

With this storyline, came a great pep talk, or maybe it was more of a venting session from Landry. After Tyra stormed the Texas admissions office begging for a slot on the freshman call sheet and found out she had a one in a thousand shot of getting off of the wait list, she really began feeling sorry for herself. Thankfully, Landry, the voice of reason, finally got out of the car because he couldn’t take her whining anymore. Basically he told her she can be anything she wants to be and needs to believe in herself. I can’t help but wonder what will happen with these two, who make a good couple. They bring out the best in each other. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall where Landry said he’s going to school

Lyla and Riggins part ways

Well, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tim and Lyla were going to San Antonio State together in the fall. As it turns out, Buddy may have found a way for his fisrt-born to go to Vanderbilt after all. It seems like he’s willing to swallow his pride and his brother for the money. Which begs the question, why didn’t Buddy think of this weeks ago when Lyla moved out because she was so mad that he blew her college fund? Wouldn’t that have saved everyone a lot of heartache and aggrevation? The answer is yes, but of course that would not have made for great drama. As great as “FNL” is, it is still a TV show.

To add more drama, Lyla had the ultimate decision to make: go to SAS with Riggins, or attend her dream college? She predictably decided to stand by her man and go to the lesser school. But Tim unpredictiably wouldn’t let her do it. He didn’t want to be “that guy” that asks his girlfriend to stay only to resent him for it later. I have to say that Tim has really grown from the slacker who only loved girls and football in the beginning of the series.  He really has become quite wise, even if he almost decided not go to college. Thank goodness his brother Billy told him he had to go to college if for nothing else to show his future niece or nephew, or maybe even his own kids that anything is possible if you go to college. That was a very touching moment between the Riggins Bros. Speaking of bad decisions…

Matt’s staying in Dillon?

Last week we learned out of nowhere that Matt was an incredible artist, which got him into the Art Institute in Chicago. Everything looked like it was set up for him to head up to the Windy City. He and his mother were packing up the house so Grandma Saracen could make her way to a retirement community. But then he pulls a 180 and decides to take his grandmother out of there and that he’s not going anywhere. Huh?

I understand Matt feels he owes his grandmother because she’s the only person who never left him. And that he didn’t want to break up with Julie, I get it. But I just don’t buy him giving all of that up, even though it’s something his character would do. I guess I was more suprised that his grandmother didn’t give him the same “Go” speech that Tim gave to Lyla. I can’t wait to see what Matt’s doing with himself next season. I’m hoping after he and Grandma danced, she talked some sense into him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working at the Alamo Freeze in the Season Four premiere (fingers crossed!).

What happens now?

With Riggins, Lyla, Landry (?) and Tyra all headed of to college and Coach Taylor taking over a new team, our beloved show will have a new look next year. I have to give Jason Katims, writer of this excellent episode, credit. The episode ending the way it did (with Eric and Tami standing in the center of the poor-looking East Dillon field looking around) made it a perfect season or series finale. I’m hoping for the former, but if it does end with this episode, at least we know what happened to all of our favorite characters. But I’m not ready for this show to be finished. So, please cross your fingers along with me that “Friday Night Lights” gets renewed!

Oh, and two random notes because I didn’t know where else to put them:

*I loved the cowboy hats Billy and his groomsmen wore during the wedding

*How nice of the Eric and Tami to buy Julie her first car.

What did you think of this episode, and this season as a whole? Do you think it will come back for a fourth season? Feel free to comment below!

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

 

 

 

Friday Night Lights recap: “Underdogs”

In Friday Night Lights on January 9, 2009 at 3:45 am

Hello Dillon Panther fans! Last night we to see what we’ve been looking forward to all season, the State Championship game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the ending we were looking for. Wow, what a heartbreaker of a game. Well, the Brooklyn Dodgers said it best, wait ‘til next year.

 

Off the gridiron, the Taylors did what they thought was best regarding the McCoy Family, Lyla reluctantly moved back in with her dad, Matt saw some light at the end of the tunnel otherwise known as searching for colleges and Tyra and Landry came through for one another in major ways. Here’s how it happened….

 

The Game

 

Usually, I save the game paragraph for last, but why bury the lead?  I thought for sure that after getting knocked out of the playoffs last year, Dillon would rebound and win the title this season. What a great plot twist to have them lose on a last second field goal. I was concerned when they were down 27-0 at halftime because I thought we were going the game play out the same way the title game did in Season One. You know, big halftime deficit, which they over come punctuated by a last second game-winning touchdown. I believe in the Season One title game, they were down 26-0 at halftime.

 

I hated to see the Panthers lose, but I was glad that we were given a less predictable ending. I mean, a 27-0 deficit screamed for a 28-27 come-from-behind win. But when Dillon scored the go-ahead TD with about a minute and a half left, I thought to myself, “Wow, they’re actually going to have to defend a lead.” And as South Texas booted that field goal at the gun, I was rooting for the ball to sail wide, but alas it split the uprights and Dillon is now in a two-year title drought.

 

My favorite part of the game was that Saracen got to go back to playing quarterback. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t live in Dillon, because would have been one of the few who thought he should have kept the job in the first place. I was stunned when coach Taylor took the job away from Matt, a senior who led the team to a state title, and gave it away to a freshman who while talented, hadn’t proved anything yet. When J.D. was throwing the game away (more on him in a second), I kept thinking to myself, “Put Saracen in, Coach!” I cheered when he did, and what do you know, the grizzled veteran led Dillon to an improbable comeback. If only the defense could have held on for another 90 seconds.

 

I also loved coach Taylor’s postgame speech, and the fact that he asked the players’ family and friends to be there when he addressed the team. I’m not sure the crazed town of Dillon will be so pleased with the loss, but his words were touching. Speaking of touching, I liked Riggins’ last moment; leaving his cleats on the field.

 

As for J.D., could he have picked a worse game to melt down in? Holy cow he was bad. I know he had other stuff on his mind, but he couldn’t get out of his own way. I found it interesting that he kept yelling at his offensive line (never a good idea for a QB to do that) to “protect” him. He kept using that word, “protect.” It sounded like a cry for help from what was going on in his home life. I’m probably just reading too much into it, but I just thought his choice of words was noteworthy. Speaking of the McCoys….

 

The Taylors vs. The McCoys

 

As tough as a choice as it was for Eric and Tami, they had to report Joe to the authorities. He whaled on his son for crying out loud. Who know how much worse it would have been if Eric didn’t run out there to break it up? It’s just too bad that all this had to happen before the biggest game of J.D.’s life (so far). Although the Taylors made the right decision, I thought the McCoys reactions to the Taylors was pretty realistic and honest. Obviously what Joe did was wrong, but they would have preferred to have kept the matter in-house.

 

While I enjoyed Katie’s tongue-lashing towards Tami, I really, really liked Joe and Eric’s confrontation. I just liked his ice cold demeanor when he was talking to Eric while the team was boarding the bus. Even with the sunshades on, you could tell Joe’s eyes were burning. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the season finale. I have a feeling it’s not over. Especially since Eric lost the big game and Joe’s one of the team’s biggest boosters. And if Eric does survive the chopping block, he and J.D. have three more years together. Interesting times…

 

The Saracens

 

So Matt likes to draw, who knew? Maybe everyone did, and I just hadn’t been paying attention. It was great to see one these players find an avenue to college that didn’t involve football. It’s too bad he has to move so far away (Chicago), since he’s got a good thing going with Julie (she looked heartbroken when they were looking at his sketches) and his grandmother will be lost without him. I love Grandma Saracen, but I was disappointed in how selfish she was towards Matt. I know he’s been her saving grace, but she had to know he was going to leave eventually. I was happy she came around at the end and realized she couldn’t and wouldn’t hold him back from doing something that made him happy. I thought it was a great and touching moment when Julie realized the same thing at the same time and they grasped each other’s hand. The little nuances like that are what make “Friday Night Lights” such a good show.

 

The Garritys

 

Not much to say here except Lyla’s moving back in with Buddy and it looks like she’s going to San Antonio State with Riggins. I’m sure Buddy doesn’t like that, but he’s got no one to blame but himself. If he hadn’t squandered her college fund, she’d be far away from Tim at Vanderbilt. I was happy that Lyla decided to forgive her dad, but I feel the only reason she did it was because she didn’t want to live at the Riggins’ house anymore. I was surprised she lasted in that frat house as long as she did. What a hilarious scene it was when Billy walked in on Lyla using the bathroom. I honestly thought he said he’d go in the sink to prove how badly he had to go, but nope, he went in the sink. I hope no one washes any dishes in there anytime soon. I also got a kick out of Lyla using coffee filters as a toilet seat cover.

 

Tyra and Landry

 

And finally we get to one of TV’s most unlikely, but most adored couples. Landry, forever loyal to Tyra was helping her with her college essay, which from the sounds of it really needed some help. But after several tries and finally opening up about what makes her tick, Tyra came up with one heck of an essay. It was phenomenal actually. I was surprised that the initial reason she changed her outlook on life was because of what happened to Jason Street. She’s right though, bad things happen to everyone.

 

So, in exchange for helping Tyra with her college essay, she gave Landry a ride to the championship game. It seems Landry had a little too much to drink at the party the night before. Honestly, I didn’t buy this at all. Landry learns he’s actually going to play in the state finals, and he decides to get drunk the night before? Way out of character for him, even if he was bummed that Tyra wasn’t going to make the game. And what about his teammates? None of them thought to get him home? That was my only nitpick of the show. Otherwise, I though the episode was very good. Anyway, back to Landry and Tyra. It was great to see them help each other out; Tyra owes Landry a ton of favors, so it made sense that he cash one of them in for a ride to Austin. And it looks like they’re going to get back together from that smooch. I guess time will tell.

 

So, what did you all think of the show? Did you like that the writers switched gears and had the Panthers lose the big game? Do you think Coach will be able to hold on to his job? Who’s going and who’s staying after graduation. Feel free to comment below!

 

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

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.