Joe Dyton

Posts Tagged ‘Coach Taylor’

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.

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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: “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.

“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