Joe Dyton

Posts Tagged ‘Matt Saracen’

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!

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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