Joe Dyton

Posts Tagged ‘Riggins’

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: “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