Thursday, January 25, 2007

"If we don't change this tire ourselves, we're doomed.": Friday Night Lights

Spoilers for Wednesday's episode within, though if you read the episode title, you'll know how the episode ends anyway.

Okay. When I reviewed the pilot, I said that Minka Kelly was "perfect." Now I'm not so sure that's the case anymore. Of the mostly untested cast, she's probably the greenest, but I still like a lot of what she does, especially when she stares all doe-eyed at Scott Porter and tries to get him to love her (or propose to her). Saddling her with the love triangle storyline probably wasn't in her best interest, but Kelly is playing a very specific small town type, and she's doing fairly well with it -- she's the brilliant, beautiful girl who ties her life to a local boy and can't see any other way of operating when there's a whole world out there that would be perfectly content to have her in it.

Lots of stuff to comment on in tonight's episode, up to and including Smash's steroid use being outed by his mother. I like that Coach Taylor weighed Smash's offense against what kicking him off the football team would do to his life plan and gave him another shot, but is there any way this would happen in the real world? I get that Coach Taylor's a good -- nay, GREAT -- guy, but he's putting essentially his entire life and the life of his wife and daughter on the line to protect one stupid high school kid. I admire him for making the tough choice, but I don't see how this would never come out (and it almost HAS to never come out if the show is going to continue with Kyle Chandler as the lead).

While the long streak of "too close to call!" games has gotten a little too much (the show is resolutely marching through every single "we won at the last moment!" story point), it was nice to see that Matt Saracen had a good idea for how to win the game and that his good idea was still the sort of idea someone who hasn't been designing plays his whole life would think of -- the coach and assistant coach pointed out the flaw in his reasoning right away, but knew that it could work if he was precise. He was, so the team won.

It's weird that I have always criticized One Tree Hill for having its characters get hitched and divorced and such while in high school, while I felt that Lyla and Jason getting engaged was a pretty realistic plot twist, but this is, again, the sort of thing that happens to high school sweethearts in small towns all the time. This is an awful, awful idea, and I can't imagine it going forward (unless they want to up the depression in season two -- which would always be fun), but it was nice of the show to have the guts to go there.

All in all, this was a good episode -- even the Tyra storyline (she often feels tacked on, but at least she had some real emotions to play tonight instead of tacked-on ones). Buddy Garrity continues to be the worst-written character on the show, but his relationship with Lyla humanizes him enough to make him not completely unrealistic (though I don't think I need to see him sleep with Tyra's mom). And Julie continues to be the best daughter in the history of television.

So what did you think?


David Sims said...

Honestly, if Smash kicked the junk now, would it really come out? (although I assume it will for the reasons you pointed out). It's not like he was screened during the games he played when he was on the stuff, so it wouldn't be that hard to keep under wraps.

Anyway I liked the episode. I love Tyra (actress/character) so I accept the slightly tacked-on nature of her character. It's nice to have a totally non-football plot anyway.

And I totally bought the Street/Lyla proposal thing. Especially considering his situation, and like you said, it just doesn't seem uncommon for high school sweethearts to get hitched.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Having lived in small towns for most of my life, I just have the inclination that everything comes out.

Then again, if it does come out, it's a story-ruiner, so maybe Smash and Coach will make a blood oath or something.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Also, I completely forgot lesbian mayor. Sort of odd, out of nowhere, completely apropos.