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Friday Night Lights: Humble Pie

by Brett Love, posted Jan 26th 2008 9:28AM

Friday Night Lights - Brea Grant as Jean

(S02E13) Oddly enough, the thing I found foremost in my mind after this latest FNL installment was Seinfeld. More specifically, "The Bizarro Jerry." Not that the FNL writers went all nutty and decided to try their hands at comedy. They did, however, present us with a lot of characters that were in the opposite position of where we are accustomed to seeing them. For the most part, it worked very well. The episode was not without its issues though.

So, in no particular order, we'll begin with Bizarro Tyra. Not only do we see Tyra joining up with the volleyball team, which is rather out of character, but we also see her on the opposite side of the relationship with Landry. Despite my issues with the murder story, I really like the possibilities here. The new girl, Jean (Brea Grant), is a welcome addition, and the scenes between her and Landry were all very good. The CD scene at the restaurant, with Saracen and Riggins cackling away in the background, was my favorite of the bunch.

Frankly, the way they have forced everything about Tyra/Landry this season, I have to believe there is more to come for the two of them. That's not necessarily bad. Jean, and the newly inspired jealousy in Tyra at least offers a new angle. And it is an angle that rings much truer than what we saw earlier in the season.

Getting back to the volleyball, that brings us Bizarro Tami taking on the coaching role, while Bizarro Eric cheers her on. I was kind of up and down on the whole volleyball angle. As soon as Eric suggested the idea, my initial reaction was, "Hold on now. Didn't we just go through how Tami was ready to quit her job because she didn't have enough time for everything?" They did manage to diffuse that somewhat with Eric's announcement that it would only be for a few weeks.

I also felt that they overplayed just how bad the girls were. No coach, not even the wife of the great Coach Taylor, is going to take a group of girls from scared of the ball to winning team in just a few days. The winning end was mitigated somewhat as one of the players snuck in the comment that the opponent's best player was out. Having Riggins hanging around, still helping out as part of Eric's punishment, was a good bit of continuity. Although, having him be the inspiration for Tyra's anger seems a little misguided at this point. So, it was hit and miss and I didn't hate it. On the other hand, I couldn't help thinking as the game went on that we could really be watching some football.

In other bizarro goings on, we find Billy doing something reckless while little brother Tim is the voice of reason. As reasoned as you can be when you decide to pay the money you stole from your not-so-friendly neighborhood meth dealer anyway. This one is not a huge stretch I suppose, as we've seen both of the Riggins boys demonstrate great ability at poor decision making, but it did still feel a little opposite.

I have to say, I was worried for Billy there. As it all played out, there seemed to be the very real possibility that we were going to see Tim's world rocked just a little more. I think I was actually more surprised that Guy didn't shoot Billy than I would have been if he had. I'm glad it played out that way. Tim has had a rough run of it this season and killing his brother would really seem to be piling on. I think he's due for a run of smooth sailing.

Of course, it doesn't look like that smooth sailing is going to have much to do with Lyla. Tonight didn't really bring us the bizarro Lyla, but she's kind of in the middle of a bizarro season, so we'll go with it. I find myself believing her little speech on the Riggins doorstep that she isn't coming back. Maybe this whole change is for real and she has moved past all of that. At the same time though, something about her new pal Chris just rubs me the wrong way. I suspect that he's not set to be with Lyla for the long haul either. Also, was I the only one questioning where the $3000 came from? Christian Teen Radio can't pay that well.

After weeks of waiting, we finally get a nice update on our old pal Street. His character was more what we expect than many of the others. I did think that his role in the Herc/Street dynamic was quite different though. Gone are the days where Herc always held the upper hand and Street looked up to him as a mentor. The two are clearly peers now, and that's nice to see.

Nicer than the new job down at Garrity Motors. While it did offer up a couple of nice scenes, I can't see this being the answer for what Street is looking for. Ultimately, he's going to have to get out of Dillon. All of those same things that chased him away from coaching will make their way into selling cars. Speaking of selling cars, that had to be the most annoying thing in the episode. Not Street getting Gerald into a new hybrid. Rather, NBC whoring their show out to Chevy.

I'm well aware that advertising fuels the network engine. Given that, I'm OK with product placement, promotional consideration announcements, and the like. Hell, I'm even willing to overlook the fact that Garrity Motors changes makes on the whim of whatever automotive advertisers NBC can drum up. That said, their little flashback/commercial for the new Tahoe hybrid crossed the line. It's a fuzzy line, and I'm not sure just where it is in the sand exactly, but that was over it.

And finally, Smash. This was certainly not an example of Bizarro Dillon. Everything about this was exactly the Smash we have come to know over the last two seasons. He went along with being pressured into the apology because it seemed to be the path that would get him where he needed to be. But when push comes to shove, you just knew he wouldn't be able to hold back. The final scene with Mrs. Williams, Coach Taylor, and Smash was outstanding. His coming to the realization that despite the fact that he told the truth, he only made things worse for himself was sad, but rang true.

I was actually a little surprised to learn that there are only three regular season games left in the season. The question now becomes whether or not Smash will play in any of those. And I suppose there is the question of whether or not we will ever get to see how they play out. My guess is that the suspension won't stick. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to find out.

And there we have it. All in all, a very good episode. The crappy Tahoe advertising was out of line, but that falls on the doorstep of NBC, not FNL. With just two more episodes to go, I like where the show is.

Which will last longer, Smash's suspension or Street's gig at Garrity Motors?
Street. Eric, Buddy, or someone is going to get Smash out of the suspension.173 (61.8%)
Smash. Street is not destined for the automotive sales.107 (38.2%)

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Beth

Even though Riggins was "helping" the volleyball girls, I assumed Tyra's real anger/frustration/spiking fuel was from the whole Jean/Landry type thing. She is far more indifferent to Riggins these days.

Agreed on the more football.

Oh - and I'm still waiting to see where Waverly went.

January 28 2008 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

When you get your tv programming for free, then buy a device that allows you to skip all the commercials (the primary source of revenue for the people who distribute the show to you for free), it's kind of unreasonable to complain about a network "whoring" itself out with in-show advertising.

January 27 2008 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dave's comment
Joel

I still think Alias was ridiculous for doing so in the way they did. If you saw the episode I refer to you would HAVE to agree.

January 27 2008 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bailey

1) Even though Smash kind of messed things up in the end, he still pled to a misdemeanor, right? So if he stays out of trouble, he's not really a felon... I was worried about TMU, as well, but I'm thinking that if he gets back into the playoffs, all will be redeemed.
2) Super-bizarro Taylor family just wierds me out. And would someone please slap Julie into next season or something? What a little B!!
3) I'm loving Tyra. Nothing like a little humility and some good athletic redemption to bring a girl back from the brink. She's really evolved, yet I believe it.
4) [Logan] as Chris... With Lyla... Totally creeps me. Not gonna lie. And give Riggs a break. He stole from a meth dealer, not a church. To save his house and his brother. I want to see him end up with a little hottie, too, but I'm not sure new robo-Lyla is the one.

January 27 2008 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Randall

What about the constant plugging of Applebee's?
"Have you ever had the sizzling apple pie?" was the worst line in the episode. (Although the sizzling apple pie is pretty delicious)

I wish Smash could tell the truth and not act like an idiot. I just hope something brings him back. TMU isn't going to want a felon playing football for them. Maybe he'll have to check out Ohio State.

January 27 2008 at 3:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bash

I'm glad I don't watch the commercials either. That way this episode wasn't ruined for me.

The most blatant use of commercialism for me still is Fantastic Four (the first movie) - those 5 minutes where The Flame makes his public appearance where they plaster the whole screen with banners. Right after that comes the BMW Z3 display in "Armageddon" under the tree during the cookie-make-out-cuddle scene at sundown. THAT one really made me want to puke. I paid 8 bucks for both movies and then that.

Anyway: FNL still is the best show on TV for me. And right when it goes off the air I get more "Lost" :-) FNL for me feels like the good old Buffy days. Storylines you really follow on the edge of your seat and can't wait to get more of. I really hope that the strike doesn't ruin it and that we will get more of it in the future. And that it gets some rewards soon for writing once the critics forget the whole damn murder storyline :-)

January 27 2008 at 2:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evocatus

I don't think its too far-fetched to think that such dramatic sports scenes occur quite frequently. Its Texas! Texas is known for having the best football players in the nation

January 26 2008 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diana

You're definitely right in calling it Bizarro world. Everything just felt...off. I too loved the addition of Jean, but fear that she'll be gone after next week, especially if Tyra comes to her long overdue realization that she actually wants to be with Landry.

Smash's plot felt like a rehash of last year's race plot. It's as if they waited 12 episodes and realized they had forgotten to really move Smash anywhere this year. Especially since any growth he had made last year dissipated by the season premiere.

As for Tim, as long as the gun goes unfired, I'll let this one go. Also not a fan of Tim and Lyla, but the writers seem to be working both of them towards some sort of realization that maybe they really aren't that different.

Wow, I'll shut up now. I blogged my thoughts on Humblie Pie at: http://www.mediaobsessed.com

January 26 2008 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff P

Brett, I was just going to echo the comments about the product placement not being too overbearing. I just watched it, and while i noticed "man, they sure are making sure to show that it is a tahoe hybrid", i didn't think it was over the top. he's a car salesman, and he's talking about the car. It seemed perfectly reasonable.

Didn't see the commercial later on though re-using that scene. which is just kinda stupid.

Still, in show, unless this becomes an every week thing of watching Street sell a different model chevy each episode, I didn't see anything wrong with it. But like I said, i skipped the commercials

January 26 2008 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Kotick

I wouldn't be all that surprised with the volleyball scenes being inconsistent. I think the weakest part of the show are the sports scenes. Have we seen a football played by the Dillion Panthers that did not result in a dramatic end of the game play deciding the outcome?? Every game it seems like ends with a weird, crazy dramatic play usually benefiting the Panthers. I'm a huge sports fan and I can tell you those plays happen a few times a season for ALL the teams combined. For it to happen so often is just not realistic. I understand the need to create drama, and a 34-6 win or loss doesn't create the same drama but still you need to have some sort or realism and the sports scenes never do.

January 26 2008 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ladybug

I spent the night on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next to Riggins and Smash.They both deserve a braek of some kind, Riggins with the people in his life in general and Smash on his dreams to take his life to a higher level.
While this episode had very little to do with football, you have to wonder if Coach is still glad he decided to come back. They depict a rough life with very little to look forward to in the small town of Dillon.
And Lyla will be burned again--that guy's out for what he can get, and then put a spin on it. Why can't she be Tim Riggins savior?

January 26 2008 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ladybug's comment
Dorv

I like Riggins a lot... But, deserve a break? He did still 3k from a meth head.

January 26 2008 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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