"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friday Night Lights: Seeing Other People

NBC's promos for this episode of Friday Night Lights promised this would be the episode where Landry's morals got the best of him, driving him to confess to murder. But in reality, that was the smallest part of this episode, which leaned more on strong moments from the Taylor family and one of the best comedic subplots of the season. The ending left me with plenty to discuss.

One of the things I love most about FNL is the way it can turn tired teen show plot lines into something artful and fresh. An example of that came from Julie and Tami's parallel stories of misunderstood relationships. Julie's behavior around Noah takes me straight back to high school; the suggestion that the two of them could ever have a romantic relationship gives me the squirms, but I love the way the show is playing it so far. Julie might be flirting, but she might also have found a friend and mentor (who just happens to be older, male, and relatively attractive); Noah might see her as just a bright, eager student with untapped potential. And yet, their relationship looks like it could be something more, something utterly inappropriate. That's the side Tami sees; the scene where she ripped into Noah for his perceived indiscretions — and only got angrier with every one of his smarmy responses — was incredible (but couldn't she have just closed the door?). And so was Julie's reaction, full of fury at losing the one person she believes understands her.

And then there's Tami and Glenn — no illegal age difference there, at least, but still a perception that they could be doing something improper. For whatever reason, Coach hasn't seemed to be understanding what Tami's going through as a working mother of a petulant teenager and a needy newborn. I doubt he actually thinks Tami would cheat on him, but he's worried about appearances. Even more than that, he misses his old relationship with Tami, their laughs and light moments. Frankly, so do I; I'd love to see them get back to having fun.

Speaking of fun, practically every moment of the Smash storyline was exactly that. I don't understand where the show is going with Smash's recruiting trips — and shouldn't a player with his skills be visiting schools I've, you know, heard of? — but if it leads to more moments like "So tell me: Was it Cabo in your pants?" then I'm all for it.

Some other thoughts:

As I mentioned, the Landry stuff filled only a small part of the episode. I did think it was fascinating to hear Landry say aloud that the man he killed was a horrible, despicable person — to the man's brother, no less — and interesting how that prompted Landry to reexamine why he was keeping this secret. As for what that actually means, I guess I'll find out in the next episode.

Riggins' apology was one of my favorite moments ever, and I would have loved to see him keep apologizing to every Panther, one by one. Everything about it — from the "firecrotch" nickname to telling a young player how he really brings it on practice days — was quintessentially Riggins.

Matt and Carlotta bore me. There, I said it. I can't even really muster up the strength to be annoyed by their ridiculous pairing.

Seriously, how amazing was Riggins' ferret-keeping, meth-making roommate's binoculars/flask contraption? And where's Riggins going to live now, anyway?

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