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

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday Night Lights: Jumping The Gun

Friday Night Lights just can't seem to have its characters stop breaking the law this season, can it? Granted, the criminal twist in "Jumping the Gun" seemed more believable than a lot of the Landry/Tyra murder plot, but still, I'm a little surprised. That plot was just a minor part of of this packed episode, though, which featured Smash having to make a decision about a college and Coaches Taylor and Dickes facing off in a major game.

I'm beginning to think that Tim Riggins is one of the most frustrating (but wonderful) characters ever written for TV. It would have been easy for him to rat Julie out and try to keep his sweet living situation at the Taylors'; instead, he kept her drunken evening his secret and went about trying to go home — where, naturally, Billy has left everything in shambles. For all his drinking and womanizing, Tim is the most responsible member of the Riggins family, and he seems to genuinely want to be good. So why, oh why, would he steal a pile of money from the biggest drug dealer in Dillon? Taking the cash does fit with what we know about Riggins; well-intentioned as he may be, he's also lazy. But what good does an easy mortgage payment do when you're too dead to enjoy it?

Smash's recruiting plot line has delivered some of this season's finest moments — Cabo in my pants, anyone? — but it hasn't always rung completely true. I was glad to see Noelle reappear in this episode as Smash's pseudo-adviser, and Mama Smash's wary reaction to Noelle's supposed expertise was perfectly played. But why am I just now learning that it's been Smash's dream to play for TMU?

Meanwhile, as enjoyable as it was to have Tami's sister around for a while, I'm glad Shelly's moving on. This starts an interesting new chapter for Tami: What will she do with baby Grace now that her built-in babysitter is gone?

Some other thoughts:

Subtlety has always been a hallmark of FNL, so I'm annoyed at how the Coach Dickes situation ended. I loved him continuing to be a dick(es) by calling his players "girls" and generally being the opposite of Coach Taylor in every way. I even believe he was capable of tackling an opposing player mid-game just to show his own team how it's done. But for the explanation to be that his wife is dying and he doesn't "have a game plan for that?" Groan.

Julie Taylor has been a brat for much of this season, but I'm glad she grew up enough to tell Coach what Riggins was really doing hovering over her bed. Coach's"Damn, Julie," and his little heart-to-heart before Tami got home, were classic.

Also great: Tim offering Jackie his dad's address so she could complete "the Riggins trifecta." I wouldn't have guessed Tim knew the word "trifecta," but hey.

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