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08 January 2008 @ 08:29 pm
Friday Night Lights 2.11  
Hmm... I'm so torn about Friday Night Lights these days. On the one hand there are characters I love and I can see the building blocks of the pitch-perfect show I fell for in Season One. But there's definitely a change in tone in Season 2--but inconsistently. The show still delivers some great scenes that feel completely true to life, but then it also pulls out... random tornado melodrama. Hmph.

So I think I took my issues with the show out on Julie this week... I alternately wanted to strangle her or the creative team writing her. I realised that I haven't liked her consistently in any episode in season 2. I've had moments of seeing her pov, but they've been rare. And it's not just that she's turned into a right little brat (she has), I'm also starting to feel like her characterisation is becoming a bit haphazard. Like the sudden set-up with Tim? That seemed completely constructed. Why did she have to go to the store with him? She just got home. Tim's so not her type--it was a stretch for her to date Matt--so I was really hoping they weren't writing her as suddenly being interested in the jockiest of football jocks. And while they didn't exactly go there, it did feel quite contrived. I wound up feeling very sorry for Tim and wanting to slap Julie. I understand why Coach reacted the way he did, but ugh. On the plus side, we saw the elusive Lois!

I do find the tension between Shelley and Tami very well written and acted. You can see the years of built up resentments in their behaviour patterns with one another, and how they totally fail to see the other person's point of view despite loving each other. Shelley doesn't see how undermining she is in Tami's family at a difficult time. And Tami doesn't see that she comes across as self-righteous and superior. At the heart of the matter seems to be the fact that Tami is more mature than Shelley, because she has to be to work and look after her family and juggle those responsibilities. It's easier for Shelley to goof around and easier for her to take Julie's side of arguments. I think Tami knows she went too far in saying 'no wonder you're single'--that confirmed all Shelley's worst suspicions about how her sister views her. However, Shelley lost a bit of my sympathy when she pulled the guilt-trip card about Tami leaving the baby with her. That's totally missing the point, and while I think it will 'speak to' Tami in the sense that it will get her to feel guilty, it doesn't actually resolve any of the issues between them. They need a mediator!

I didn't find the Garrety family drama particularly engaging, but I did feel sorry for Lyla. Her parents seemed to be acting like teenagers. And that montage of 'Garrety the good dad' made me gag!

I was far more interested in the rival teams set-up--that felt more like old-school FNL. I loved Coach's slapdown of the other coach. In fact I really liked Coach all episode. I always appreciate the show reminding me how obnoxious most coaches are, as Coach seems good in comparison. Without that comparison, I can too easily sink into just remembering why I hated organised sports so much. ;) I loved Coach and Tim's random game of table tennis too. Hee! Gah, so annoyed that that relationship's ruined again--Tim needs a good role model so badly.

Tyra and Landry are breaking my heart. And right up until the final scene I thought everything was really well played. I was so relieved that the murder plot was behind them and that we were back to scenes of Tyra shrugging off football jocks. I felt it was quite easy to understand Tyra's conflicted feelings about dating Landry, but I confess I assumed that her hesitation was mostly to do with Landry's father warning her off. I'm not so sure after the final scene. Either way, I think there's a subtext of Tyra still feeling awkward about going public with him, which was obvious in the canteen scene where the other football boys were joking with Landry. I really felt for him then and could understand why he felt compelled to go up to her, even though it was a stupid move in many ways. Because the connection between Tyra and Landry does seem so genuine, I really liked Landry's speech about not giving up on someone if you really like them. However it seemed to be completely belied by his actions in the very next scene. Tyra told him she had strong feelings for him, and he still walked away? Yes, I understand that he was tired and fed up of being knocked back in front of everyone. But I expected him to be more patient in his impatience, if that makes any sense. So despite my sympathy for him throughout the episode I ended up wanting to slap him about the head too. I did love that he told Tyra she was 'better than' dating the dumb puking jockboy. He's right that she needs to believe that. But she needed to hear that with more love and less anger, I think. Damn she looked pretty though!

In summation: waaah Tim! waaah Tyra! waaah Landry! *smacks Julie*
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Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: stressedstressed
 
 
 
Kate: FNL Timmskatej on January 8th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
Hmm. While I get your point that Tim is not Julie's type, I have to disagree that her sudden interest in him is OOC. The fact of the matter is Tim is extremely physically attractive and even if he's not "boyfriend material" there aren't that many women/girls who would be totally immune to his charms (and if Julie was I think I'd find that unusual). The guy is gorgeous and aloof and unattainable; Julie is a teenage girl with eyes and hormones, and she's certainly not above fancying boys who aren't intellectual. Before he moved in she never would have considered him an option because he is, as you say, not her type, and doesn't move in her circle. But he's in her face now. And not only is he a babe, he's quite a lovely person: great with the baby, sly sense of humour. Her attraction to him is probably only physical but I definitely don't find it implausible. (Also, I don't find Tim particularly "jocky". He's a talented sportsman, yes, but I'd say he's more of a slacker/rebel than a jock.)

Great points about the Tami/Shelley relationship. I found it hard to sympathise with Tami in this episode, because she is so condescending (to the point of nastiness) when it comes to Shelley, but you're absolutely right that it goes both ways.

And you already know I agree with you on the Tyra/Landry plot. I was enjoying it and then the last scene ruined the whole thing for me.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Audrey Tautoubop_radar on January 9th, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
Good points re. Julie. So you do think she was played/written as being interested in Tim? I was pretty confused as to what we were supposed to think. It was pretty clear that while drunk she was responding to any attractive guy in close proximity. So I wasn't sure if we were meant to think she had an interest beyond that.

I think my sympathy is still largely with Tami simply because it seems clear that she only behaves this way because she's extremely pressured and stressed generally and then Shelley presses all her buttons. That said, I'd find her a real bitch as a sister! ;) But the show's done such a great job of portraying Tami with complexity--I think we've seen her own frustration at the fact that she's not free to do fun stuff like go see bands or hang out carefree with her sister. And I think that unspoken regret fuels her bitchiness to some extent. Tami could never say it because it would sound ungrateful to her family, but I think she envies Shelley her freedom.
Kate: Friday Night Lightsmskatej on January 9th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
So you do think she was played/written as being interested in Tim

Well a lot of the acting is improvised, so it was possibly a choice by the actress, but I do believe her perving at him with the aunt in the early scenes was lovely, funny, realistic and in character. The joining him on his trip to the store felt incredibly familiar too. That's exactly the kind of thing I would have done in her position at her age (and Tim's not "my type" either). As for the drunken grope, I think that was one of the most true to life moments in the entire episode, unlike Coach walking in on them, which felt contrived (they needed a "reason" for Coach to kick Tim out because FNL loves to punish Tim).

So I wasn't sure if we were meant to think she had an interest beyond that.

I didn't get the sense that she had much genuine romantic interest in Tim. Not beyond a schoolgirl crush at any rate. And it's clearly one sided at this point, which also rings true to me. She's even less his type than he is hers, and he pretty obviously sees her as a "little sister" who he feels responsible for. That's actually why I kind of hate where they went with the story, because I was enjoying him being part of the Taylor family so much, and, as you say, some of the storylines delve too far into melodrama these days.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL threesomebop_radar on January 9th, 2008 10:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I liked the perving--that felt real. The idea of Julie perving at Tim but kind of laughing at herself and not being serious hangs together for me. The going to the store with him I just really don't get...maybe because it was more premeditated? but hey, whatever. The drunken grope I totally do get--especially at that age. I'm sure I'd have gone for it too if I'd had the chance. ;)

I agree that Tim sees her as a 'little sister'--he seemed amused by her trying to set him up with Lois and he was definitely NOT making a move on her in any way. In fact, I found his alpha-ing with that guy at the party had an echo in the way Coach reacted when catching him with Julie later... both of them know how to do that tough my-word-is-law don't-mess-with-me thing really well. SO pissed off they've destroyed that relationship! It was one I was definitely enjoying.
The First Evil: FNL - the taylors - bystarlightasta77 on January 8th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
I'm so torn about Friday Night Lights these days. On the one hand there are characters I love and I can see the building blocks of the pitch-perfect show I fell for in Season One. But there's definitely a change in tone in Season 2--but inconsistently. The show still delivers some great scenes that feel completely true to life, but then it also pulls out... random tornado melodrama.

Excellent summation. I'm rather 'meh' on this season. I still adore some of the characters, but the plotting seems rather slip-shot. (And what happened to the Matt/Landry friendship???) The highlights for me were the Eric/Tim ping-pong game at 5:00am. I would hazard to guess that Eric was enjoying a 'son' to hang out with. And his excitement over the coffeemaker. Hee! But then all the great Eric/Tim bonding was ruined at the end by the cliched misunderstanding.

Great analysis of the Tami/Shelley dynamic. Tami's comment about Shelley still being single was out of line, but was a reaction to Shelley's attempts to, essentially, take over. And Shelley was so flirting with Tim and needed to be called on that.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL Matt Saracenbop_radar on January 9th, 2008 07:46 am (UTC)
Don't get me started on Matt/Landry. Sigh.

The ping-pong was very cute and I did get the impression Eric was enjoying a kind of father/son bonding there--it was lovely subtle work. But yes, ruined by the (forced, I felt) ending. :(
ez_as_piez_as_pi on January 8th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Just. YES!!! You read my mind.

I want Coach to take Evil!Coach out behind the gym and smack the crap out of him. Hard.

And I really hope the Tim/Coach misunderstanding gets worked out. I mean there's Tim, who's sober, going to school, (even if the cheer girls are doing his homework)... and now.. homeless again.

Oh well... stay tuned LOL
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Flowersbop_radar on January 9th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
Evil!Coach was sooo obnoxious.

And yes, totally agree re. Tim. I was so excited to see PROGRESS for him, and now bam! back to square one. :( I hope the misunderstanding gets cleared up but it seems impossible that it will be...
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL Matt Saracenbop_radar on January 9th, 2008 07:54 am (UTC)
Yes, that residue of love is helping me ride through this season. But it's so frustrating. And yeah, the season's not hanging together as a whole for me yet at all--where's their focus?

I always thought Billy was a real nasty piece of work so I'm not that surprised by his poor behaviour, but agree it's been quite simplistically portrayed. What, he's made NO effort to contact Tim?!

I am inclined to take Tami's side as well. Possibly because we've got to know her so well. I do think she's said some cruel things to Shelley, but in all other aspects I tend to agree with her in their arguments. Shelley seems to almost revel in casting Tami as a staid, boring mother, and she's never interested in Tami's pov. Tami's a great mum, but even if she wasn't, Shelley should make an effort to understand where she's coming from before she criticises her parenting--which she does implicitly in undermining her with Julie and so on.

Yes, poor Matt is much neglected of late! Although scoring some hot kissage. ;)
canadiangirl_86 on January 8th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
I don't really watch FNL (even though I know I should) but I did watch this episode! I really enjoyed it, but I admit I'm not able to compare it to the first season since I haven't seen it.

I loved the scene with Coach and Tim playing ping pong. And then he asks his wife to make him a sandwich at 5am. Ha!

That other coach was so effing annoying and totally baiting the entire episode, but I love how High School everything was, even with the old fogeys.

With Tyra and Landry, it did seem a bit abrupt at the end to have him walk away considering that he was just making a case for fighting for people you love when he was talking to Julie. But I guess he had been thinking about Julie's words as well in the interim and realized he was done being a yo-yo.

Edited at 2008-01-08 06:13 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL threesomebop_radar on January 9th, 2008 07:56 am (UTC)
Oh, cool! A newbie to FNL! So glad you enjoyed it--this was a pretty average eppy. But the Coach/Tim ping pong was the sort of gem we got lots of in season one. :) Hee!

Yeah, they capture high school pretty well I reckon--definitely one of the most realistic high school shows I've ever seen.

I guess he had been thinking about Julie's words as well in the interim and realized he was done being a yo-yo.
Yeah... I do think that's what the writers intended us to think. I just found it a little clunky. I'm used to FNL finding unconventional and very realistic ways around these dramas, but that was a little 'tv predictable'.
elzedelzed on January 8th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Ah, I have to weigh in with mskatej above on this Julie/Tim job. Of course he's not her usual type, but he's hot, and he;s in her home (and Matt is otherwise engaged...); and christ, I remember from my teenage years how hanging around a friend's house in the summer, I started finding her brother fanciable, because, you know, hormones, and he was around all the time... Thankfully nothing happened. But never understimate the power of opportunity - look at office romances...

Also, I think that all through this season Julie is written as a brat, which is so realistic (I was a pain in the arse at 15/16), especially with the new baby. And I feel after the wrapping up of the murder story, there is something poignantly realistic about Tyra's refusal to acknowledge Landry. Yes, part of it is habit, and perhaps a degree of low self-esteem in the moral stakes, but I also think there is a lot of babe pride there, and the fact that he's kind of geeky and weird-looking, even though he's also a bit of a jock, doesn't quite fit.

All in all I am enjoying what I think is a return to form, I'd say. Shelley and Tami too sound very realistic in their sisterly bitching, right down to the "no wonder you're single".

And I too loved Coach, even including his knee-jerk kicking out of Tim. Let's face it, we know he's a good guy, but if I walked in on him and my teenage daughter (in, say, a dozen years, ok?) I wouldn't be taking risks either.

Sigh. I love that show.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Radioheadbop_radar on January 9th, 2008 08:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, I guess Julie is just horny. ;) And a brat--that's for sure. It's realistic, as you say, but I do flinch when watching her.

I LOLed at your office romance comment because that's how I met my partner. ;)

there is something poignantly realistic about Tyra's refusal to acknowledge Landry. Yes, part of it is habit, and perhaps a degree of low self-esteem in the moral stakes, but I also think there is a lot of babe pride there, and the fact that he's kind of geeky and weird-looking, even though he's also a bit of a jock, doesn't quite fit
*nods* I like that aspect of it. I'm finding Tyra's side of things very well-drawn.

And oh, yeah, I wouldn't be trusting Tim Riggins near my teenage daughter (if I had one) either! He's a good kid, but nuh-uh.