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20 January 2008 @ 09:55 pm
Friday Night Lights 2.12  
Oh, that was an ouchy episode! But there was much that I loved in it. Firstly, they remembered Matt! And the Matt-Landry friendship!

Even though the plot with Carlotta was very predictable, I felt for poor Matt. Of course he fell head over heels for her, and of course it was doomed. The trouble is that he really has no-one else to turn to emotionally. His grandma, while she's a dear soul, needs his care, and Matt's really hitting the limitations of typical male friendship with Landry.

Matt and Tim are in similar situations in this episode--both of them head over heels for a girl who is out of reach. Both will wind up feeling they've been fools, feeling stupid and lonely and heartbroken and maybe a little angry. While they're very different personalities, both of them have this added pressure and expectation with the women they fall for seriously that comes with them having so few other close relationships. Tim has Jason and Matt has Landry, but both lack parental figures. And both struggle to find direction in their lives. It's easy, in those circumstances, to let a woman become the direction.

Is it terrible that I like Lyla a lot better as a born-again Christian than as a cheerleader? I have atheist guilt about this! But seriously, I'm really enjoying her this season and I thought her radio show seemed genuinely selfless. I used to feel she helped others only to make herself feel virtuous, but I now think that's a really naive reading. When she went round to confront Tim about his pranking, she was far less whiny than she once might have been--instead she called him out on his behaviour fairly. I'm not surprised that made Tim love her even more.

And ow, that sequence of Tim dumping the roses and Matt getting the farewell note?! *sniffles*

I really felt for Santiago as well--and I hadn't expected to. And I came the closest to liking Garrity that I ever had. He avoided saying anything truly moronic to Santiago when he found him all beat up, and his efforts to have Santiago's friends over were cringe-enducing, but in a misguided way, rather an a bigoted way. Refreshing! Santiago's largely unspoken angst about his friends trashing Garrity's place really got to me. He's another fragile lost boy.

And Smash! Oh, no! Just when I thought things were happy again in the Williams household. I am so incredibly naive, do you know that until this episode it hadn't actually occurred to me that Smash's girlfriend was white. *headdesk* I was too busy thinking of her as annoyingly peppy about those college contracts! So I guess all those first season complaints about the lack of mixed-race couples were listened to after all... The dinner came as a real shock to me as I didn't think that's where they were going. I was tuning in to the class differences, rather than thinking of it as a racial issue. And I guess it's not that easy to disentangle the two. But I'd be really interested to know how realistic US viewers found that plot. Because to me it seemed like it belonged in the 1960s. And why was Corrina also uncomfortable with the relationship? Was that because of the wealth disparity? Because that part of the plot I could really empathise with--not that I'd ever stop a child of mine dating someone more wealthy, but as a parent I would feel very self-conscious about the class difference--especially if I was invited to dinner at such a posh house.

The movie scene was really dreadful (in an 'omg, I hate stupid bigots' way)--I was totally fine with Smash punching that little shit out. How young is Smash's sister meant to be? Because she seemed really upset and yeah, what happened sucked, but it wasn't really Smash's fault--she could just as easily have been hassled by boys when she was out with her girlfriends.

And as if that wasn't enough heartbreak, there was poor Tami having to take Gracie to childcare. That was hard for me to watch because I know it's the reality of parenting today and something friends and colleagues of mine have to deal with. I could certainly relate to Tami's desire to run away from there. And I was so sad for her that she might have to give up her job. But question! What does Coach DO all day? Because it seems like there is training in the morning and after school, but what does he do during the day? I've kind of assumed he had to act as a PE teacher or something, but it would be good to know that for sure. Because otherwise I really don't see why he can't mind the bub during school hours. *frowns*

I don't mean to sound overly critical of the show though--I love it dearly and loved the episode and all the characters this week--but it would be good to know they were getting the realism right.
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The First Evil: FNL - the taylors - bystarlightasta77 on January 20th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
Is it terrible that I like Lyla a lot better as a born-again Christian than as a cheerleader?

Heh, no. She is a lot more likable this season. I have to give credit to the show for showing born-again Christians in a positive light, when so many shows would choose to make fun of them or look down upon them. I think the key thing here is that Lila may criticize people, but she's not condemning people. Her criticisms of Tim have been valid and while she may find some of his choices unacceptable, she's not telling him he's going to hell for them.

Another thing that I think has helped in the development of Lyla is that she's not All About the Boys this season. She was largely defined by her relationships with Jason and Tim last season and the angst surrounding that, but now we are getting to see her as a person.

Unfortunately, the racial issues surrounding Smash and his girlfriend weren't unrealistic, but they are somewhat dependent on where you live in the U.S. A mixed race couple going to the movies in New York City would get no attention. I live in Michigan and see mixed race couples all the time in stores, at the movies, etc, and I can't recall anyone's head turning or whispering under their breaths about it. But, down South, there are still some people who don't feel that blacks and whites should mix at all, let alone be in a relationship. This case doesn't directly tie into this, but the Jena 6 is an example of how racism is still very much a problem in this country.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL Matt Saracenbop_radar on January 21st, 2008 08:24 am (UTC)
I have to give credit to the show for showing born-again Christians in a positive light, when so many shows would choose to make fun of them or look down upon them.
Totally! While I'm not a Christian myself, that would totally make me cringe if the show did that. It's an easy target (thanks for the illustration, Tim!) and since there is such a large population of born-again Christians, I think it's important that they be represented on TV.

she's not All About the Boys this season
I think that's a crucial shift for me.

Thanks for the link to the Jena 6--I hadn't heard about the case at all. It's the kind of thing that doesn't get a lot of coverage here. We have racial issues here too, obviously, but they tend to be ethnicity-based, not skin-colour-based. And I think there's a certain kind of dialogue/culture around US race issues for which we really don't have an equivalent. I was definitely shocked to hear the parents talk so calmly about the matter, as if it was obviously an issue.
Marenmarenfic on January 20th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
I really adore the Santiago storyline and I was cringing the whole time, thinking they were going to really screw it up but they didn't! It's just that Buddy out of everyone is the person I'd most assume would screw things up with Santiago, who is so vulnerable under the toughness and really looking for a place to belong. But Buddy is trying to redeem his crappy parenting, or something, and I think it's so good for both of them. When he slapped that watch down on the table and went right back to Santiago, showing what it was he really cared about, I teared up. I have to admit it. Buddy, you did good.

Re: the Smash stuff. I could buy that the parents had issues (on both sides). But what I could not buy was the big family dinner and the parents just bringing it up like that. That's a television plot device-- in real life I think you'd be seeing parents making private comments or ultimatums, but they certainly wouldn't do it like that. The movie theater scene-- I have to admit, I thought it went overboard. Teenagers having a problem with a mixed-race couple? I don't buy it-- not like that.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL threesomebop_radar on January 21st, 2008 08:34 am (UTC)
ITA re. the Buddy and Santiago storyline--I'm staggered, but yes, Buddy did good.

what I could not buy was the big family dinner and the parents just bringing it up like that. That's a television plot device
Ok, yeah, that's the bit that shocked me, and so I appreciate you saying it was a plot device. I didn't want to assume anything since it's not a culture I'm familiar with at all, but it did seem a bit OTT.

Teenagers having a problem with a mixed-race couple? I don't buy it-- not like that.
Yeah, I would have found it more believable if those guys had a previous grudge against Smash or something and just used race to get to him. But given that Smash and the chick in question (name?) never seemed phased at all, it came out of the blue that any of their peers might blink at it.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL Matt Saracenbop_radar on January 21st, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
Yes, the Santiago plot was beautifully played. And I cheer the return of our QB1!
elzedelzed on January 21st, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
Oh, word to everything. But especially to Santiago's angst and sense of honour and distress; and to Matt's little broken heart, and Tim's!!! Alas, poor Riggins.

And I was a little taken aback at the mixed race issue, even in Texas. Partly the bluntness of the parents at the dinner, which shocked me, expecially when Mama Smash sided with them (it did remind me of her "Are you messing with white girls now" comment when she walked in on Smash and Tyra making out early in the first season, though). Until then I didn't really think about Noelle's race, I think I assumed she was very light mixed race when I thought about her parents, because of the tendency of the players and girlfriends to socialise in a segregated manner, but when I realised her parents were white I had no idea it was headed that way. As for the movies scene, it seemed to be lifted straight from the sixties (except that I suspect then Smash would have been taken out and beaten by the entire male audience).

Ouch indeed, though.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL threesomebop_radar on January 21st, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
it did remind me of her "Are you messing with white girls now" comment when she walked in on Smash and Tyra making out early in the first season, though
I did flashback to that too. I was always curious about that and what she meant. She seemed to view white girls as 'trouble'. And while I can see any mum viewing Tyra as trouble, I didn't really think her race was to blame. ;)

It's kind of a pity that the race issue (and the movies scene in particular) was so clunky, because I'm sure there ARE racial insults and issues still. And I'd like the show to tackle them--but doing so in a believable manner is hard, I imagine.
elzedelzed on January 21st, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
Well, maybe it's us being unaware of quite how brutal it still is in parts of the South, but I did find it odd.

Still - mixed race relationships have always been more of an issue in the US than, for instance, in the UK where they are absolutely run of the mill...
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL threesomebop_radar on January 21st, 2008 09:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, not sure. Mixed race relations are common here too, but then our biggest racial minority is Asian, and there are different issues there.
serenography: FNLcoachserenography on January 22nd, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
I finally watched the ep tonight. I love this show more every week, I swear.

Even though the plot with Carlotta was very predictable,

I thought Carlotta was being somewhat secretive about her leaving. The very vague, "my family needs me" sounded like a lie to me. Maybe I'm looking for something that isn't there though. But I do wonder if there's more to Carlotta leaving than they are revealing right now.

Is it terrible that I like Lyla a lot better as a born-again Christian than as a cheerleader?

Cheerleaders really get a bum rap on TV, I've decided. But I do understand and agree with your point. I keep hoping Lila won't become annoying and start bible-thumping, but they're really avoiding making her that cliche so far. This is why I love this show so much, they are seldom predictable and like to break the stereotypical molds for people.

And ow, that sequence of Tim dumping the roses and Matt getting the farewell note?! *sniffles*


Oh my poor boys! :(

I really felt for Santiago as well--and I hadn't expected to. And I came the closest to liking Garrity that I ever had.

Um... so do you think Santiago *killed* that guy? The cut the scene as he was strangling him, and he didn't look like he had any intention of letting up. *is worried*

I like Garrity. Again, it would be too easy to hate him, but I honestly think he's trying to change and be a better person. Getting kicked out of his house was the best thing to ever happen to him in terms of being a wake-up call.

The dinner came as a real shock to me as I didn't think that's where they were going. I was tuning in to the class differences, rather than thinking of it as a racial issue. And I guess it's not that easy to disentangle the two. But I'd be really interested to know how realistic US viewers found that plot.

Ever since they introduced the white girlfriend, I've been waiting for them to address the issue within the show. So, I didn't find any of it surprising at all. Maybe it's my age or the fact that I have family (distant, thankgod) that still have issues about interracial marriages. I think Corrina's objections were two-fold: she doesn't like the 'hold' the girlfriend has on Smash, and she's probably well aware of the difficulties for an interracial couple in a small town like that. I'm not saying she's right, but I understand her concerns. The girlfriends parents were just plain RUDE AS HELL to host this dinner only to drop a bombshell like that on everyone. I thought that was incredibly inappropriate. Respectfully addressing concerns is one thing, but there's a time and a place. Of course, the parents all think they are doing the best for their kids, but really, those kids are old enough to make their own decisions about whether or not to take on the added pressures they may face as an interracial couple. I hope the parents come to accept and support their decisions.

That was hard for me to watch because I know it's the reality of parenting today and something friends and colleagues of mine have to deal with. I could certainly relate to Tami's desire to run away from there.

Oh god.. I had flashbacks of crying all the way to work after waving goodbye to my little boy crying and waving bye-bye to me through the daycare window. It's a terribly emotional thing and I did love that they showed Tammy running away at first.

What does Coach DO all day?

LMAO! True, most coaches are regular teachers as well, but they've never really defined him as a teacher. But, he is the Athletic Director now and that's actually a pretty big admin position in high schools. They essentially run the entire athletic and activities departments. An AD at a big school would not be a teacher as well.

I was going to post about FNL in my journal, but I do love reading your comments and responding here. I hope you don't mind me going on and on...
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL Matt Saracenbop_radar on January 22nd, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
I do wonder if there's more to Carlotta leaving than they are revealing right now.
I wondered that too. There's going to be follow up, I'm sure. I did wonder if she had a sekrit husband. :D

Cheerleaders really get a bum rap on TV, I've decided
Funny thing is I love the IDEA of cheerleaders... I just rarely like the execution. Having said that, I have strange fondness for 'Bring it on'. :D

The cut the scene as he was strangling him, and he didn't look like he had any intention of letting up. *is worried*
Oh! I'm such an innocent, I assumed not! O.O Surely they wouldn't write in TWO murders this season? Would they be so crazy?!!!

she doesn't like the 'hold' the girlfriend has on Smash
That part of it I totally understand. So I guess she just saw the opportunity to end the relationship when the other parents brought up race. If I was her, I'd be huffy they made it about race and not the personalities of the kids concerned. But still...

The girlfriends parents were just plain RUDE AS HELL to host this dinner only to drop a bombshell like that on everyone. I thought that was incredibly inappropriate.
Yeah, and I was sort of sad we didn't see more from Noelle's point of view. Because I would be SO EMBARRASSED if my parents did that, and if I was Smash I'd be asking Noelle if she had had any inkling beforehand, etc.

those kids are old enough to make their own decisions about whether or not to take on the added pressures they may face as an interracial couple
Definitely. Though I can see that they're at the age where many parents would still think they have a right to weigh in.

An AD at a big school would not be a teacher as well.
Ok, so them writing that in has actually had a benefit in making it more believable that Coach would not be free to look after the bub. Thanks for clarifying. The scale of the football scene in the US made me uncertain how much of his time he actually spent just coaching. But yes, AD and Coach seems like a LOT.

I LOVE you going on and on!
deaver: Scruffy Handeaver on January 22nd, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
... both lack parental figures. And both struggle to find direction in their lives. It's easy, in those circumstances, to let a woman become the direction.

Huh, I hadn't thought of it that way, but it is completely true. More specifically, the both lack a strong female parental unit. Yes, Matt has his Grandmother, but as you said, in their roles are actually reversed with him as the caretaker figure. I can see how these two boys would so easily reach out for a strong female presence in their lives.

I actually thought the Smash storyline was fairly accurate. I didn't think that his mom was objecting to her being white (though I'm sure that factors in) so much as objecting to her son continuing to take a young girl's opinions over his mom's. I honestly took is as her still being peeved over all the recruiting shenanigans.

As for the movie scene - yep, still happens. Maybe not that dramatically, but that attitude still does persist. Even growing up in northern California - albeit a very small, very rural town - thing similar to this would happen (just in a more quiet manner). Especially, as Smash's little sister stated, they drove across town to what I assume is the affluent, "white" nieghborhood. It's a sad, sad fact of life in large parts of the US.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois runbop_radar on January 23rd, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
I can see how these two boys would so easily reach out for a strong female presence in their lives.
*nods* I think a lot of times (on TV, in movies) there's a focus on fathers or their absence where boys are concerned, but a mother's presence or absence is also critical, and I think would really affect them in their teenage years. Consciously they might both say they're 'fine' about it, but I think that absence does show up in their behaviour.

I honestly took is as her still being peeved over all the recruiting shenanigans.
Ah, ok. Well and I can understand that fairly well--she was pretty pushy, that chick, and got Smash's mom offside.

as Smash's little sister stated, they drove across town to what I assume is the affluent, "white" nieghborho
Ok, it's nuances like that that I kind of miss not being familiar with the culture--so there would be different neighbourhoods. That makes sense.