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16 November 2009 @ 08:26 pm
Friday Night Lights 4.01-4.03  
Friday Night Lights has returned! I still can't quite take it in, so much so that I forgot to post about the first couple of episodes. Making up for lost time! It is a great delight to have FNL back. Even at its worst it's more enjoyable than most shows at their best to me, and I'm not finding a lot of enjoyable TV (apart from Community) at the moment, so it kind of feels like climbing back into a cosy, familiar jumper. However, I also had to do a bit of mental readjustment to get used to Season 4. I am definitely enjoying it, but am still sad about some of the cast changes. Thankfully new cast members are doing a lot to carry me along.

Lyla, Tyra, Smash, Jason ... I miss them a great deal. I am very grateful that we've at least got some familiar faces around. I'm not sure how they're going to keep Matt's plot integrated with the rest of the show, but I'm very glad he's there. And I'm happy Tim chucked in college and is helping Coach. I remember being in the minority about this, but I don't think college would have suited Tim and I certainly don't think it will be any use to him unless he is personally motivated. I find Billy to be a presumptuous ass about that, so I kind of took delight in Tim hurling his books out the window. I think Tim will find his own way, and it may even involve higher study down the track, in his own time, and that that's far healthier. Meanwhile, we get to keep him on the show. ;)

Although I want to know what happened with Tyra (they broke up when she headed to college?), I do still like having Landry around--its certainly important in the new East Dillon set up to have someone from Coach's old team. I can see they're sewing the seeds of a new ship for him and despite my loyalty to Tyra, I like the new chick a lot. It was cool that she taught him how to punt (aside: American football seems really dumb if they don't at least practise kicking occasionally! are they just really not into multiskilling? Yet Coach is always moving people around. *confused*).

Thankfully I'm able to say honestly that I like both Vince and Luke a lot so far. Luke seems like a good kid--I particularly liked the scene where he was told he had to go to East Dillon. He warred with his emotions and despite his grief, apologised to Tami. I think he does feel guilty and we can see that he's trying to put the lying in the past. I like Tim working with him, and I'm glad Coach encouraged him to lead. However, I wonder what that's going to do to Vince. Vince brought the team back, he's been the leader, however unofficially, so far. He's got a lot rougher life than Luke and he screws up more, but clearly he's talented and determined. More importantly he seems to have sway with his schoolmates. That will make for interesting television but some rough politics. ;)

I wasn't sure about Jess to begin with. Something in her uber-chipper attitude annoyed me. (I was pretty much with Tim's 'you've got to be kidding me!' stare.) But she's kind of winning me over slowly. She makes a nice contrast to Tim, and the whole renting-a-caravan-off-her-mum scenario amuses me well enough so far.

Most significantly, I am really 'in' Coach's journey this season. Most of the time I used to feel quite disconnected from him. It was easy to take him for granted at Dillon High, but the risks are far greater at East Dillon and I'm appreciating that. Yeah, he's done some dick-y things (don't ever lie to Tami!) but I like that he admits it later and I also like that he's really in over his head here. It was a good way to reinvent the show, I think.

I think episode 2 was my favourite so far. Coach's reaction to the crazy at the gas station really cracked me up. I also liked seeing that his interventionist approaches to families didn't work so well in a place with different demographics. I feel like he's going to have to reinvent himself a bit. I also really loved that they picked up on something that hasn't been textualised that much before and made it a concrete problem: the fact that in the past he's turned a blind eye to Buddy's nefarious dealings, but he's kind of known stuff was going on. That's been hinted at several times over the years and it was good to see that actually raised as something that could undo him. Of course, it also facilitated Tami's glorious slapdown of McCoy, so all round it was great value. :)

The Taylors are the closest I get to a functional family, so I'm always fascinated with how they deal with tension and I greatly enjoyed seeing Tami and Coach scream at each other. I love that I feel secure when they do so--knowing they will overcome it some how. I also love Tami's 'don't you raise your voice at me!' LOL, she is such a mum. Less comfortable with her discomfort about Julie's budding atheism (psst, Julie, embrace it!). However, I recognise that family churchgoing is something I know very little about. It's hard for me to understand why anyone would want someone to go to church who didn't really believe... but I guess it really is just a custom for some people.

Matt's plot has been somewhat cliched--the asshole artist makes him do all sorts of menial work and doesn't appear to be teaching him anything but then turns out to have insight after all. However, despite the cliche I'm interested to see where it goes for Matt. I did laugh at 'this bit doesn't make me want to puke'. Poor Matty! And hey, I do think he could do better than Julie but I didn't like the guilt trip the artist gave her. I did, however, like the strength of the message about selfishness. Matt is often defined by his selflessness (even if he whines about stuff)--so the contrast is interesting.

I am so, SO glad that the uniforms became a big problem, because my first thought when Coach went to burn them was 'er... can they afford to do that?' I love that Coach's grand gestures come with a price tag. :p And yet, it still seemed worth it when we saw the new uniforms and the morale boost they gave. I'm really glad they're writing it as near impossible to get any sponsors too. I'm sure the turnaround will come, but it's details like this in the beginning that help with suspending disbelief.

They've got a long way to go though.

In other news, signed up for festivids and am excited to get my assignment! :)
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
 
 
 
Kass: Taylors redkassrachel on November 16th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
I am in agreement with pretty much everything you've said here! I am SO HAPPY to have this show back, I can't even tell you.

I like Vince and Luke both, so far, and I agree that the show seems to be setting them up for some major tension -- which I hope they will overcome by the end of the season, but it could take a while. (Tim and Smash hated each other, once upon a time, too, and yet by the time Smash left the show I think they cared about each other a great deal...) Mostly I'm just pleased to see the show taking a more active interest in the race and class politics of this small Texas town, because I think that stuff is always there, and it will make for great storytelling.

I'm glad Tim left college, too. And not only because it means we get to keep him on the show! *g* I think you're right that he just wasn't cut out for it. Makes me extra-glad that he urged Lyla to go to Vanderbilt (which is a fine school) rather than staying with him -- if she'd given up her chance to get a great education in order to be with him, and then he dropped out of school, that would have been disastrous.

I do find myself hoping that we'll get some of Tyra's story later this season. I hope she's flourishing at the University of Texas and that she gets to come back and visit Dillon and be proud of herself and her awesomeness!

I had the same thought when Coach burned the uniforms! It was great catharsis and great theatre, but I knew that was going to cause problems. :-)

I &hearts Eric and Tami so much. They are really role models for me (does that sound dorky?) -- as you say, even when they're yelling at each other, it's so obvious that they trust their relationship and that their marriage is solid. I'm so impressed with Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton for how they portray those characters.

I haven't actually seen the most recent ep yet, so I can't comment on the atheism thing, but what you're describing sounds in-character to me -- both Julie leaning in that direction, and her mother's deep discomfort with it. I'm Jewish, so I come at all of this from a very different place, but it seems quite believable to me both that Julie might dabble in disbelief and that her parents would be distressed by that. Especially in a small town in Texas, not being a churchgoer could make one a profound outsider -- and Tami's always conscious of how people in town regard their family and whether that's going to make trouble for them -- and it also might be that Tami's own faith is genuine and that it honestly troubles her to think of her daughter not being part of the church, not being connected with God. I look forward to watching that ep and seeing what I've missed!

Anyway: I am all asquee. SHOW! &hearts!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL silhouettebop_radar on November 24th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC)
taking a more active interest in the race and class politics of this small Texas town, because I think that stuff is always there, and it will make for great storytelling.
I'm glad about that too. I was always interested in more of the race and class politics, as it's such a different culture to my own, but we didn't always get it. And I like seeing more about the poorer side of Dillon... it's tough for any Dillon kid, but it's a lot tougher for some of them than for others.

I'm glad Tim left college, too. And not only because it means we get to keep him on the show! *g* I think you're right that he just wasn't cut out for it.
Oh, yay! I'm glad someone agrees! I can see Timmy working for a while, doing an apprenticeship somewhere, getting more into a trade... or into business somewhere along the line... whatever works out for him. It doesn't have to be college.

I do find myself hoping that we'll get some of Tyra's story later this season.
Oh, it's so hard not to hope for that, isn't it?!

Yes, Eric and Tami are the most amazing TV married couple ever! I am staggered by them. And I think you are spot on with Tami's characterisation in regards to Julie's atheism. I was brought up agnostic by my parents so it was something I found hard to connect with. There are a lot of things about the culture shown in FNL that are very different for me, but the characters are so deeply human and the show has so much heart, it always overcomes that. And it makes me curious about those things I don't understand in an 'ahh, ok, it's like this for some people' sort of way. :)

FNL is such an emotionally satisfying show!
chatchien: Spangeled Hat 3chatchien on November 16th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
::sigh:: I usually stay away from spoilers, but I miss this show.

It looks like I won't be seeing this season until this summer when it airs on network TV. But I might just glance at your comments every once in a while. :-)

As for Community, I am not liking the Soothsayer/Filmmaker story line for Abed. The point is finding and appreciating the commonality of people in a society. That prediction stuff just makes him stick back out as a freak and not as a person. It's making the joke about his oddness not his humanity.

That said, Go Winger! Men are Evil! And they get the guy with the face of an angelic 8 year old to prove it. Haha!

Edited at 2009-11-17 12:29 am (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Nodame rockbop_radar on November 24th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)
Sorry for the slow comment this week... got a big flooded with life stuff!

I thought a lot about your comment about Abed. I see what you mean, but I hadn't reacted to it that way myself partly because I thought it was a one-episode joke that could have been given to any of the characters (except that he happens to be the one doing film). I think you may be right that it was a little more fixated on his 'oddness' though, but the rest of them were so busy being crazier (to my mind!) that I hadn't noticed.

they get the guy with the face of an angelic 8 year old to prove it. Haha!
Hee, so true! Actually, his babyface works really well as a foil for his manipulative ways... ;)
deaver: Jack Peacefuldeaver on November 16th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
Yes to everything you said. Isn't it great to have them back (even if I do really still miss some of the old faces.) Regarding your question about teams not practicing punting/kicking, etc. Generally, with a small team like the Lions most people end up having to play multiple positions (often the same players will be on offense as well as defense - my brother did for all 4 of his high school playing years) so there just isn't time to practice it all. I assume that with this almost entirely new to football team coach is having enough trouble just getting most of the team to know where they are supposed to be on the field during a particular play, let alone take much time to work with Landry on his kicking skills.

Also, because Landry has played for Coach for awhile now, Coach probably assumes he can be more independent than some of the rest. As the team gets better at the basics, though, I would assume they will work more on the finer points.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on November 24th, 2009 10:36 am (UTC)
I can definitely see that Coach would view Landry as being able to take care of himself a bit... yeah, I see what you're saying. Thanks! Coach seems to have such an insane amount to deal with... it must be really disorienting for him to be in this position after all his years with more established teams.
Fleegull: LylaGunfleegull on December 13th, 2009 09:49 am (UTC)
American football seems really dumb if they don't at least practise kicking occasionally! are they just really not into multiskilling? Yet Coach is always moving people around. *confused*

There are kicking camps but overall, it's not used as much as running, throwing and catching the ball, You can have a great team even if none of the players can kick the ball worth a damn. Since Coach was all about building up the team, I could see him focusing more of his energy on the fundamentals.

However, I recognise that family churchgoing is something I know very little about. It's hard for me to understand why anyone would want someone to go to church who didn't really believe... but I guess it really is just a custom for some people.

It's also Texas, church is huge in the South. I find it refreshing to see religion shown as a normal pat of family life since tv either ignores it or makes it an evil entity when most religious people are perfectly sane. I'm an atheist, my mother is an atheist but I remember her saying that you need to have faith in something to get through life, even if it's faith in a tree and I agree with that and I can understand a parent wanting a child to have an anchor to help her get through the rough patches, maybe it's church, maybe it's not but it needs to be something.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL girlsbop_radar on December 14th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
even if it's faith in a tree
Hee! That is adorable. Yes, good point, the 'anchor' aspect is probably where Tami is coming from. She's a very centred person herself so I guess it's worked for her. She also clearly wants to be accepting of her daughter, but if she doesn't know where else that faith and centre could come from, then I can see she'd get anxious about the drift from the church.