13 August 2010

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Sometimes in life you fall into a relationship of convenience and then, just when you realize it was all a mistake, you can't get out of your rut. This summer, my rut is Friday Night Lights (the overrated TV, not the overrated book).

It started innocently enough--I missed college football and had blown through all the episodes of the Big Ten's Greatest Games that didn't involve my Michigan State Spartans suffering a terrible defeat. Why not watch a little of the most football-related show streaming on Netflix?

I've also been playing co-ed softball doubleheaders which, for me, results in more or less continuously pulled quads. (WTT PSA: Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be softball players. I'm only on my team because a previous member broke her ankle at first base and, last Tuesday, we won a game by forfeit when an opposing player slid into second base and wound up with a kneecap 90 degrees out of alignment. Better to participate in a low-risk sport, like boxing or base jumping.) And so, with my ice packs firmly in place for at least 43 minutes, I slink into the variable Texas accents of the Taylors, the Garritys, the Collettes, the Williamses, the Rigginses, the Saracens, the Clarkes and all their attendant Latinos.

The main reason to watch the show is the charming, even plausible, relationship between Coach Taylor, his wife Tami and their unfortunately-banged daughter, Julie. It's fun to watch to see two people who use the word "y'all" as much as Coach and Tami get into it with each other, their eyes glowering and affectionate. There's lots of nice scenes where Coach just wants to watch football on the couch and the ladies make him talk about some silly lady business but then, in spite of himself, he gets all worked up about the silly lady business.

Of course I also have some natural affection for (Sex) Panther Tim Riggins, as he shares with WTT a similar hair style (though, it should be noted, I'm much better looking). He draws the most attention for his lack of guile and the way he wears his rumpled cowboy shirts just so. If only he weren't saddled with an absurd long-term affection for the insufferable Lyla Garrity (the girl full of kindness and goodness that you hope gets it first in a slasher flick).

I have less use for Smash Williams, who is ineffective in pulling off the third person voice. I did enjoy the period where he was dating the preacher's daughter though. I loved Waverly because the sure sign that she had bipolar disorder was her dinnertable recitation of a Robert Hayden poem. Poetry memorization: only for the insane.

Matt Saracen's best feature is his tentativeness, the way his eyes never lock on to anyone. That and the fact that got over his break up with Julie by balling his grandmother's live-in Guatemalan maid.

Tyra Collette is sexy in a way that makes me think of a frecklier, elongated version of Kristin Cavalleri from Laguna Beach. She's perfect when sleeping around and callously torturing Landry Clarke in Season 1 but, lamentably, the writers seem intent of giving her a heart in Season 2. It was truer to my personal experience when Landry (in a shocking turn, the writers give the ugly nerd all the funniest lines!) just stared at Tyra and made aimless jokes about algebra.

Speaking of Season 2--remember when Landry killed a guy with a lead pipe?!? This points to the largest problem with the series (more so than the horrifically conceived and executed football footage): way, way too many big plot points. Having watched mostly HBO productions the last few years, I was unprepared for the amount of story that has to be squeezed into each episode of FNL. Every time you think a twist might be coming, it comes, and usually it comes within one commercial break of when you have the thought.

I probably won't continue on with the show after the second season because it has so many problems. Maybe I'll just watch the first bit of Season 3, just to see what's happened over the summer...

No comments: