Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Swear to God, Somebody Plays on Defense

Friday Night Lights: Keeping Up Appearances
Season 3, Episode 7

Holy crap! This season is now over half over! I didn't have a problem with the strike-shortened season two, given that it was killing my love of this show. But didn't Jason Katims and crew let DirecTV and NBC know they were going to make it good again this year? I mean the show has always compressed things, massively compressing the football season to focus on the things happening off the field. But damn, doesn't Dillon play AAAAA Texas football? Shouldn't there regular season be 10 games long? How much football are we missing and are they all just 35-10 blowout victories? But more important than the games, things are just incredibly compressed this season. And with focusing four episode long arcs on the final stories for both Smash and Street... well times running down pretty quick. While still a decent episode, I personally miss Julie and Matt, but hey one less episode of Tyra and her moronic decision to date a rodeo cowboy instead of focusing on her goal of going to college... yeah, I can deal with it.

The idea of keeping up the false pretenses and trying to pull one over on people or yourselves, prevails through a lot of this episode. Joe McCoy and Eric pretending they both don't pretty much loathe the other. General rule of thumb when someone with the ultimate smug smile pulls it out and cuts off your apology quickly before you make your point... he doesn't really mean it. This is one of the more engaging storylines of the year because Joe can't be forgiven because of his pure love of the Panther team and he really doesn't want to be friendly with Eric (like Buddy does) except to push JD continually to the forefront.

I have a couple problems with the introduction of JaMarcus Hall, the team's fullback, who is hiding the fact that he plays football from his parents and with Tami and Coach's help convincing them to let him play. First, that they introduce a yet another player (who we very well might never see again) and STILL don't make him a defender just bugs me. An entire new dimension could be added to the games and practices if it seemed like Eric or any of the assistants ever called a defender to task over something. And while Eric and Tami both are impressive visiting the boys parents, it's just too convenient that this character that we've never even heard of before takes the game over to such a significant degree this week.

Devin, the new bassist of Crucifitorious who can apparently pull songs out of her head, seems like an obvious set-up for a love interest for Landry, except she's doesn't want anybody to learn she's more fond of the ladies. It's not the best performance, but her attitude is at least a change of pace, seeing a couple people in school who's lives don't revolve so much around football. Although it's nice to see Landry get a confidence boost from Tami, who is just firing on all cylinders in the advice categories this week.

Buddy and his kids pretending everything is fine despite obviously growing in different directions makes us feel a bit for the character. But having the love of Panther football bring them together... well that's just a little convenient. I suppose it can be justified that the two younger children (visiting from California where they live with their mom) aren't really as different and unforgiving as they seem, but are just rebelling against their cheating father.

Jason and his crew's struggles to sell the house is the least involved storyline and I would prefer if this happened in a week when a bit more was happening in the other plots. It would probably be better if their sale didn't seemingly fall from the sky into their hands. And even the very thin developments in their story needs to be padded to fill time with Street helping best buddy Tim make a highlight video to get into college. It's tough to get too involved especially when everything (including the happenstance meeting with a New York based agent... hmm...) seems to be just getting the chess pieces in place for Street's final episode. And the finale with him out by the pool with former girlfriend Lyla (who is surprisingly stand-able this week) trying to talk himself into being a sports agent or something, but definitely not in Dillon, makes a great final set-up.

Final score: 2.5 score out of 5 (just can't get too worked up over yet another game decided on the final play)

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