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"Friday Night Lights:" Twists and Turns

January 5, 2008 | 11:14 am

Welcome back, Panther fans, and happy new year.

Must say I found it very easy to get sucked right back into FNL after the holiday break.

Nothing like a good injection of testosterone to get the Panther blood going again — those jerks from neighboring Larabee High, with their jerk coach, invading Panther-ville after a tornado sweeps through the area and levels the rival school.

No Panthers were affected by the twister, although Julie and Riggins were out shopping, and Riggins cradled Coach’s daughter in his arms while the windows of the store blew out. This yielded the most memorable line of the night, Julie’s friend Lois later asking dreamily: “What does he smell like?”

Riggins is the best-looking wastrel on TV. Lately he’d been staying with Coach, where last night he was touching off major hormonal activity in the Coach household — something bordering on soft porn, with Riggins as the cable guy.

He fixed their cable, you see. But later in the hour, after chivalrously getting a drunk Julie home from a party, Coach saw him tucking her in and thought the worst.

Thus did our Tim once again have to head out into that hard, dark Dillon night. Everyone wants him but who will take care of him?  FNL has been hitting this theme hard this season, maybe too hard at times. Riggins left the Taylors like he leaves every house he’s driven from: In his truck, wearing a martyr’s grin, those eyes crying out for a hug.

Meanwhile, seemingly 27-year-old high school senior Tyra broke up with newly un-guilty Landry, and slightly older Pam Garrity officially ended it with car dealer hubby Buddy. Of the former relationship, I found Tyra’s reasons for breaking up with Landry (in essence, you make me feel too much, too taken care of, I prefer flaky guys I don’t have to need) totally convincing.

Buddy’s plea to his wife (in essence, I love you) was comparatively thin on nuance. It did, however, put Coach Taylor and Buddy in a scene together, the two having a confab of mutual support in the laundromat.

Coach was stressed about the jerk coach with whom he had to share a practice field, while Buddy was laid low by the news that his cheatin’ ways was driving his wife to marry another man.

Of all the various pairings on FNL, Buddy and Coach is my favorite. The smooth-talking fixer and the hard-nosed moralist, both wanting to win so badly on Friday night. It’s a match made in Dillon.

Now go get dag-gum Larabee!

-- Paul Brownfield