Archive for Episode Three

Friday Night Lights (S03E03): “How the Other Half Lives”

Posted in Friday Night Lights, TV with tags , , , , , on October 19, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: A-

If Friday Night Lights doesn’t get renewed for another season, it won’t have been for quality reasons. This season came crashing out of the gates with a revamped and rejuvenated show and continues to maintain its steady course in “How the Other Half Lives”. The Panther’s may have lost their fictional game, but the episode is a win with the exception of a few very minor weak spots.

In football, tough calls have to be made on the fly, but the people of Dillon are all finding those hard choices playing out off the field in this episode. Coach Taylor is being made to choose between a boy he knows and one he doesn’t; a boy with crazy-mad drive and spirit and a boy with years of silver spoon-fed talent. Smash has to face his future and decide whether to go for his dreams by playing football at TMU or supporting his family by taking a promotion at the Alamo Freeze. And then Tim is finding his loyalty split between his brother and Lyla, and realizing having to choose between blood and love isn’t easy.

What makes Eric’s decision work so well is the way that the writer’s have decided to portray JD and the McCoys. Mr. and Mrs McCoy are the villains of the season, with their fake smiles and deep pockets, but their son may not be an apple from their tree even if they’ve slapped a coat of glossy, red paint on him. When Matt and Julie find JD’s “shrine” in his home at the big Panther party (hosted at the McCoy’s home rather than the Taylors, after the planning proves too stressful for principal Taylor), JD finds them and makes a little joke at his own expense about showing them his gold plated diaper. The coach probably says it best when accosted by Buddy, Mr. McCoy and others: He knows who Matt is, both as a person and as a player, but he knows very little about the very young JD, and though it doesn’t mean the kid isn’t good or that he doesn’t have all kinds of potential, he’s going to stick with his guy, Matt. This whole setup could make room for JD as an upcoming character, possibly to replace seniors like Matt, who could become a very likable addition to the cast. He just doesn’t seem like another VooDoo, meant only to serve as an antagonist, and outside of his headache inducing parents could be a really good character with a lot of baggage to bring to the pile.

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Pushing Daisies (S02E03): “Bad Habits”

Posted in Pushing Daisies, TV with tags , , , , on October 16, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: A

More than any other show on TV, I can count on Pushing Daisies to give me a reason to smile every week. That’s because Daisies has yet to truly let me down, even in its roughest weeks, and “Bad Habits” sticks to the very good habit of crafting an hour long escape that leaves my cheeks feeling the slightest bit tingly and my heart a little warmer.

Olive and Ned are both dealing with abandonment issues this week: Olive feeling abandoned emotionally by Ned, and Ned still not over being dropped to the curb by his father. Their separate but related issues collide when one of Olive’s sisters falls from a bell tower and she brings Emmerson, Ned and Chuck in to help solve the case. So these dilemmas are nothing new, but their finally coming face with them and with each other. Olive’s run away to keep her guard up and her secrets inside it, but she gets the chance to spill it all to Ned in the nunnery and can instantly feel a heavy burden pulled off her like a plastic bag from the head.

This season has demonstrated in more than one way its insistence on these characters to move forward, out of the past and into the future. The problem is that they’re scared of both their pasts, with all its dark corners, and their futures, clouded by uncertainties that point back to the past. Olive’s admissions to Ned and his subsequent apology to her, for not being the slightest bit sensitive to her feelings in his whirlwind romance with Chuck, allows her to finally move out of the past and toward that future.

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