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Archive for the ‘Friday Night Lights’ Category

So. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The GOOD news is that there are some fantastical, magical, should-be-riding-on-unicorns shows on television in 2010. Some of those babies are so adored and beloved that their safety is secure. The bad news is that because of your neglect (yes, you. It’s your fault. I have a TV blog, I watch enough to cause social services to take my kids away.) some of them may very well be canceled before 2010 is out.

Fact: Earthquakes suck. FACT: Being financially stable enough to help people is awesome. Fact: Good TV can be saved too. Let’s do this.

5.  Better Off Ted (Tuedays 8:30/7:30pm, ABC)


Ah, yes. My panicked warbling about ABC’s (dare I say it?) quirkiest show continues. Great, snug writing, fantastically weird and likable characters, a setting that is just bursting with possible story ideas, Better Off Ted is a dream of a workplace comedy, capable of cheerfully zinging the ridiculousness of massive conglomerates in the same beat that a crazily-coiffed magician named Mordor the Unforgivable gets shot with a harpoon gun. Even this show on its worst day is far-and-away better than the middling sitcom fare you’ll find on CBS these days. At least tell Charlie Sheen to take a hike for God’s sake. Clear up some programming time for Ted instead (see what I did there? Classic Lemon).

4. Parks and Recreation (Thursdays 8:30/7:30pm, NBC)

One of the all-time best turnaround stories for a network comedy. When Parks and Rec first aired last year, I made it through two episodes before I had to stop watching. Despite my love for Amy Poehler, watching her grating, Tracy Flick-esque Leslie Knope stumble, crash and burn amongst coworkers and townspeople who seemed to despise her was too much for me. (That episode where she’s flagellated in a town hall meeting in front of her mother? Just painful.) And then… and then someone (probably Beal) told me to take another look at the show when season 2 came around. So I did. A few weeks back, I sat down and caught up on Parks and Rec. And then I proceeded to watch every episode back to back in the span of three days.

What’s different? Leslie Knope is now completely lovable. Sure, she’s still got her high-falutin’ ambitions but it’s tempered with a lot more self-awareness, a healthy dose of idealism and hard work. Instead of her begging for Anne’s friendship, you can tell Anne adores her. And Louis C. K as her boyfriend-cop? Adorable. The episode with Megan Mulally as a slutty, malicious bureaucrat for the library? Fantastic. And that damned Christmas episode made me tear up.

3. Friday Night Lights (Fridays 8:00/7:00pm, NBC)


Here’s how good this show is and I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a wall when I bring it up. My dad, holed up for weeks after surgery, got the first season of FNL thanks to his third and doting daughter’s recommendation. Cut to three weeks later. My mother, who is incapable of staying up past ten minutes of any show (something about the lull of the voices, the softness of the couch? Or maybe the fact that she gets up at 5am every day) is rabidly asking me when the show is coming back on NBC (DirectTV has shouldered the production costs with NBC, so it gets the new episodes first. I love you, DirectTV). My dad reports that she is obsessed. He even caught her sneaking upstairs to watch an episode while he napped and rested. When I brought up the scene where Smash learns he’s going to college, she choked up. And my father is just as hooked.

Returns to NBC on April 30th. Rent the first three seasons on Netflix. Email me a nice thank-you card when you’re done.

2. Lost (Tuesdays 8:00/7:00pm, ABC)


If you’ve been watching this show, then I don’t need to convince you to do anything. You’ll watch. You might shake your fist at Obama’s State of the Union if it pre-empts it too. Lost for us TV geeks is the very definition of appointment television (and there is far too little appointment television these days.)

For those of you who haven’t watched it- look, don’t be turned off by the “mysteries” and the “clues” and the “LEXICON.” It’s a show. A damned good show. The acting is good, the twists are great and when Lost is good? It’s very, very, very good. I could personally give a damn about what the polar bear symbolizes. To me, this is a twisted, funky show about a whacked out, magical island and the very flawed people stuck on it. The end. Watch it because it’s fun. And because I think this whole plan to map out the story and end it this year was a brilliant one (and something serial dramas should always do. Hello, shows-that-spin-out-of-control-toward-the-end-because-they-have-no-direction! Yes, Alias. I am talking to you.)

This is a big year for Lost. The last season. And there’s still time! Hole up for a few weekends, catch up and don’t get bogged down in all the extra stuff.

Returns to ABC on February 2nd.

1. The Tonight Show with CONAN O’BRIEN (Mon-Fri 11:30/10:30, NBC)

I have seen every single episode of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show, which would be a laudable feat if it had lasted the usual tenure of 10-15 years on air. It looks as if Coco’s run, however, will be capped at a measly 7 months. Catch up on the whole story here, just in case you’ve been on Mars for the last week and missed it.

I’ve tweeted and Facebooked and languished over every bit of news and every awkward and hilarious and awful and painful late night segment about the debacle since it all started with Heir Zucker’s announcement to move Jay Leno back to 11:30pm. I am, quite frankly, too sick at heart to talk about it for much longer. Suffice it to say, my perspective of the situation is merely one of a devoted fan. Like so many others, I’ve been watching Conan O’Brien for years and years, for so long that when he saw his dream of hosting The Tonight Show realized, I was beyond thrilled for him. He’s talented, he’s paid his dues and he deserved it. To see it taken from him just hurts.

I don’t care to dissect the reasons or the secret reasons behind the lineup changes or why we hate Jay and love Conan and what it means for comedy and for NBC. It’s all been said to death. Suffice it to say, Conan did not have enough time to secure his legacy with The Tonight Show or to prove himself in the ratings. We’ll miss him and we hurt for him. And wherever he goes, we’ll go. Simple as that.

The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien could very well end on Friday Jan. 22nd. Watch it until the fat lady sings or I will stab you in the face.

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matt_saracenShow: Friday Night Lights

Character: Matt Saracen

Played By: Zach Gilford

Basically: In the pilot episode of NBC’s completely undervalued, critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights high school football superstar and All-American quarterback Jason Street (Dillon, TX’s answer to Tom Brady in that Tom Brady is the only real football player I know) is paralyzed during a game. And, yes, this is a tragedy anywhere but in Dillon, this is a TRA-GE-DY, like call the National Guard and get the Red Cross on the phone. In Dillon, like pretty much everywhere in Texas, high school football is I.T., it’s the livelihood of the town, its pulse, it IS Friday Night and it’s always football season. So, losing Street is devastating. But it’s especially devastating to his back-up quarterback, Matt Saracen, who hasn’t had to play for the Panthers all that much and, in point of fact, isn’t that solid of a football player.

Which isn’t to say that Matt doesn’t have skill, but he’s pretty much the guy who sweeps up the hall after The Last Supper. Which means suddenly, this poor, skinny kid has the pressure and expectations of an entire town thrust upon him. Oh, yeah- he’s also got a deadbeat mom who left him when he was young, a father who would rather be in Iraq than be a parent and he’s the caretaker for his invalid grandmother, who adores him but is sadly falling into dementia. Along with school, a job, dating the coach’s daughter and being just seventeen years old, it’s a little much. I get nauseous just thinking about it.

Why We’re Rooting For Matt: List a way for a person to be considered an underdog and Matt’s got it. He’s poor (check), he’s constantly being overlooked (check), he’s got a town who doesn’t really believe in him (check), parents who are always leaving him (check), etc etc. And yes, this all sounds very Sad-Sacky McGee but what’s great about Matt is that, while he certainly gets overwhelmed by how shitty his young life is, he doesn’t give up- not ever. The year Jason Street got hurt, he worked his ass off and the team won the state championship. When they wanted to put his grandmother in a home, he found a way to help her. When his flaky mother showed up and asked for a second chance, Matt, though warily, let her try. When his coach sidelined him in his senior year to town pressure to start a hot-shot freshman? He thought about quitting and, instead, went out for another position, worked his ass off AGAIN and make it back onto the field. He’s mature, thoughtful and beyond-sweet. When Coach, realizing that his hotshot freshman is too green for the state championship, he sidelines him at half and puts Matt back in as quarterback. When Matt evens the score of the final game, our collective TV hearts stop beating, and when he just barely fails to get them the win? It’s crushing and real and awful, in part because of how much we want it for him. Characters like this make for great TV and if you haven’t had the chance to watch this show, you should. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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by Judi

Oh, CALAMITY. I will admit to being one of those faithful viewers who gets all the giddy at the prospect of a Very Special Episode, especially when that Very Special Episode involves words like “murder, shooting, stabbing, rape and betrayal.” You know, the kinds of cheery topics that just scream sitcom. If we’re lucky, the best life-threatening predicaments bring on an emotional outburst or two, maybe a touching montage or a series of emotional flashbacks. In other words, they bring about things that I eat up with a spoon. Oh yeah, and they are also unusually superior episodes, rife with actual tension and set the plot in a new, very exciting direction.

I had a hard time narrowing down my choices for this list. Other top contenders included Lost (Michael shoots Libby and Ana Lucia), Arrested Development (Buster’s “coma”), House (pretty much every season finale- they really like putting their cast in mortal peril), and Roseanne (Dan’s heart attack). And now, the juicy little episodes that made the final cut.

5. Golden Girls– Rose’s heart attack in “Home Again, Rose (1 & 2)” (1992)

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Center a hit sitcom around a group of feisty old broads and you just know that one of them will, eventually, have a heart attack or some kind of major health crisis. Had it been acerbic Sophia (who suffered a heart attack in the first season, before our love truly had time to develop), eye-rolling Dorothy or lusty Branche, it would’ve been devastating for sure- but soft-hearted, mush-brained Rose? Oh, man. Nothing gets you more ferklempt than when that group of feisty old broads tear up and admit their fears of losing their sweet, much-mocked friend. Add a little tension with Rose’s bitchy daughter who disapproves of how her mother has chosen to live out her golden years and the fact that they can’t even get in to to see Rose because they aren’t “family” and, and- I’m sorry, there’s something in my eye. Talk amongst yourselves.

Watch clip

4. Beverly Hills 90210– Donna almost gets raped in”Love Hurts” (1995)

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As soon as I hit 90210 on the show list, I had to pause. Because, really, there are just SO MANY life-threatening predicaments to choose from. And sure, I could’ve gone with Victim Supreme (that would be Kelly “Never Saw a Soap Tragedy She Didn’t Like” Taylor) or maybe Andrea cooing over her premie baby in the hospital or Brenda talking down a lighter-holding Emily Valentine but I have to admit that Donna’s near-rape is possibly my favorite. It could have something to do with Tori Spelling’s bleached bob phase, the ultra-’90s outfit of baby-T with suspenders combo, but the kicker is that David saves her with a baseball bat, all because Donna tells “Dave” that everything’s all right and there’s not really a knife-wielding rapist in her bedroom. David kicks in the door, Donna’s sacred treasure is spared to turn down abusive Ray Pruitt a few more times, and all across America, girls call their friends to let them know what their “A rapist is in my room” code-word will be. (In case you’re wondering, Beal and I have already talked about it and she knows that if I call her “Melissa”, it’s time to break down the door).

In other news, I am SHOCKED that this clip isn’t on Youtube. Shocked and dismayed that while all the 90210 fans are busy setting fan videos of Donna and David clips to old Sarah Mclachlan songs, no one has put the “Dave” clip up for my viewing pleasure. Inexcusable.

3. West Wing– Josh is shot in “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 1” (2000)

West Wing could’ve gone the usual route with their assassination-attempt episodes at the start of the show’s second season- God knows the situation is emotional enough already. The president has been shot but Josh has been shot too, just a pure knife to the heart right there. I could watch that scene of First Lady Rizzo comforting his assistant Donna and still be satisfied but then they throw in all these flashbacks about how Bartlett’s team was assembled during the campaign. We get to see Toby recruit CJ, Donna basically worm her way into working for Josh just by pretending he’d already hired her, and, the best, Josh going to recruit Sam at his fancy schmancy law firm after Bartett wins him over with an off-the-cuff town hall speech that proves he’s “the real deal.”

2. ER– Carter and Lucy get stabbed in “All in the Family” (2000)

My relationship with ER was pretty rocky when hot Luca replaced hot Clooney on the world’s longest running medical drama but even I had to tune in for this one- the scenario is simple enough- Carter and Lucy (Becca!) are stabbed and lay bleeding to death in a dark exam room while, outside, everyone parties down, completely oblivious. When Carrie Weaver finds them and ushers them into the ER, you can practically feel the usual adrenaline rush get kicked up a few notches as the nurses and doctors work frantically to save their friends. They save Carter but lose Lucy, whose death scene is heartbreaking as she tells Elizabeth Corday not to be sad or guilty that they couldn’t save her. But I think my favorite shot would have to be the one of Benton, Carter’s long-suffering mentor, barreling down the stairs and pushing past people after he’s heard the news.  Awe-some.

1. Friday Night Lights– Jason is paralyzed in “Pilot” (2006)

Friday Night Lights starts off with a bang, no-holds barred, when quarterback superstar Jason Street goes for a tackle with his head down and ends up on a stretcher. In Texas, as the show and the Billy Bob Thorton-movie it was based on tell us, high school football is king. So, yeah, losing your star player, an All-American, to a life in a wheelchair is pretty much the biggest tragedy you can think of. And of course, this is just where Friday Night Lights is getting started. Suddenly, Dillon, Texas has a fallen hero, an underdog coach, a devastated town and a second-string quarterback who’s never been on the field. And I find myself in love with a show about football even though I could care less about football.

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by Judi

(*Note: Everyone is clearly dying all around us. Run for your lives.)

I basically came up with today’s Top Five topic and immediately, I was hit with WAY too many possibilities. Seriously, there have been some bat-shit crazy plot twists over the years. It was tough to narrow down the list to just five but pretty easy to distinguish what made the list- any time I sat on my couch, eyes wide, and the words, “What the HELL just happened?” And not in a good way.

5. Friday Night Lights– Landry and Tyra Kill Her Rapist- Season 2 (2007)

I’ve been a big-time supporter of Friday Night Lights for a while now and let me just say that it is REALLY hard to promote a show that you’ve been hailing as “realistic”, “gritty” and “so so GOOD” when the second season gives us THIS- nerd Landry and reformed-hobag Tyra kill her almost-rapist. And then they try to cover it up. And then they hook up. And then they forget about it. What?

I’m not the only one who considers Season 2 a giant blunder of epic proportions (and now, as a devoted FNL supporter, it is my solemn duty to inform you that Season 3 was AWESOME and please watch the next season, please please please- ahem), largely due to this LUDICROUS storyline that sought to turn Dillon, TX into the next Genoa City.

4. Bones– Zack is a cannibal’s apprentice in “The Pain in the Heart” (2008)

To their credit, the powers behind Bones tried to warn us early on in season three about the dangers of the “completely rational person.” Because, as they explain, the completely rational person is not moved by emotion but by pure logic. Give them a convincing reason to kill and they could kill, without remorse.

Yeaaaah, ok. I kind of get it. But explain to me how we went from “kill” to “becoming a cannibalistic serial killer’s APPRENTICE”? In the third season ender of Bones, we learn that Gormogon, the serial killer who likes to kill and eat your nibbly bits, actually had help inside the Jeffersonian lab. And that would be- Zack. Precocious boy genius. Temperance Brennan’s favorite student, so like her in intellgence and rational thought, adored by all as something akin to the class mascot. Who suddenly was INSANE.

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That overwhelming sound you heard two years ago? That was a gaggle of Bones fans yelping, “WHAT? Seriously?! Aw, does that mean Zack’s not coming back??”

3. Dawson’s Creek– Dawson’s dad Mitch bites it while eating an ice cream cone in “Capeside Revisited” (2001)

Just like people always remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, I will always remember where I was when Mitch Leery died by ice cream cone. I was sitting in my dorm room and I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging over. Almost immediately, I heard a chorus of, “What the FUCK?” down the hall (which was pretty typical for a Wednesday night- Dawson’s Creek episode but louder than usual) and my phone rang. It was my sister, who immediately launched into, “Um, did they just kill Dawson’s dad WITH AN ICE CREAM CONE?”

In case you missed it the first time around, he wasn’t assaulted by Butter Pecan or anything. No, happy-go-lucky Mitch Leery was driving his car, munching away on his cone and singing along to the radio when he dropped his delicious tasty treat on the floor. He then bent down to get it and his car got hit by a truck. Commence flash of light. Commence this expression for three subsequent episodes. Commence “What the FUCK?” everywhere.

If you want to see something amazing, Google search "Dawson crying" and you will be hit with a WHOLE WALL of this exact photo

If you want to see something amazing, Google search "Dawson crying" and you will be hit with a WHOLE WALL of this exact photo. It's INCREDIBLE.

Pacey’s right. It was clearly the ice cream cone’s fault. (In an unrelated note, I really miss the old WB promo voice.)

2. Robin Hood– Here’s an idea- LET’S KILL MAID MARIAN in “We Are Robin Hood” (2007)

Ok, first of all- let me just say that I am still so ANGRY about this little development, that even looking up the episode on TV.com filled me with the kind of rage I usually reserve for the likes of Donald Trump and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” newsletter. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the most recent atrocity so the BETRAYAL is still fresh in my mind or if it has something to do with my somewhat pathological obsession with the Robin Hood story ever since I was a little girl.

Whatever the case may be, the decision to kill Marian in the second season ender? I was deeply, deeply infatuated with the BBC’s newfangled “Robin Hood” series- it was so, so BRITISH and like slightly campy but a bit closer to HBO’s Carnivale than those shows like Hercules or Xena. In other words, I was completely hooked to the point of downloading episodes onto my ancient laptop to watch on a cross-country train trip when I moved to Chicago. This is the type of show-obsession where I used to sit anxiously on the edge of my couch, waiting for it to come on, pillow clutched in my lap, DO NOT CALL ME RIGHT NOW. We’ve all had shows like this, you know you have too, and I was ENTRENCHED. So, when the big reveal of “who dies in the season finale” turned out to be, well, HER? I was furious. I threw things. I sat there, gaping, too stunned for swear words. I vowed never to watch the show ever ever again in my life. I’m clearly still not over it. HOW DO YOU KILL MAID MARIAN IN A SHOW ABOUT ROBIN HOOD? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? Ok, I’m done now GOD.

I don’t even want to show a picture or a video or anything. Let’s move on- still SO ANGRY.

1. Roseanne– The entire last part of the show was a LIE in “Into That Good Night (2)”

roseanne_cast

Oh, Roseanne. Few shows jumped the shark as neatly as Roseanne (I have to tread carefully here. We’re in Bealtown now and I’m pretty sure there’s a statue of the Connors in the town square. Them’s fightin’ words) in its latter seasons. You can actually mark the dividing line of When Roseanne was very good and When Roseanne was unwatchable at “The Connors win the lottery.” As soon as I see that it’s one of those gauzy, leather chair-episodes, I change the channel immediately. Maybe Seinfeld was right to go out on top after all.

I’m a big believer in epilogues. I think the ending to a long-running show is important and not to be glossed over. After all, we the viewers have stuck with you, the show, for almost a decade, if the show is lucky enough to live that long. Give us closure, give us a satisfying end. Sure, ok, make Bob Newhart wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshett. Cute. Clever. Precious. We all preferred Suzanne anyway.

But no. Do not sit in a basement and tell me that the last few years have been a lie. Don’t mess with my mind and tell me Darlene was with Mark and David with Becky. Don’t reveal that it was Jackie was gay, not hilarious Bev (though seriously, I think we all knew Jackie was gay right?). But there’s one point, in particular, where you simply do not go.You don’t kill Dan Conner. No, you can’t. That’s a seriously heartbreaking twist right there and one we pretty much, as a NATION, rejected immediately. No, no, no, no.

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by Judi

heroes-cast-3

Really? You’re keeping Heroes but you might not renew Medium? REALLY? It’s like finding shit on your shoe and THROWING OUT THE SHOE. Who does that?

I don't know what's going on here but I find it highly amusing and it solidifies my point. Thanks.

I don't know what's going on here but I find it highly amusing and it solidifies my point. Thanks.

You’ll bring back Law & Order: SVU but maybe without Benson and Stabler? Really? You think that’s really going to work? Do you think we watch that show just for a few brief seconds of Munch and Cragen? WE DON’T. We watch it because Stabler might punch someone in the face and then Olivia will need to lie about it.

You seem like a nice man and we both love "Top Gear" but no, no, NO.

You seem like a nice man and we both love "Top Gear" but no, no, NO.

Jay Leno five nights a week? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO. That’s five hours a week of programming dedicated to a man whose comedy is so obsolete, it’s not even welcome when you’re standing in an endless checkout line at the supermarket, wondering if anyone finds those stale “Headlines” jokes remotely amusing anymore and do we REALLY need small TV screens at THE SUPERMARKET? I love television but COME ON. And oh my God, Kirstie is on the cover of People and her poodle is insane, what is happening to this world?

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Celebrity Apprentice. No. Stop it. I mean it, you’re embarrassing me. STOP IT. In a related rant- remember a few years ago when feminists everywhere were all “we’re going to take the word ‘bitch’ back! And we’re going to OWN it now!” And that didn’t really work because taking back words is not really a solid plan, ever? I still I think we should try it now. I think we should get Jolie and Pitt and Clooney and Roberts and Lance Armstrong together and force them to reclaim the titles “celebrity” and “stars” so that network honchos will no longer boost their middling reality and game show fare with such claims. It is not Dancing With the Stars. It’s more like “Dancing with Has-Beens and Hacks and People Who Sign Photos at The Mall” and it is not Celebrity Apprentice so much as “What’s His/Her Name Again? Apprentice.” Someone please stop the insanity. Let’s take back the night. Let’s take back EVERY NIGHT, starting on NBC from 10 to 11PM.

I miss you, Conan. So so much.

Sincerely,

Judi

PS Thank you for renewing Friday Night Lights. It’s like we went to couples counseling and you’re still not doing most of the major things we discussed necessary for you to become a better partner but you ARE clipping your toenails in the bathroom now. I’ll take it where I can get it, thank you.

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picture-13Yayayayayayayay!

– Judi

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A 2-season renewal for Friday Night Lights? PLEASE GOD LET THIS BE TRUE!

– Judi

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