Serial Watcher – Friday Night Lights – Episode 1-15

Things are starting to get intense over at Dillon, as the Panthers make their way to the playoffs, but might also start a path to self destruction.

This week’s episode started with a scene that would normally be the closing scene the final minutes of the panthers’ game, as Matt and Smash run the play that wins the game for the Panthers and sends them to the playoffs. But the victory celebrations are cut short when Mac, an assistant coach, makes some racial comments on camera and things start to go down.
Here’s the problem with racists they don’t always know they’re racists. And Mac is in that position. What he sees as professional opinion can’t be interpreted as anything other than racist, as he specifically makes a distinction between the Black guys on the roster and the white ones. And when makes a half-assed apology the next day the shit really hits the fan. Tami tries to clear the air with an open form, that just turns into another confrontation between white and blacks and when Smash gets put down by Mac he leads all the black players (Is it okay to call them “Black Panthers”, given the circumstances and historic connotation?) in a mutiny to end the show. Seems like Smash is willing to throw away coach Taylor’s support in order to make a point our little Smash is growing up.

The secondary plotline dealt with Tyra and Julie’s punishment for cutting class being forced to participate in an all girl’s football game. Matt and Riggins are the coaches and while Matt makes every possible relationship mistake, including picking Julie third for his team, they seem to be on the road to reconciliation as the game ends and their team wins. While this going, Tyra finds out that her mom and lyla’s dad may be getting a little too close, which results in a very hard tackle (All that’s missing was Tyra yelling “In you face, BITCH!”).

These sound like standard plotlines, something we’ve seen hundreds of times before and nothing special. However, this is where Friday Night Lights excels taking things that seem ordinary and make them look good. It started with Jason’s injury and in the pilot and continues throughout the season. They’re not re-inventing the wheel; they’re not bringing us a brave new concept or a breathtaking story. They’re taking the basic small town scenario and story and make it interesting. They have lots of characters that mesh well together, the storylines are realistic and well written and the actors are doing a great job delivering them. I also love the very authentic feel of the show and the unique camera work that makes it look like a real documentary, NFL Films style and not like a scripted show that tries to look like a documentary (like The Office).

In the coming weeks we’re gonna follow that Panthers playoffs adventures and the fallout from this week’s racial tension. These storylines may have their fair share of clichés, but those clichés will be done well.

Sir Linksalot: Television News