Well, here’s the deal: I’m not really much of a blogger. Is blogging like clogging? I’m not much of a clogger either, actually. But I did tell my friend Dalton at EW that I would blog for episode 303 of Friday Night Lights, and so I’ve been trying to figure out what that means. I started by re-watching the episode. And MAN, there are some great freaking actors on our show! So while I’m not sure if this counts as a legitimate blog, I’d just like to give a little revelatory shout-out to them as I watch this show….
Let’s start at the beginning, where we have our white trash section of Dillon…the strange amalgam of the Riggins brothers, and the Collette women. There’s nothing better than watching these great actors riff on a quintessentially Texas set like the one at Hills Cafe where they are dancing to a little country-western music. These Texas locations really make the show, and so do these actors. As Tim and Billy (played by Taylor Kitsch and Derek Phillips) drive off, talking about how much the Collettes can eat, we enter into the other side of the white trash world they live in…the scary side. I get really freaked watching some of the stuff Billy pulls Tim into…pretty crazy for a 17 year old, and you feel that every step of the way. Moving onto the football field, we meet creepy Joe McCoy, played by D.W. Moffett. Right from the beginning you can tell he is going to be one diabolical dude!
Next up is a scene with me and Kyle-my TV husband-Chandler. Any scene that starts with, “I don’t give two farts about the booster’s anxiety” is okay by me. And we had a good time shooting this scene, because Kyle thought he was soooo funny putting one over on me (Tami) about the booster BBQ by saying, “I promise that maybe we’ll have it somewhere else” when I ask if we can not have it at our house next year. He thought his “maybe” promise, followed by a big smooch was hilarious.
I love the next scene at Smash’s house. Just another example of being invited into these people’s world so intimately. And have you noticed how these scenes are shot? You really do feel like a fly on the wall. Our camera crew rocks…they find all these shots and we barely know they’re there.
The scene at the supermarket was the first scene with Janine Turner, and she was a blast! She came in with her big long press-on nails, all dressed to the nines, and perfect, and, poof, Tami had a friend! Of course, as soon as poor Tami finally has a friend to play with, mean old Coach Taylor comes along and ruins it. He thought he was pretty funny in this scene too, telling me I’d been played (what does that even mean?!) and managing to get in there that when he told me we could have the BBQ somewhere else, he was “pretty much just telling me what I wanted to hear anyway.”
Alright, I’ve just got to give a little shout-out to Blue Deckert who plays Mac Macgill, assistant coach, in the next football scene. I love watching him in every scene he ever has, even if it’s just a few lines. He and Kyle are great together.
And we don’t get to see a lot of Landry (Jesse Plemons) in this episode either, but he is always ridiculously amazing to watch, and even in this scene where he is trying to convince Saracen to work on his image (be more “young and hip”), he’s just awesome. Love that guy! Oh, in this episode, we actually see Gracie Belle! I love Gracie Belle, or rather, all three Gracie Belles. She is actually played by triplets…Cailin, Madeline, and Jocelyn. I love those little sweeties! Okay, the next scene with the Collettes and the Riggins is classic. Don’t miss the conversation about “pervy” cousin Floyd right at the beginning. Stacey Oristano, who plays Mindy is such a genius comic actress, and her reciting her vows from Finding Nemo and then Lyla’s (Minka Kelly) response are hilarious. Everyone here is so funny…Rigs saying, “Sweet fish”? Dana Wheeler-Nicholson who plays Tyra’s mom, saying, “We are going home where life is not so prissy and judgey”? And Lyla driving away, “Watch your feet”? Love it! Kyle and I could not get through shooting the scene with the valet, we were laughing so hard. We both thought it was hysterically funny that he refuses to let the valet park the car. And he in fact would not stop the car and let me out for some time.
I like the scene with Matt and Julie making fun of J.D. McCoy’s trophies, and him busting them with his “bronzed diaper” line. A good introduction to that character, who will struggle with being the entitled outsider.
And we don’t get much of Adrianne Palicki (Tyra) in this episode, though she gets to do some awesome stuff this season. But seeing her here with Lyla, who has been her nemesis, is really fun. You can tell she’s grown up a bit, since she actually apologizes after her “rally girl and free six-pack” line.
Derek Phillips as Billy is so darn good this season, too. The scene with Tim and the copper wire where he talks about how he “needs this” cuz “there ain’t no football games and rally girls” anymore for him is just so great. And that’s real Texas sweat on those boys! The football sequence in this episode, directed by Dean Winters, really represents what I love about our show. The shots are so beautiful whether you’re a football lover or not (me, not so much!). It’s a palette of characters and colors. As I watch I wonder if Zach Gilford (Saracen) was sick when we shot…his voice is definitely hoarse, though it could be from all that yelling. And perfectly typical of our show, he gets to be such a badass in this game, and still, there is heartbreak in the end. The scene following with Aimee Teegarden (my TV daughter Jules) and Zach is such great payoff too, in the simplest way. “They made me employee of the month at Alamo Freeze…again.” That really says it all.
Okay, then, here we go…I defy anyone to get through the scene with Smash (Gaius Charles) and his mom (Liz Mikel) without crying. We are deep in the arc of discovering Smash’s future here, and these last scenes with him were really emotional for everyone anyway, since we knew we were saying goodbye to an actor and character we love. But Liz Mikel…that woman kills me. Is she not the fiercest mother you have ever seen? “You let me be your mama, that is my job.” Yes, it is, Liz, and, man, you do it well.
Another one of my favorite scenes of the episode is the next one, with Buddy and Lyla and Tim. I’ve held off on mentioning Brad Leland (Buddy) till now, because once you start with him, there’s really so much to say. He’s just so fun to watch in everything. In this scene, though, to see him look like he’s about to smack Tim across the face, but then be completely cowed when Lyla comes out the door (“yes, honey”) is just so great, and perfectly typical of his range from toughness to vulnerability. And this scene with Tim and Lyla is so great, too. She challenges him. They challenge each other. Finally, at the end of the day (or show) we are all just doing the best we can. Each character just tries to find something or someone to hold onto. Amidst the shadows and darkness. It’s a pretty great ride.