Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Tao of Coach

"You are a molder of men."* And with that Tami summed up the whole Friday Night Lights ethos. Coach is more than a coach; this is more than football. Every decision he makes for these guys, could change everything for them. But he also has a job that requires winning games, and after Saracen's shattering and game-losing fumble last week, the pressure is on to play snotty nosed, football-savant JD McCoy. Forgive me for not feeling him, but I like my sport's heroes less programmed. (Yes, Cal Ripken has been playing ball since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, but, but, well, he's Cal Ripken!)

I prefer my sport's heroes more like Smash. Who will never forget his mama, or the Coach that made him grow up. I don't know if I believe that a coach at a football school like A&M, would have let Coach Taylor bully him into letting Smash have a walk-on, but I don't care. We got our something good happening.

After Corinna's stern reminder to Smash last week that she is the mama, and that he needs to mind his own business about how she raises her kids, I wanted so badly for her to see her son fulfill his promise. I didn't want Smash at the Alamo Freeze forever. What joy and relief when he got that call from A&M!

I have enjoyed seeing the id-controlled Smash of past seasons, who couldn't imagine a future different than the one that had been laid in front of him, come to grips with the obstacles that tripped up that perfect path. He's quieter, more thoughtful. Maybe he won't be as good of a football player, but he will be a better man.

His good bye to Coach was really something. And the guys in the car and on the field. This show, I tell you. If you could see me putting my hand on my heart and looking at you in that knowing way they do in the movies, the look that says, this moved me so I have to put my hand on my heart, you would understand what these scenes do to me.

In JumboTron news (I made it twoish words for Tami, but actually it is usually spelled Jumbotron), Tami lost. And despite Coach's early misgivings about Tami's fight, he became the principal's husband, the one she was looking for last week, and told her she was right and he meant it. He knows better than anyone that it is what happens on the field that matters, and the kids in the game, not the big screen it's being watched on.

Poor Tami wasn't even allowed to get angry about the whole shameful situation. Her bitter tears ran for every frustrated principal that can't get a damn thing done.

I wanted to hear her embarrass the board, but we didn't get that pleasure. She did "volunteer" Buddy for the chairmanship of a silent auction though. I'm finding Buddy actually makes me yell at the TV screen this season. I realize as the booster-wooer, he has a job to do, but his complete disregard for the human impact of, well, anything, makes him the antithesis of Coach and Tami. He's not good people.

Saracen was, as usual, dealing with his 40-year-old man problems in his 17-year-old life. More than any of the actors on this show, this kid really carries himself like a teenager. A teenager with a Grandma Saracen on his back. His mom reappeared this week, looking to make a few things right. I like that they are taking it slow, and he has a lot of life ahead of him to have a mother that loves him, so I hope she doesn't let him down.

Coach decided to start Saracen, but alternate plays between he and McCoy. It's a nice compromise that will hopefully keep him playing through the rest of his senior year.

Tyra ditched Landry again, officially, I guess. Poor kid. The rodeo guy is hot though and doesn't seem like a total jerk although he might be a bit of a pill enthusiast. I'm beginning to think the odds of Tyra getting out of Dillon are pretty slim. She might be the one left in the spray of dirt and gravel when everyone kicks out of town after graduation.

I realize, reading back over this that I talk a lot in my FNL recaps about these young guys growing into good men. It is of course, an overwhelming theme in the show, but why does it move me so? I am a woman. I have daughters. My husband, father and brothers are not deadbeats — quite the opposite actually. Is it that I think we value men who make good money over men who make good fathers and husbands? Is it the lack of real leadership from the men that have been in charge of this country, that has me preoccupied? Is it that I like a bit of decency to win out? All of it maybe. Anyway, it resonates. Next week, we find out what kind of man Jason Street has decided to be.

In blogging news: There will no new fresh episodes of Gossip Girl for four weeks, so no new fresh recaps. Maybe Tuesday I will finally write a product review of the greatest potato chip of all time. Doesn't that sound tasty!

* Loved that they were having this conversation at a bar after Coach needed to stop for a "scotch-flavored drink."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Aflutter with Procrastination

I know I haven't done my Friday Night Lights recap. I might not this week. Recaps are hard and I live my life for the easy way out. This explains so much. Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers Marathon Mama* is also having a bit of blog block, so today instead of blogging about running, as I should be blogging about Coach Taylor, she set about listing what sets her heart aflutter.

This subject is wonderful for so many reasons. First, I love lists. Second, very Valentine's-y. Third, the word aflutter! I love the actual ache, skip, twitter, that something lovely or welcome brings to my heart. The mind/body slow dance is transformative. Duuuude.

On with my list (it's very interactive today):

My daughter's oven bellies. So soft and toasty, like fireside marshmallows. Also, handy for warming my hands on, which they find hilarious.
And Mimi saying 'I love books,' when we go the library.
And the way they say 'That's my mama" or "my daddy." Shout outs are always appreciated.

Kip and Hana from The English Patient. The novel, not the movie.

Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. The novel and the 1995 BBC miniseries.

These boots. Still.

Rows and rows of cherry blossom trees.

Beautiful note cards. Not that I ever use them, but I love them.

Robert Creeley's essay "Nothing New." Maybe it sets my mind aflutter, more than my heart, but I read it in college and it's always stayed with me. Very relevant for right now, personally and globally.

Vosges chocolate.


A great story — book, movie, TV. (A lifelong aflutterer for me.)

The sea. This lake.

Winning any board game.


This and this together. And just this.


In blog news: I hope to keep writing three times a week, but I've been lagging. We will see what motivates this weekend. Now go think about what gets your heart racing.

* I read her blog for the writing. I am most certainly not a marathon runner.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kubrick Out

Half way through this episode of Gossip Girl, I told 'he who does not watch Gossip Girl' that it sucked. It picked up eventually, but seriously, could the Chuck story be lamer? Could I care less? I don't think so. Oh wait, I care less about Nate and Vanessa. I've done the impossible!

Women in feathered masks and lingerie servicing the elite in a big empty house is so pre-recession — aside from the real estate problems the mysterious owners of what appeared to be Gracie Mansion are having. (Is Bloomberg selling his place?) I realize that there needs to be some time off between Blair and Chuck to make us miss them, but the diversion of the hot nanny slash escort slash orgy-organizer is so colassally stupid. And it seriously chills all the warm fuzzies I have been nurturing for Chuck. His sex life is skeevy enough without A) orgies that make me think of Tom Cruise and B) bringing his father's peccadillos into the mix. Blerg to all that. 

Also, Chuck didn't have a single good line the whole episode and he actually looked unnerved after the phone call about Elle's disappearance. This Chuck is all wrong. 

Speaking of all wrong, what is with Rachel Carr? She's the dumbest teacher ever. And renter of the nicest-first-apartment-rented-by-a-teacher ever. Why do Dan Humphrey and Serena know where she lives? Why does Dan Humphrey know her subway routine? Props to him for acknowledging what a pain it is to get from his place to the Upper East though. Alas, still no explanation as to how they make this trip so quickly and often and briefly. Why is Dan Humphrey having breakfast with his teacher? My breakfast in high school was a waffle eaten while running up the driveway to catch the school bus. Needless to say I didn't go to Constance Billiard School for Sociopaths. 

I accept that Rachel is trying to nurture her students, but after you've been accused of knocking loafers with those students, it's best not to have romantic dinners with them. Call me wacky like that. I also think talking trash about other students is a bad idea. And rolling your eyes when your breakfast with the student you are clearly hot for is interrupted by a student who clearly admires you as an actual teacher, also not cool. So basically, I'm all for her getting fired. And the scene with Dan Humphrey and her at the end was hot. He's hot. Woot woot. 

Not hot is Danrena breaking up again and here's why: It's not that I didn't see it coming, it's that I am expected to believe it is for the last time. I don't believe it. Rather, I won't believe it. Actually, Serena and her many coats (could she and her coat tower over Rachel Carr more?) were another boooooooooring part of this episode. She just mopes around trying to improve herself and fix other people's problems. What is she, 35?

What else? Nate and Vanessa* giggled at a piano and hung with Chuck while he wandered around the drrty house. And then sent mail. Or something. I do worry about chemistry deflation if Chuck and Blair ever get together. Gossip Girl is very good at the foreplay with couples, not so good with the deed. Even Rufus and Lily seemed to have settled into boring domesticity, chatting with the principal.

I was happy that Blair briefly got punished for doing something devious. I know she has a strict caste system, but I find it strange that she continues to have only feelings of disgust for Dan Humphrey. So much so that she would jeopardize his future for pointless revenge, that even the step girls agreed was pointless. Of course once their cell phones were taken away, all bets were off. Living in and around Gossip Girl-like environs or at least reading about them in my local paper, I know that taking cell phones away isn't so easy. Especially not at a school like that one. Anyway, glad Blair got busted, particularly when it was by her dad. And since I'm an after school special kind of mom, I also appreciated him reminding her that being a decent person has some value. And that's one to grow on. xoxo

In blogging news: FNL recap someday. Product review any day now. Review of my resolutions necessary!

* In real life Vanessa and Chuck are 'good friends.' Shocking!