Wednesday, May 29, 2013

stevo looks back (at his twenty seven favorite episodes of all time). here's number three ...

(Mrs. Coach) Where would people park?
(Coach) I don't know.
(Mrs. Coach) And how would you put lights in here?
(Coach) I don't know that either.
(Mrs. Coach) Where would people ... pee?
(Coach) (getting irritated) Well I don't know!  They could use cups for all I care!  I, I don't know!"
(Coach) The cows agree with me, I don't see why you don't!
(Mrs. Coach) Sweetie, don't --
(Coach) The cows are more supportive than you are!
(Mrs. Coach) You know I'm supportive!  I'm just thinking, you know, you got a lot on your mind, you got this TMU thing, you know, lawsuit, you know -- this may not be the clearest thought you've had in awhile."
(Coach) I'm getting pressured into giving up my home field advantage right now.  I'm getting players who are receiving gifts, and I've got a whole damned town that's full of ... I don't know, they're ... they're money hungry.  The whole damned thing, it's --
(Mrs. Coach) I know, I know.
(Coach) I know.  All I wanna do is just ... I just ... close your eyes.  Pretend you're ten years old again.  You're just playing.  Just play.  I wanna play football.
(Coach and Mrs. Coach smile and kiss).
(Mrs. Coach) Where are you going?
(Coach) I'm gonna go to the truck and get some blankets.
(Mrs. Coach) (finally sees his vision)
(Mrs. Coach) You know Buddy Garrity's head's gonna explode (claps with joy)!  I love it!  I love it!
(and ... scene).

-- from "Mud Bowl", "Friday Night Lights".


(jim nantz voice) Hello, friends.

Welcome to the first of a new saga of posts, where I am going to retroactively "live blog" my 27 favorite television episodes of all time.  The full list of what episodes are going to receive this special treatment, are listed below.  For the opening installment, I choose to recap and look back at my third favorite episode of all time.


For the record, here are the twenty seven episodes I intend to live-blog / recap by the end of the summer.  (Which means, like my "Decade That Was" series that I intended to crank out in a month over two years ago, and still is only halfway completed -- peoples and peepettes?  Take what you can get, and be grateful.)

The list:

1. "Hearts and Souls", NYPD Blue.
2. "The Man Behind The Curtain", Lost.
3. "Mud Bowl", Friday Night Lights.
4. "Heartland", NCIS.
5. "The Thrilla Near The Vanilla Extract", Roseanne.
6. "Chuckles Bites The Dust", The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
7. "Cries of Silence", Hunter.
8. "Raging Bulls", NYPD Blue.
9. "The Son", Friday Night Lights.
10. "The Shape Of Things To Come", Lost.
11. "A Matter Of Mothers", Good Times.
12. "Happily Ever After", Lost.
13. "Leslie and Ben", Parks and Recreation.
14. "2162 Votes", The West Wing.
15. "I Dream Of Jesus", Family Guy.
16. "JR's Masterpiece", Dallas (reboot).
17a. "College", The Sopranos.
17b. "Made In America", The Sopranos.  What?  I couldn't decide.
18. "What A Day For A Daydream", Roseanne.
19. "Forever Blue", Cold Case.
20. "The Merv Griffin Show", Seinfeld.
21. "Pilot", Smash.
22. "The Rainy Day Women", The OC.
23. "Two Cathedrals", The West Wing.
24. "The Wind That Blew My Heart Away", One Tree Hill.
25. "Cabin Fever", Swingtown.
26. "The Accident", The Wonder Years.
27. "Baby Blues", Cold Case.


"Mud Bowl", Friday Night Lights.
Season One, Episode Twenty.
First Aired: March 28, 2007.
Director: David Boyd.
Writer(s): Elizabeth Heldens and David Hudgens.
Run Time: 43 minutes.

Netflix?  Yes.  The entire series is available.
Hulu?  This episode, no; seasons four and five, yes.
Youtube?  Yes, for $1.99.

Plot Summary: With the final game before the state championships looming, an unforeseen event jeopardizes the Panthers' home turf advantage.  Meanwhile, (Coach) Taylor fears his players are losing their grasp of the true spirit of football, so he tries to instill in them a love of the game.

Why I Love This Episode So Much: what, you mean other than the fact that this is without question -- (allard baird voice) without question! -- the coolest football game on film to ever be recorded, let alone air?  And somehow, the game itself -- which again, is (allard baird voice) without question THE coolest football game on film to ever be recorded, let alone air -- is totally overshadowed by not one, not two, but three "whoa! (brian griffin voice) what the hell?!?!?!" plot line developments in the final five minutes?  Gee, I cannot possibly imagine why I'd love this episode!

Seriously, if you have never given "Friday Night Lights" a chance?  THIS is the episode to watch.  I defy you to not be addicted to this show, after watching this episode.  It's that epically good.  And most "Lights" fans would argue this is, at best, the fifth best episode of the first season (after in some order, the pilot, "It's Different For Girls", "Black Eyes and Broken Hearts", and "State").

(late 1980s nbc announcer voice) And now, "Mud Bowl", from season one of "Friday Night Lights".


* 0:01: the "previously" montage.  "Lights" set up the final four episode arc so perfectly, and successfully juggled so many story lines for so many characters, that you actually need one of these suckers with this show.  We're reminded that, entering the state semi-finals:

a. Coach has an offer to coach at TMU in the fall.
b. Julie is disgusted by the idea of moving again.
c. Tyra is attempting to do something noone in her family ever has (attend college).
d. Mrs. Coach is Tyra's biggest supporter, despite the fact that she hates that Tyra is Julie's good friend*.
e. Smash's girlfriend is bi-polar.
f. Riggins is nailing his neighbor (played by the always gorgeous Brooke Langton).
g. Street's lawsuit is threatening to take Coach down.
h. Lyla and Street's relationship has disintegrated.
i. Saracen is scared to death, and unsure of his capabilities.
j. Street is going to somehow mold Saracen into the leader he needs to be.

And that's just a recap!  And it doesn't even get into the subplots of the Riggins boys relationship (or utter lack of one) with their father; Mac's racist comment that nearly cost the Panthers their playoff opener when Smash and the other African-American players refused to suit up; Smash's steroid abuse, and Coach's shameful covering up of it; Julie and Saracen's developing relationship; and the latest new tunes from everyone's favorite band, Crucifictorious!

So we open the episode by further exploring which of the ten previous story lines?

0:43: Riggins waking up after having spent the night with Bo's mom.  See, this is win-win at its' finest: the ladies and gay dudes get to stare at Taylor Kitsch half-naked, the gentlemen and gay chicas get to stare at Brooke Langton (almost) half naked.  In the words of the great Nick Bakay: "advantage?  push.  We are all winners here".

(*: Alan Sepinwall has debated the QB1 / Coach dynamic far better than I could ever do ... but Mrs. Coach / Tyra's dynamic is at least as interesting as Coach's respect yet dislike of his meal ticket for the first three seasons of this show.  Mrs. Coach bars Julie from seeing Tyra as season one hits the midpoint.  She thinks so little (or so much?) of Tyra, that she asks her to coach the cheerleaders squad in the Powder Puff game (which only heats up the intensity of the Tyra / Lyla rivalry that is arguably "Lights" most underrated subplot).  And yet, as we hit the home stretch, Mrs. Coach is the only person who seems to believe in Tyra's capabilities.  Mrs. Coach is the one, along with Landry, who ... well, we'll get there as this recap goes along.  Intriguing dynamic, and yet another reason why "Lights" is the best TV show to debut in the last ten years.)

1:02: in case you doubt me that Brooke Langton is always gorgeous?  Fellas, she's not wearing make-up in this scene.  No make-up, and she looks like this:

Holy.  Mary.  Mother.  Of.  God.

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

1:15: the Austin Chamber of Commerce obligatory shot, of Coach headed in to work while traversing the freeways of Austin.  Surprisingly, this works.

1:21: subplots (a) and (b) get visited, as Julie and Mrs. Coach begin a discussion over Coach's decision he has to face: stick around Dillon and coach the Panthers, or pursue his dream, and jump to the college ranks, uprooting the family once again?  I should note, there are only two storylines "Lights" did in the first season I didn't care for -- anything and everything having to do with Ray "Voodoo" Tatum, and "is Coach staying or going".  Peter Berg (the executive producer) and his writers fixed the Voodoo debacle in a very satisfying way as season one ended.  They botched the "Coach to TMU" storyline so badly, that they were still trying to fix it when "the season that shall not be named" was winding down ten months later, and never did really satisfactorily resolve it, until the closing moments of season three.

1:40: Mrs. Coach: "Honey, I don't know.  I'd say 80/20 (odds on staying or leaving)."  Julie: "80 percent we're staying, or 80 percent (dad) takes the job in Austin?"  Mrs. Coach: "Honey, I don't have time to even think up statistics like that".

And Mrs. Coach never answers the question.

1:55: the last 35 some odd seconds have been nothing more than a mother / daughter chat about what job dad is going to have ... and admit it, it's riveting television.  "Lights" dialogues were so direct, so honest, and sadly, so unique to the genre, that they're noticeable.

2:05: cut to Coach on the drive in, listening to Sammy Meade's sports talk show as picturesque suburban Austin is shown off in the background.  Should also probably note, to anyone who is asking the "wait a second, this is just high school football!  What kind of a community goes this loco for high school football!" question?

Like with everything else, "Lights" nailed reality as it is.  If anything, "Lights" underplayed how huge the sport is in our nation's greatest state.

2:15: cue Coach driving past QB1 Saracen practicing ... with QB1 Street, trying to learn as much as he can, with the semi-finals now a mere two days away.  It's the little things "Lights" does that make it so epically good.  Look at what the first 150 seconds of this episode have showcased: a dude waking up and staring at his lover for a few wordless moments; a mother and daughter talk about ordinary mundane stuff; and Coach driving around town.  And it's working spectacularly well.  God I love this show.

2:27: Saracen's ready to puke from working out so hard ... and Street is ragging him.  "You know, there's a lot of things I could be doing Saracen.  Reading the paper, watching Oprah.  Is there something wrong with Oprah, Saracen?" / "No, I like Oprah".

2:45: "If you don't watch it, you're gonna be eating turf all night.  Do you want that?" / "No, I, I don't want to eat turf."  (In case you can't tell, QB1 Saracen is my favorite character, because he's a total smart ass at times ... and completely oblivious the rest of the time.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Yes, I know who that sounds like!)

2:55: Street's teaching Saracen how to avoid the rush.  (jim nantz voice) It's called "foreshadowing"!

3:07: Coach finally arrives at school.  I wish I had a job where my commute was less than two and a half minutes.

3:16: "Y'all don't mind if I park here, do you?"  I love Coach.  He's the best.  Pure smart assishness.  If assishness is a word.  And on this site, it is!

3:24: "Setting up shop a little early, aren't you?" -- Coach, to a booster running a t-shirt sale that is taking place in his parking spot.

3:26: "Can I interest you in a t-shirt?"
3:27: "No."  Delivered with a "you have got to be blanking kidding me" look of disgust by Coach.  He's the best.
3:28: "How about a picture?"
3:29: (Coach turns away in disgust)

3:30: Buddy!  Proudly showing off his new Garrity Motors advertisement in the stands of Panther Field.

I should probably note -- the Buddy Garrity character is the one that improved the most over season one.  Buddy starts out as an arrogant, aloof booster, whose only concern in life is Dillon Panthers football.  By episode ten, his daughter's been outed as a sleazy cheater who hooked up with Street's best friend (Tim Riggins) while Street was laying paralyzed in a hospital.  By episode fifteen, Ol' Buddy's gettin' it on with Tyra's mother, who he hires as his secretary despite the fact that she doesn't even know how to type.  By episode twenty (this one), Tyra's mom has outed Buddy as a serial cheater (at their church, no less, via an epic meltdown after Sunday services), his wife has kicked him out, his son and daughter (not Lyla, the other one) want nothing to do with him, and Lyla has done hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to his dealership (when she discovered that Tyra's mom wasn't Buddy's first adult relationship with a woman he wasn't married to).

And somehow?  You wind up loving the guy.  Reason 1,375,638,932 why "Lights" is the best TV show to debut since the turn of the century.

3:33: the look on Coach's face says it all:

3:35: "That's spectacular Buddy!"  (adam west voice) Pure.  Smart ass.

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

3:37: Buddy is genuinely impressed with his new sign.  Hang on, we're coming back to this in about ten minutes.

3:45: Saracen is getting ready for practice, opens up his locker and well, what do we have here?  It's cash!  In an unmarked envelope!  Now what sleazy car salesman would leave a decent amount of $50 bills in the starting quarterback's locker?  (Buddy!)

3:46: in true QB1 fashion, Saracen doesn't know what to do.  When in doubt?  Do what everyone does: go talk to Mrs. Coach!  Or, if she's not available, just talk to Coach.

3:55: "Good morning gentlemen!  Let's get after it!"  Coach is in his element!

4:06: Coach walks into his office, takes one look at Mac (his offensive coordinator) wolfing down a sandwich, feet propped up on a table, watching the upcoming opponent's head coach being interviewed, and deadpans "what the hell is this?"

4:13: Brant head coach: "The Panthers are a fine team.  It's going to be an honor to play with them."
4:14: Coach: "oh, he's full of crap."

4:17: Coach, to Mac: "can I ask you this -- what the hell are you doing?  Is this where you're now living or something?  You're sitting here eating, spilling food all over the place --"
4:18: Mac, to Coach: "well good morning to you too!"

4:22: Coach, to Mac, while looking out the window: "have you looked out here lately?  You'd think we were playing the damned Super Bowl."

4:32: "I'm glad they're excited.  I just wish they cared about winning as much as making a buck."

4:33: enter Buddy Garrity.

4:38: Coach, to Buddy: "hey, that's the most fantastic logo I've ever seen!"  (adam west voice) Pure.  Smart ass.

4:43: "That's an incredible, impressive piece of art".  And Buddy, clueless -- he has no idea that coach is mocking him and his sign.

4:49: Buddy asking Coach for a couple sideline passes.  Not for him -- but for a couple large fleet dealers coming in for the game.

4:55: need a distraction, need a distraction, looking around for Mr. Conway Twitty ...

4:56: enter Matt Saracen.  Coach, grateful for a reason to get out of dealing with Buddy's ticket requests, shoos him off by noting "I gotta speak to my quarterback".

5:21: Coach looking at the envelope of cash, clearly not happy with this development, promising that "I'll take care of this, don't worry about it."  And then ...

5:22: BOOM!  We got us an explosion!  No, really -- the window panes even blew up!

Coach looks around, trying to comprehend how yet another distraction or disturbance has fallen on his preparation for the game, and then asks the obvious.  "What the hell was that?"  Good question Coach.  Better go outside and find out.

5:38: Coach looks at the rising cloud of dark smoke, puts his hands on his waist and ... scene.

Cue the theme.

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

5:39: I love this theme song, by the way.  I love everything about it -- the images, the sound, the fact that there are no lyrics.  Like the show itself, everything in it is just perfect.

6:23: we come back to Street and his parents fighting over the settlement conference coming up later that day.  (For those of you who never watched the show, a quick background -- Street was the starting QB for the Dillon Panthers, an all-state stud who could write his ticket to any college he wanted.  In the pilot episode, he broke his neck attempting to tackle a defender returning an interception he threw.  Street is now pretty much paralyzed from the waist down, a condition that never improved as the seasons went along.)

6:50: we find out what caused the windows at Dillon High to shatter, and black smoke to rise ominously into the air: a train derailment, that occurred right next to the football field.  Hang on -- this development, a seemingly throw-away detail, is going to give rise to what makes this episode so outstanding, so fantastic.

7:08: the principle, to the stunned students: "I don't wanna give you mixed signals, but we do have some reason for alarm".  No -- a train just derailed and spilled out toxic chemicals that are lingering in the air, but there's no reason whatsoever for alarm.

7:18: principle again: "I have been talking to the police, and I have been informed, that until they get a handle on what's going on out there, that they're going to have to evacuate the school.  Now that means y'all are gonna be able to go on home". Cue wild applause from the student body, who, it should be noted, are literally standing mere feet from a chemical explosion / spill deemed so bad, that they've been told to evacuate the premises.  Educators: dumber than the kids since ... when the hell did President Bush sign No Child Left Behind into law, 2001?  Educators: dumber than the kids since 2001!

7:32: Coach: "Listen up, football players -- we will have practice today."  Damn skippy.  Not even Three Mile Island would prevent a Texas high school football team, from practicing.

7:48: the hug Julie gives QB1 Saracen draws a great "oh sh*t, my daughter's totally banging that guy" look of horror out of Coach ... even though we're still two years away from Saracen and Julie finally hooking up.  So let me say this: reasons one through about fourteen million why I never want children?

Is Julie Taylor.

8:13: the smirk on Saracen's face, coupled with the "you caught me" look on Landry's, totally captures how awesome their relationship is.  And that scene you just watched?  Sets in motion the events that led to "the season we dare not acknowledge exists".

To say nothing of the closing scenes of this episode.

8:20: "Look, I get it.  You don't want to date a nut job".  (vice president biden voice) Folks?  If SHE thinks she's a nut job?  She's most assuredly a nut job!

8:40: oh no.  Oh no.  Of ALL the people for Waverly to randomly wind up next to, to b*tch about her issues with Smash ... she would pick the only girl on this show, who's at least as loony as she is.  Lyla, meet Waverly.  Waverly, Lyla.

And because all crazy chicas manage to find each other, where, pray tell, would you want to see a girl with serious anger management issues (Lyla), and serious mental health issues (Waverly), where would you want to see them wind up, to "take out their frustrations"?

9:16: hell yes, they're shooting guns off in an abandoned ravine area!  Texas: Our Crazy Always Trumps Your Crazy!!!

(and yes, I am fully aware, that Texas is where I went to school, where I never wanted to leave, and where I just interviewed not even eight weeks ago, to move back to.  What can I say -- I feel like I'm in my natural habitat with those folks.)

9:37: Landry randomly reading a sexual self-help book, in the library, as he just happens upon Tyra, NEVER fails to make me laugh.  Only Landry would grab "Our Bodies, Our Selves" to hit on a girl.

10:22: "I really think you need the A-Team on this, and you've got Mr. T standing in front of you.  And the T stands for ... Tyra's Algebra Tudor".  There are not words that can do this scene justice.  Only a picture:

My God, I think it's working!

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

10:43: I'll say this: when your last four scenes have contained as either the focal point, or the co-focal point, Aimee Teegarden, Minka Kelly, Adrienne Palicki, and Brooke Langton?  You don't need Mr. Conway Twitty as a convenient distraction.

11:21: "I hear those Vikings boys bring the wood!" -- Brooke's co-worker, as she is trying to get Riggins to understand that in a small town, a high school sophomore nailing a bank teller twice his age, is probably not something she wants to get around said small town.

11:55: Saracen can't even grab his helmet back from a kid.  Not a good sign barely 48 hours away from the biggest game of his life.

12:22: "Matt Saracen found $200 in his locker.  Now who else (is Buddy bribing)?  Nobody else?  Nobody?  Not in your locker, not at your home, not at school, nowhere, anytime?  (Continued silence).  Boy that must really piss you off, Smash!" -- Coach Taylor.  He's the best.

12:50: Buddy and her honor, the Mayor of Dillon, have shown up to let Coach know the bad news: his stadium is unplayable due to the accident.  (scooby doo voice) whroot whroo!

13:17: the tour of various other high school facilities in the region begins.  Our first stop?  A high school recommended by the Brant coach.  Coach's brilliant take-down of this sleazy attempt to steal home-field advantage from him: "I already saw the damned Vikings flag in the locker room.  I know you train here, you probably practice here.  Let me ask you, does your brother, does he run the clock up there too?"  He's the best.

14:10: Buddy is ... uuh, not happy, at Coach's decision to pass on whatever school's stadium they were at.

14:23: Coach: "You know, why don't you just go on out to Herrmann Field and call it the Garrity Bowl."
14:24: Buddy (completely serious): "Are naming rights available?"
14:25: Coach:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

14:38: Coach: "my players have been receiving gifts.  Cash gifts.  You know anything about that, (heavy sarcasm and disgust voice) Buddy?"  Coach.  He's the best.

15:20: Lyla, to Smash: "you'd better be careful -- she's a good shot!"  Let's just say, Smash is about as excited at the prospect of a crazy bi-polar Texan handling a rifle, as I am.  Meaning "aw HELL no!"

15:42: Smash, to Lyla: "she's bi-polar, and she hasn't been taking her meds.  And that means ... well, I don't know what the hell that means.  But she damned sure shouldn't be shooting guns!"  (leroy jethro gibbs voice) Gee, ya think?

16:02: Coach: "That's not answering the question".  And pan to a lovely scene of Buddy peeing on the side of the road.  Well, he is technically answering a question -- number one or number two ...

16:16: Buddy: "I think we should be focusing on where we're gonna play the football game.  Do you have any idea where we're gonna play the damned football game?  You got a Plan B here for me?"

16:20: He has an idea:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

16:22: the laugh.  Coach's knowing "oh this is gonna be sweet!" laugh.  He's the best.

16:24: Buddy does NOT look happy.

17:35: Tyra: "Uum, if you're not doing anything on Friday, maybe we could --"
17:36: Landry: "Yes".
17:37: Tyra: "-- get together and study".

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there is NOTHING good about being premature, in anything in life.

17:54: Coach arrives home, and he's ready to sell his idea to Mrs. Coach.  As he walks into the main room, Mrs. Coach is watching TV and it's on a commercial for Buddy Garrity's dealership.  Coach: "you need to turn that thing off right.  now."  And ... scene.  He's the best.

19:30: the scene quoted verbatim to open this post, concludes:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

19:40: Coach takes the team to a hardware store.  He's building his Field of Dreams.  In the words of Teri Hatcher's character on "Seinfeld": "it's real, and it's spectacular".

20:15: Coach and Street's first conversation since the lawsuit was filed.

21:01: Saracen is so nervous, he can't even pick up a rake.  Not a good sign.

21:12: the Lyla / Street showdown we've waited twenty episodes to witness, is about to go down.

21:58: Street FINALLY blows up at her.

22:39: Uuh, I'd say the engagement's off.

23:18: Buddy makes damned certain Coach knows that he's aware of TMU's offer.  Also, this might be the only time, save for the final season, when Buddy uses his pair ... and is right.  This was a horrible idea.  Which is probably why I love it so much.

23:26: Saracen giving Landry crap while he's in the barber shop prepping for his "date" with Tyra.  So me and "The Voice of Reason", or me and Jasson, or me and The Champ, back in the day.  (And you were Landry, right -- the one who finally scores an opportunity after striking out for ages?)  Hell yes I was.  (everyone voice) Was?!?!?!

23:57: Landry: "oh, that's really cute.  I'm really laughing on the inside", as he's struggling to not laugh on the outside at Saracen's mocking him.  This scene is just phenomenal.

24:20: central Texas' two wackiest broads are together again, this time in a car.  And Lyla lets it out, that she and Smash have talked.  This isn't going to end well.

24:55: cue Waverly's mental breakdown in front of the Tasty Freeze.  Good Lord, Smash.  Run.  To quote Frasier Crane from the "Cheers" finale: "Run (Smash)!  Run!  Run like the wind!"

24:59: boyfriend and girlfriend ... or pimp and prostitute?  You make the call:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

25:50: I'd say this relationship just reached done-zo status too.  Again, Smash -- run!  Run like the wind!

26:14: our first look at the Riggins brothers in tonight's episode!  Always a good time with those two.

26:20: Billy to Tim: "I might not have a PhD in stupid like you do, but I'm gonna tell you right now, this is gonna turn out badly".  Yeah, because 16 year olds hooking up with single mom's in their 30s ALWAYS ends well.

Especially when your brother is nailing the same single mom in her 30s, that you are, Timmy.

26:30: the seeds for Coach's departure (twice!) as the series went along?  Are sewn in our next scene, the conference regarding Street's family's lawsuit against the school district and Coach.  The school district is prepared to throw Coach under the proverbial bus.  Sleazy, guys.  You don't f*ck with Coach Taylor.

26:46: actually, the sleaziest guy in the room, is the Street family attorney, bar none.  Because anytime you can emphasize putting "that boy right there, in his wheelchair, on the stand" multiple times in a single conversation?  You're sleazy.

26:59: Street has had enough.  "Is that all I am here?  Huh?  Just some cripple boy you can wheel out in front of a jury and make some money off me?"  Uuh, yes?

27:05: "You talk about loss earning capacity like I'm some brain dead idiot who's never going to get a job again!"

27:12: "Seriously, mom?  Dad?  I know it's been hard on you guys, but we are not here to win the damned lottery!"

28:02: sleazy school district lawyer: "I think we can live with this".  Damned skippy you can.

28:05: Street's family's attorney, upon seeing his Jim "The Texas Hammer" Adler sized ambulance chasing payoff get whizzed away thanks to the integrity and character of his client:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

Well, with that debacle resolved, time to deal with the proverbial "elephant in the room" -- where the hell is this state semi-final football game gonna get staged?

28:17: the sleazy Brant coach is upset that he isn't gonna get to steal home field advantage.

Coach?  Trust me.  You don't f*ck with Eric Taylor, and live to tell about it.

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

28:58: Coach: "Well I'm just curious about what your problem is, Brandon".
29:02: Brant Coach: "Well typically?  What goes along with a football game?  Is a football stadium."
29:08: Coach: "Yes sir."
29:09: Brant Coach: "You know, with good goal posts, and something that's not battery operated for a scoreboard!"
29:13: Coach: "Oh, I get it.  You have a problem coming down here without your fancy stadium, and your high tech gear, because you're going to get your keysters beat.  What I'm saying is?  It's football!  It's a football game!  What you need for a football game is a football field, 22 kids, and a pigskin!

29:54: Coach gets what he wants:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

30:30: announcer: "Good evening football fans, and welcome to the most talked about game in the state of Texas!  We are playing this game in a cow pasture for lease!  Not since the days of the leather helmet have we seen this here in Dillon!"

Damned skippy.

31:05: the lights work.

31:06: the bad guys:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

31:08: our heroes:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

A field, 22 guys, and a pigskin.  (president george w. bush voice) Mission Accomplished!

31:12: Dillon calls tails, wins the toss, opts to receive.

31:14: those sneaky Brant bastards!  Pulling the onside kick to open the game!

31:28: 6-0 Brant.

31:36: if looks could kill?  Coach Taylor just killed Brant's coach.

31:43: those sneaky Brant bastards!  Going for two on the first PAT attempt!

31:46: 8-0 Brant.

31:55: it's ok -- I want to b*tch slap him too:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

31:58: it starts raining.

32:05: Landry's car won't start.

32:17: Landry begins to attempt to figure out what's wrong with said car ... in a driving rainstorm.

32:21: Landry, to God: "Thank you!"  Sorry, forgot to add the "pure sarcasm voice" for that one.

32:26: Tyra arrives at the Tasty Freeze, as it's really beginning to rain.  This folks, is not setting up to end well.

32:34: Tasty Freeze customer: "Why aren't you at the game?"
32:36: Tyra: "I got an algebra exam next week."

32:45: gratuitous "Minka Kelly soaked by rain" Snag-It shot.  You're welcome:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

32:50: still 8-0 Brant, 3:52 to play in the first half.

32:52: here's how wet the field is: Riggins takes the handoff on 2nd and 14, loses it while going down, and it literally slides across the entire damned field, finally landing out of bounds.  The ball hydroplaned.  That's sweet.

33:08: approaching halftime:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

33:14: Saracen audibles.  Note: these rarely end well.

33:24: interception, Brant.

33:33: ladies and gentlemen, Coach is pissed.

33:41: Saracen's support?  The man he replaced, Jason Street.

34:10: Riggins converts a fourth and one right before the half.  You can feel it coming ...

34:13: "We have got ourselves a Mud Bowl here folks, and this crowd is loving it, and so am I!"  A-blanking-men.

34:23: Saracen.  Smash.  Touchdown.  On a beautiful, absolutely gorgeous play-fake screen to the back coming over the middle.  For those of you who argue "that's ridiculous; that play would never work", uuh guys?  That's the exact play the Chiefs ran against the raiders in 2005 -- Trent Green play fake, check down to Larry Johnson, who took it from midfield to the one with 0:03 left.

LJ scored on the next play to win the game, 27-23.

"Lights'" realism at times is (properly) called into question.  This time, they stole an actual play every Chiefs fan can recall instantaneously.

34:54: they're going for two.  A move I completely agree with.  You ALWAYS try to tie if the opportunity exists.

35:04: Smash.  End zone.  Tied at 8 reaching the half.

35:09: shady officials asking for the head coaches.  No.  This numb nuts cannot cancel this game.  No.  No.  No!!!!!!!

35:19: the announcer: "this field is a home field by the truest sense of the word.  It was hand built by Coach Taylor and these players, so that these Dillon fans and this town could enjoy one last home game."  Let's just say, Sammy Meade wants to keep playing.

35:29: QB1 Saracen: "Coach!  Coach!  We WANT to PLAY!"

35:32: sleazy Brant linebacker: "Yeah!  We want to play too!"

35:37: head official: "ok.  You guys wanna play, we'll play".  Well of course!  If you didn't cancel a game with (literal) riot like conditions four episodes ago to open the playoffs, you sure as all hell aren't gonna let a little monsoon wipe out a contest!

35:49: your field conditions at halftime:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

35:51: back to the Tasty Freeze, where Tyra is still waiting on Landry to show up.

35:54: and she is pissed.

35:58: Tyra decides to give up waiting on Landry.

36:06: "Drive safe out there; it's pouring".  (jim nantz voice) It's called foreshadowing.

36:21: tied at 8, with over 8 minutes to play, in a freaking monsoon, Brant's head coach opts to try a 40 yard field goal.  (Pause).  Even Norval Eugene Turner is shaking his head in incredulity at this brain fart.  I mean, clearly -- clearly! -- eschewing a 4th and short to try a 40 yard field goal in the remnants of a hurricane, is a BRILLIANT idea.

36:23: "ooh!  He goes down!"

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

36:30: Tyra sprinting for the truck, and "friendly dude from Tasty Freeze" is so friendly, so kind, so caring and understanding, that he's out in the rain, returning a notebook she left behind.

36:35: oh no.

36:36: oh no.

36:37: oh no!

36:38-37:01: oh HELL no!

37:11: "this is our dirt!"  Well, technically, you leased it ... but we'll go with it.

37:16: (blood beginning to boil ...)

37:25: HELL YES!  I'm telling you, that's literally what I yelled out the first time I saw this episode (the night it premiered), as Tyra stabs her would-be rapist in the eye with the car's cigarette lighter.

37:26-37:42: Tyra beating the crap out of this guy, is one of the greatest moments in television history.  You go girl!

37:43: Street.  Saracen.  Season on the line.

37:48: tied at 8's, :35, :34, :33 remaining ...

37:54: Smash ...

38:06: ... idiotically fails to get out of bounds.

38:10: Landry finally arrives for his date.  Tyra is disheveled, attempting to grab her stuff from the parking lot, in a freaking monsoon.

38:27: for one brief moment, this storyline had potential:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

38:29: 0:19 seconds remain.  Tied at 8.

And the clock is ticking ...

38:48: spike the damned ball!

38:51: oh no.

38:52: oh no.

38:53: oh no!

38:54: (cue every Jets fans voice remembering the Marino fake spike game) OH HELL NO!

38:56: Riggins decapitates a Brant linebacker!  Saracen's still upright and ambulatory!

39:01: Saracen avoids a tackle!  He's at the ten!  He's at the five!

39:03: he's diving!


39:19: (sammy meade voice) OUR!  DILLON!  PANTHERS!  ARE!  GOING!  TO!  STATE!!!!!

39:20: (cue wild celebration)

OK, let me stop here for a moment.  If it gets a little dusty in the Casa de Stevo here over the next 30, 45 seconds of this episode, I swear -- it's allergies.  It's dust.  I swear to God, I am NOT crying because of the scene about to play out ...

39:43: Smash leading the team in prayer.  The rain has stopped.

39:52: the smirk on Coach's face in the post game handshake with the Brant coach.  Suck it, Brant head coach dude.  Suck it.

40:11: Smash celebrating.  That's not the moment that gets to me.

40:14: Street celebrating.  That's not the moment that gets to me.

40:18: the Riggins brothers celebrating.  That's not the moment that gets to me.

40:21: Julie takes the field.  We're close.  We're damned close.

40:24: Julie tackles Saracen.  (Pause).  It's damned dusty in here, now that you mention it.

40:26: who let all this damned ragweed in the room?  I mean really, it's like a freaking grass clipping factory in here, my eyes are so watery:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

40:27: "I'll always love you, no matter what happens".  Good God, can you please remove that bee factory, the pollen count is killing me here!

40:29: I'm not kidding -- who dropped me square in the middle of a dairy farm?  I am hurting right now to avoid tearing up from every allergy I have:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

40:32: when QB1 rolls her over into the mud, man.  Man oh man oh man, what I wouldn't give to love someone like that.

40:43: I like cocky Smash Williams.

40:58: the awkward moment when the age-inappropriate fling you're having's son asks you if you're staying over tonight in front of his mom.  Tim Riggins everyone!

41:08: Tyra.  Landry.  The Tasty Freeze.  The aftermath.

41:15: Landry gets up, doesn't say a word, just grabs a chair and pulls up next to her.

41:23: this:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

41:24: cue the tears.

41:40: cue the friendship:

(image credit: NBC Universal Studios, (c) 2007).

41:42: cue every fan at the game enjoying the Mud Bowl.

41:48: Mac, to Coach: "West Cambria won tonight.  Looks like we got Voodoo in the final."
41:53: Coach, to Mac: "Go figure."

42:02: Coach, to Street: "Matt Saracen was a different quarterback tonight.  That was a good job."

42:23: "Did you ever think about coaching?"

And ... episode.


I hope you enjoyed this.  Feel free to provide some feedback in the comments, or hit me up on email, Facebook or Twitter.

And if you never caught "Friday Night Lights", please -- schedule 22 hours to watch season one in its entirety.  I have changed "The Voice of Reason"'s mind on something exactly once, and it was on this show, and how great it is ...

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