SportsProf

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

First Episode of Friday Night Lights

Okay, here goes:

1. The Dillon School District screwed Coach Taylor. I mean, he has won a state title and lost by a point in last year's game, so what do they do? They bend over backwards because Joe McCoy, the uberwealthy, prepossessing father of the star quarterback, J.D. McCoy, pressures them to do so and install his own puppet, Wade Aikman, as head coach. The body language of Taylor's one-time assistants who now are stuck at West Dillon High School says it all -- they don't like Joe McCoy, period.

2. They also shafted Coach Taylor's wife, Tammi (I hope I spelled her name right, but I figure that I get three guesses depending on how traditional or flaky her fictional parents were when she was born). Why? Because she's the principal at West Dillon and stuck in a school and school district that she cannot be comfortable with. And she's stuck with Joe McCoy, Wade Aikman and J.D. McCoy. But Principal Taylor is principled and nobody's fool. If Joe McCoy thinks he can mess with her, he's mistaken. Oh, he might win a few battles, but he won't win the war.

3. J.D. McCoy has transformed himself from an unsure kid in need of friends to an entitled, selfish lout who is crusing for a bruising. He was rude to Matt Saracen, a legend at West Dillon if not for his play but for his unselfishness and for the struggle that has been his life so far. He sexually harassed Julie Taylor, Matt's girlfriend and daughter of the principal and coach, and so far he got away with it. True, Matt came to her rescue, but he lost his cool a bit.

4. East Dillon High is where Coach Taylor landed, along with Landry Clark, Matt's best friend, founder of the heavy metal band Crucifictorious, whom Coach Taylor used to refer to as Lance and of whom Coach Taylor was suspicious (perhaps because Texas football coaches stereotypically view intellectuals as poison for their players) until Landry went out for football and busted his gut for the team. East Dillon is what you would imagine the high school on the road to hell would look like. Awful facilities, some kids who would be better suited for juvenile hall than a football field, and not enough football players at that. Coach Taylor got off to a terrible start at East Dillon -- the field and facilities are terrible, the one assistant he hired has a personality disorder that either will get him fired or poleaxed (by Taylor), and after a lecture from Taylor a bunch of kids quit. East Dillon ended up suiting up 18 kids in their first game -- with disastrous results. There was one positive development -- one of Taylor's assistants from West Dillon joined him at East Dillon at the end of the first episode.

What does the future beckon? Somehow, I think that there is a volcano brewing at West Dillon that will cause the high-school football equivalent of molten lava spew all over the McCoys and Aikman, with the scenario at the end of the TV season that long-time (and hard to dislike, even though he's hard to tolerate) West Dillon booster Buddy Garrity will beg Eric Taylor to come back to West Dillon to save the program. So, the biblical-like Coach Taylor will be faced with an awful dilemma -- stay at decrepit and struggling East Dillon, or, once again, come back to West Dillon to play the hero.

It will be interesting to see how East Dillon high's football program develops under Coach Taylor. You would think that some of the hammerheads who quit the program would realize that they have a unique opportunity to play for a coach who won a state title and that would be cool. But so far, they'd rather not. It also will be interesting to see what becomes of last year's star fullback, Tim Riggins, who quit college in September and returned to Dillon, but who already got kicked out of his brother Billy's house. Here's a plot line -- will somehow Riggins end up pursuing the beautiful and nice daughter of Coach Taylor? That's hard to see, given that Matt Saracen is around, but where there's Tim Riggins, there is drama.

So next week East Dillon needs to pick up the pieces after it's horrid opening day, and Principal Taylor will have to continue to deal with the McCoys. My guess is that things will get worse for the good guys before they get better.

Great, great show!

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