Hi all,

Thanks for sticking by us through this time of nothing to watch and nothing to blog about. The poll for what to watch next has decided that Boots will watch Once and Again, so she will. However, Alligator has just lent her My So-Called Life, so that may have to come first. Sorry!

We are in Seattle for the holidays, and will be until after New Years, so posts will be spotty. Fortunately we still have remaining eps of Friday Night Lights and (we believe) Reaper when we come back, so god bless us every one!



DC Fridays Part 4: Notable Guest Stars

I know, I'm super lame and it's Monday. Things have been nuts.

As I made my way through the 6 seasons of DC, there were tons of guest stars I was shocked to see—including Tony Hale (Buster from Arrested Development) as a doctor in season 4, Ken Marino (Vinnie van Lowe from Veronica Mars) as a teacher Joey almost has an affair with in season 5, Seth Rogen as a slacker in season 6—the list goes on and on. When you glance over the partial list below, you will notice certain titles keep popping up—in particular Buffy, Six Feet Under, Twin Peaks, and various Judd Apatow-related projects.

Now, is this because there are a limited number of bit players in Hollywood, or does this somehow make DC cooler? I vote that it makes it cooler!

Busy Phillips (Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared)
Seth Rogen (Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared)
Monica Keena (Undeclared)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy)
Mercedes McNab (Buffy)
Jason Behr (Roswell, Buffy)
Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under, 24, The OC, Buffy)
Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under)
Hal Ozsan (Six Feet Under, Felicity, Roswell)
Scott Foley (Felicity, Scrubs, Sweet Valley High)
Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Reaper)
Mädchen Amick (Twin Peaks)
Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks)
Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks)
Jennifer Morrison (House)
Tony Hale (Arrested Development)
Taylor Handley (The OC, Hidden Palms)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill)
Ali Larter (Heroes)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars, Wet Hot American Summer)
Michael Pitt (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Dreamers)
Mika Boorem (Blue Crush)
Julie Bowen (Lost)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire)
Brittany Daniel (Sweet Valley High)
Mimi Rogers (X Files)
Oliver Hudson (Rules of Engagement)
Jack Osbourne (The Osbournes)
Andy Griffith (The Andy Griffith Show)
Rachel Leigh Cook (Las Vegas, Babysitters Club, She’s All That)
Paul Gleason (Breakfast Club)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind)
Virginia Madsen (A Prairie Home Companion)
No Doubt (duh)


If you fudging touch me again, I’ll fudging kill you.

Supernatural – A Very Supernatural Christmas

Sam and Dean investigate murders committed by an “anti-Santa” who pulls his victims up chimneys. Meanwhile, Dean wants to celebrate a traditional Christmas since it will be his last, but Sam refuses. Photo © The CW.

The kitsch factor was super high in this one, and the episode was all the better for it. Yes, it’s times like these that highlight why I love this show so freakin’ much. Investigating the murders of people who have been pulled up chimneys at Christmastime, Sam and Dean believe they are hunting the “anti-Santa,” Santa’s rogue brother. [Note: in the Season 2 DVD special features, I learned that every story on Supernatural is based on actual lore. Sure enough, Wikipedia does turn up articles on the “anti-Santas” Sam tells Dean about - yikes]. But after a quick call to Bobby (who, in true Bobby fashion, tells them they’re morons), the brothers realize they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Eventually the discovery of meadowsweet wreaths leads the boys to the home of Madge and Edward Carrigan, an overly bright-and-cheery Cleaver-esque couple that immediately raises red flags for our intrepid hunters. Played by Merrilyn Gann (Everwood) and Spencer Garrett, Madge and Edward turn out to be pagan gods who “assimilated” with the onset of Christianity. They proceed to torture the boys, and Supernatural proceeds to gross me out by showing Sam’s fingernail get pulled off. When a peppy neighbor interrupts the proceedings to invite the Carrigans caroling, Sam and Dean manage to turn the tables. A brief scuffle ensues, ending with the boys ripping apart a Christmas tree with their bare hands and stabbing the Carrigans with the branches.

Seriously kids, this show is awesome.

The subplot was built around flashbacks to Sam and Dean’s childhood. Today, Dean wants to have a “real Christmas” because he believes it will be his last. Sam refuses, partly because he still can’t accept his brother’s impending death and partly because he has terrible memories of the holiday. In the flashback, we see that Sam and Dean spent Christmases alone, with John off hunting. Dean does his best to protect young Sammy from the truth of their lives, but around age 8–10 (I’m really bad with kids’ ages), Sam finds his father’s journal and realizes that his big brother (who’s what, 10–12?) sleeps with a gun under his pillow.

Although I’m not a big fan of the childhood flashbacks, this one did have its moments. I particularly loved the bit when young Sam asks, “So monsters are real? But Dad said there were no monsters under my bed,” and young Dean replies, “That’s because he had already checked.” Then, there was the scene in which young Dean wakes Sam up on Christmas morning. Sam, disappointed that his father has not returned home, gives Dean the gift meant for John. I’m thinking, “Please let it be something he still has,” and lo and behold, the gift turns out to be the amulet necklace that Dean wears.

In the end, Sam decides to give his big brother what he wants. Dean returns to their hotel room to find that Sam has decorated and made some (very potent) eggnog. The brothers exchange gifts wrapped in newspaper: porno mags and shaving cream for Sam, motor oil and a candy bar for Dean. For an instant it seems like Sam is about to get weepy, but instead he turns on the TV and the brothers settle in for a nice holiday together.


Other good bits:
Sam telling the elf at Santa’s village they’re only there “to watch.”
The brothers attempting to sing Silent Night: "Round… the table…"
Dean reminiscing about their family’s beer-can wreath.


What to watch now?

Yes, the time is upon us. Tonight is a new ep of Supernatural and then I'm screwed. So, in the spirit of democracy, I have decided to let my dear readers decide what I will watch next. Yesterday I discovered a "best TV" list on Netflix created by someone whose taste I admired, so I created a poll (see right-hand sidebar) to help me choose. Vote wisely, because you'll be reading about the show that wins for weeks to come.

Also, I want to thank you all for the rash of commenting lately and welcome new reader D.

And ... scene.


Love that beta-carotene!

Friday Night Lights – The Confession
Landry comes clean about the killing, but his conscience still plagues him. Elsewhere, Herc urges Street to date, and the Taylors prepare to christen Gracie as the conflict between Tami and Julie grows. Photo
© NBC.

“The Confession,” which could have been one of the best eps of the season, was actually kind of boring. Landry FINALLY confesses to the killing, and naturally no one really cares. I mean he accidentally killed a rapist who was in the process of attacking his girlfriend, so duh. The cops simply send him home after he confesses, and Landry freaks out, wanting—no, needing—to be punished for his perceived sin. But, he is the only one who sees it in those terms, and eventually everyone convinces him to plead self-defense (his dad even goes to Tyra for help, which was frankly unbelievable after he forced her to stay away from Landry in the first place). So Landry does tell the cops that it was self-defense, and that’s the end of that. No charges are brought against him. And after he tells Tyra this, the camera focuses on his mournful face and we see that he is not feeling any better. But hopefully this story arc is over. I was irritated when it began, because it is so not what FNL is about. Part of the charm of this show is that the problems are all rather commonplace (a la My So-Called Life in its heyday). To throw in something as dramatic as a murder and then have the story go nowhere is kind of lame.

And my complaints don’t stop there. WTF is going on with the continuity of relationships this season? As my friend Pants commented, it seems that each relationship exists solely to fulfill whatever role it needs to for a given ep. Some examples: Tyra & Landry, who I have complained about enough so I won’t bore you anymore. Street & Lyla, who had a dramatic breaking off of their engagement last season, and who had a kissy-cuddly moment in Mexico though the breakup business was never resolved, and who are now suddenly best friends chatting casually about who they are dating. Tami & Julie, who got into a HUGE screaming fight about Noah last ep and yet it is not mentioned at all in this one.

Come on.

Anyway, on with the recap. Street returns! Herc convinces him to date again, and he makes a date with a girl he finds online (WheelLovers.com if I remember correctly). Street meets the girl, who tells him she likes being peed on, and he tries to sneak out while she’s in the bathroom. His waitress objects to this until he tells her about the pee thing, and he ends up with her instead. She is cute, but doesn’t have quite enough sass. We’ll see. In other big news, Street moves in with Herc, and it’s about time. I am thrilled about the prospect of more Herc, and it will be interesting to see how Street grows now that he’s on his own.

The Taylor family is gearing up for Gracie’s christening, and godmother Julie is feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated. She and Tami get into yet another screaming match, with Julie telling Tami that she would like to be thanked for everything she’s helping do. She storms out, and Tami retorts that she would also like a thank you, though she says this to an empty room. Awww, how sad. Or not, because she’s a mother and that’s her job. I get that Tami is also feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated, but tough. Tami is behaving exactly like Julie, and Julie is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD. I haven’t had much sympathy for Tami this season. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to and I’m just an ass, or what.

Santiago returns! I knew Buddy would be a good dad, and I am so, so glad that I was right. With a game coming up, Santiago convinces himself that he can’t handle the pressure and freaks out on Buddy, telling him that he hates him. Buddy reacts by not reacting, and begs Coach Taylor to let Santiago play. After getting pummeled a few times, Santiago throws his all into the game and makes a fantastic tackle. I actually yelled, “Somebody hug him!” at the TV, but alas, no one did. The other players did pat him on the helmet, which is ok too. The “bad-player-suddenly-does-something-great” bit was awfully familiar (Landry, anyone?) but I liked it because I like Santiago. And when Buddy was outside waiting for him after the game and Santiago wholeheartedly thanked him for everything—whew! Turn on the waterworks.

Riggins’ creepy meth roommate stalks him before waking him up with a gun to the ribs, and Riggins finally leaves the house. I’m tiring of this storyline, though I imagine we have not seen the last of the roommate. Otherwise everything involving Riggins was fabulous, as Coach turns him into his own personal assistant as payback for Riggins’ recent bad behavior. From Riggins’ comments about the girls’ gymnastic comp he helps out with (“Jenny’s just not sticking her landing, she’s her own worst enemy”), to him sitting in the locker room with a ribbon baton (how very Get In Shape, Girl), to him sleeping in his truck outside Coach’s house until Eric wordlessly gives him a sleeping bag, it was all perfection.

Finally, Matt and Carlotta are blissfully in love and boring as hell.

And that’s it for FNL until 2008.

Guest Blogger: Alligator

Yes, we're behind. Yes, we're sorry.

Gossip Girl - Hi, Society
Serena’s grandmother has much to say about the upcoming debutante ball, insisting that her reluctant granddaughter attend – and find a more suitable escort than Dan. Meanwhile, Nate accompanies Blair to the ball as her friend, and Jenny hopes to go to the event, though her parents would rather she didn’t.
Photo © The CW.

Can't trust those blue bloods! Serena's "sick" grandmother, Ce Ce, pays the fam a visit and her dying wish is for Serena to come out at cotillion. She's tricked into getting all fancied up in a gold frock and Ce Ce even lines up a smarmy escort for her. No, not that kind of escort. Apparently back in the day Ce Ce tried to split up the burgeoning romance between Lily and Rufus by paying him off. Rufus couldn't be bought but unfortunately Lily could. Fast-forward twenty years and we have the same scenario again. Ce Ce tries to buy all of the work in Rufus's rinky dink gallery (ironically all Alison's artwork). Rufus tells her to shove it and tells Dan that Ce Ce is a creep and not to be trusted. Sweet Dan runs off to Serena to break the news about her lame-ass granny but she doesn't take it too well. Serena goes to Cotillion with Carter Baizen, who you may remember from the Nate gambling scandal earlier in the season. He is the mayor of creep city and Ce Ce loves him.

Blair kicks Chuck to the curb and takes Nate back. I liked the Chuck/Blair romance and the possibility of the Jenny/Nate romance so this plot line was a disappointment. But, Chuck is a slime ball and Nate is super hot so I suppose I can't blame Blair.

Jenny decides to blow of her mom's important art opening at pop's gallery to be a Cotillion volunteer. She even refuses to wear the uber-cute vintage shoes her mom finds for her. That was really sad. Alison is much more appealing when she stands up to Jenny and tells her to get her ass into gear. Of course, Alison's new appeal came at the wrong time because Rufus essentially confesses his feelings for Lily. FINALLY!! He saw his son stand up to Ce Ce and he wishes he had done the same. Is it too late?


DC Fridays Part 3: Dawson vs. Pacey

Dawson/Pacey/Joey comprise a very traditional love triangle—and their angst goes on far, far too long—and yet somehow the show manages to keep viewers interested to the end. DC devotees are particularly fanatical about the Dawson vs. Pacey debate, and will passionately defend their choice even today. Here’s a refresher:

Seasons 1–2
Joey loves Dawson, but t
hey are just friends. Finally, he sees her in a new light and they kiss. But then Joey needs to “find herself” because her life is tied up too tightly with Dawson’s. Her father is released from prison, but Dawson discovers he’s dealing cocaine. Dawson convinces Joey to wear a wire and get a confession from her father, but afterward she feels terrible and tells Dawson she doesn't want to know him anymore.

Season 3—4
Joey tries to rekindle her romance with Dawson, but he rejects her and asks Pacey to “watch out for her.” After tons of building sexual tension, Pacey and Joey begin dating in secret. When the relationship is accidentally revealed, Dawson is so angry that Joey dumps Pacey in order to make amends. But, after seeing how miserable she is, Dawson realizes he’s being a dick and Joey finally tells Pacey she’s in love with him. However, Joey & Pacey’s relationship begins to suffer when Joey is admitted to a prestigious
college in Boston. Pacey, with neither the grades nor the money to attend school, decides he is holding Joey back. After the couple has sex for the first time, Joey lies to Dawson about it…and then agrees to let him pay her college tuition. An increasingly insecure Pacey publicly dumps Joey in the middle of senior prom, and Joey ends up kissing Dawson three episodes later.

Seasons 5—6
As Dawson leaves for film school, he confesses to Joey that he wants to be with her. She rejects him (get used to it, folks) but then rushes to the airport to declare her love. Dawson is tempted to stay but she convinces him that film is his destiny. After a summer of not speaking, Joey and Dawson have sex for the first time. The next day, she finds out he has a girlfriend. Joey says goodbye to Dawson once again. Then, afte
r her boyfriend Eddie leaves for school in California, Pacey admits that he still loves her. The two briefly rekindle their romance, but she dumps him when Eddie returns to town.

Series Finale
The final two episodes are set 5 years in the future, where Joey freaks out after accidentally finding an engagement ring hidden by her live-in boyfriend. Realizing she doesn’t want to marry him, Joey finally chooses: although Dawson is her soul mate, she is meant to be with Pacey.

Of all the boys Joey dates, Dawson is probably her worst choice. Ironically, he is the only one who doesn’t suffer from the insecurity of believing he’s not good enough for her. Although the show’s ending was quitecontroversial, with fans coming down equally in favor of either Dawson or Pacey, I felt from the beginning that Dawson and Joey were not meant to be together in a romantic sense. When it came to romance, all they ever did was make one another miserable. Dawson and Joey existed in a bizarre limbo between the perfect childhood friendship they remembered, and the perfect adult romance they were never intended to have. When the romance inevitably failed, it cast a pall over their entire lives, and yet they both seemed bound & determined to force their futures to mirror their pasts even though they knew perfectly well what they were doing was wrong. To my delight, the first episode of the final season gives us a perfect snapshot moment that sums up Dawson & Joey’s entire mess of a relationship:

D: Do you think it would’ve worked out between us if things had been different?

J: I don’t know. They never are, are they?

Pacey and Joey, on the other hand, were clearly meant for each other. Both were scrappy, sarcastic, and vulnerable in similar ways. Both had highly dysfunctional families and trust issues. Both were forced into self-sufficiency at a young age, and were driven to take care of themselves. In their respective relationships with Joey, Dawson focused on abstract ideas of love, on semantics, and on himself. Pacey focused on Joey. Dawson and Joey were forever bogged down by their past, unable to move beyond it. Pacey and Joey were all about the future, challenging each other to grow up and move forward. Here's a scene from the finale:

P: I've never really put much faith in all that “if you love someone, set them free” crap, as evidenced by everything I've done in my life up to this very moment, but I am determined to be happy…And I love you. I mean, I have always, always loved you…but I also want for you to be happy…I want you to be with someone who can be a part of the life that you want for yourself. I want you to be with someone who makes you feel like I feel when I'm with you. So, I guess the point to this long run-on sentence that's been the last 10 years of our lives is just that the simple act of being in love with you is enough for me. So you're off the hook.

J: For the record, I don't want to be let off the hook. Everything I've done in my life has led me here, right now, and the last thing I want, need, or deserve is to be let off somebody's hook… I love you. You know that. And it's very real. It's so real that it's kept me moving—mostly running—from it, never ready for it…I can't be let off the hook because I just might get the notion that it's ok to keep running.

Related: A highly entertaining treatise on the similarities between Pacey/Joey and Logan/Veronica.


So, was it like Cabo in your pants?

Friday Night Lights – Seeing Other People

Smash visits a college that’s recruiting him; Matt considers an open relationship; Tami lashes out at Julie’s teacher; Eric is jealous of Tami’s relationship with a colleague, and Tyra’s attacker’s brother asks to meet with her. Photos © NBC.

I have newly converted a friend from work into a FNL fan, so I will likely be mentioning her in my FNL posts. Her name is Pants. Just, you know, FYI.

As FNL opens, Matt & Smash are at odds again. The Panthers have just lost a game, but Smash is far too self-involved to care. He’s being recruited, and that’s all he can think about, as he is on his way to visit McNair State for the weekend. Smash is starry-eyed after being wined, dined, and girlied by the college, and all of the players are welcoming – except one huge guy named Katrell, who is super rude to Smash for no reason. Later, Smash is in his boxers and on the verge of doing it with some random girl when Katrell bursts in, furious. Is it his girlfriend? His sister? Alas, it is not for us to know. Regardless, Katrell chases Smash from the room, and from the campus, screaming at him to choose another school. I sense we have not seen the last of Katrell, and I foresee some type of male bonding in the future. Pants wondered if Katrell is the brother of the girl Smash was macking on last episode, but we have no idea.

Meanwhile, Matt is given the opportunity to sleep with Lauren (previously known as “New Cheerleader”), but he refuses due to his feelings for Nurse Carlotta. Moments later, however, Carlotta attempts to shut down his growing crush by pretending nothing has happened between them. Later he makes another move, and this time Carlotta responds, but the two are interrupted by a surprise visit from Lauren.

The two storylines converge when Smash calls Matt to pick him up from where his hideout under an overpass. Apparently they are buddies again after all, although when did this happen? A few episodes ago, when Eric kicked Matt & Smash out of the game until they agreed to “be BFFs again,” it was obvious they were just doing it so they could play. But then suddenly, the rift between them has healed – when and how did this happen? Did I miss something?

Anyway, Smash tells Matt that the best way to get Lauren to dump him is to ask her if they can have an open relationship. This does indeed work, but Lauren is understandably upset and tells Matt she can’t believe his behavior after she told him what her last boyfriend did. I feel the crazy bubbling up, folks! Matt goes back to Carlotta and tells her that he has broken up with Lauren, that he can’t stop thinking about her, and that he “really likes her.” How adorable is this boy? He goes back to his room, but Carlotta comes in and attacks him, and Matt loses his virginity.

Although I'm no Lauren fan, I'm also not into the Matt-Carlotta relationship. As Pants pondered this morning, "Isn't that statutory rape, again?" When you think about it, there is an awful lot of that sort of thing going on in Dillon, and yet no one bats an eye.

Across town, Riggins has moved in with a freaky guy that Tyra’s stripper sister knows. The guy is kind of gross but seems nice, convincing Riggins that there’s more to life than football and taking him hunting. They have a nice day drinking and not shooting anything. But, in a not-so-shocking twist, the roomie turns out to be a drug dealer! Or he’s running a meth lab or something, I wasn’t really clear. But it’s something bad. And he tells Riggins, “It’s a good thing you’re a cool dude or I’d have to kill you.” And he’s totally not joking.

Understandably upset after this glimpse of what life may have in store for him, Riggins goes to practice, suits up, and refuses to leave the field. He individually apologizes to each member of the team, and they all forgive him. Eric concedes to let Riggins take his spot, although he tells the boy that he still has a long way to go. Will Riggins move back home? I hope so, I love the relationship between Tim and his brother.

During the aforementioned football game, Shelley confirms Tami's suspicions that Julie has a crush on her teacher Noah, though she assures Tami that nothing is going on. Not one to treat such things lightly, Tami corners Noah in a classroom and reams him out, threatening to have him fired and thrown in prison. He looks completely taken aback, and FNL is walking a nice fine line with this character. It does seem possible that something untoward is going on, but at the same time Noah doesn't appear to be doing anything wrong. It's kind of nice that we don't really know what's going on, and are left to draw our own conclusions. Naturally, all the students find out about Tami's tirade and it sets the school abuzz. When Julie hears the news, she storms into the guidance office, screams at Tami, and then rips a few posters off the wall for good measure.

Moving on in her reign of destruction, Tami gets into a huge fight with Eric after she goes for a night out with some other teachers. Upon hearing that Glen was there, Eric tells Tami that he doesn’t like her spending time with Glen, and his reprimand is almost word-for-word what Tami has said to Noah earlier that day (right down to “lunch behind closed doors”). Eric tells Tami she needs to pay more attention to her family (!!!) and although it would have been perfectly within reason for her to smack him, instead Tami tells him that he’s sleeping on the couch. Finally, after a mini-fight with Shelley, Tami realizes that her actions have had mortifying consequences for Julie. She also makes up with Eric, who admits that he’s feeling neglected and he misses her.

Once again, no mention of Street. Also, no mention of Santiago. This sucks!

Last but not least, the cops come to see Tyra because her attacker’s brother wishes to make amends. Tyra agrees to see him but then freaks out, so Landry agrees to go in her place. But seriously, WTF is up with Tyra & Landry!?! After everything they have been through, and the way she treated him during their breakup, I can’t believe things have just gone back to normal. Their interactions are really stilted and weird, and I don’t understand what their relationship is supposed to be anymore.

Anyway, Landry meets with the brother, Jeff, who goes on about how he can’t believe his brother would do such awful things, it’s not like him, blah blah blah. Landry, suffering equal parts guilt and anger, gets increasingly upset until he finally blows up and walks out on the guy … and runs into a beatific Lyla. Landry admits that he has a terrible secret eating away at him, and Lyla tells him that truth is a surrender to God. This was really much less hokey than it sounds, and the show ends with Landry walking into the police station and confessing to the killing.

The scenes from next week’s FNL looked kind of awful.
“Was it murder … or self-defense? Will he be ... convicted?”

In an earlier post I referred to the incident as “the murder” and then I immediately felt stupid. Isn’t this pretty cut-and-dried self-defense, or at least manslaughter? Plus there’s the fact that this guy has attacked and raped other women, which we discovered in this episode. The attempt to entice viewers by dangling the possibility that Landry will be convicted of murder seems like NBC thinks we’re all idiots.

I still love FNL, but upon talking with Pants this morning I am left wondering what will happen at the end of this season. The seniors are graduating, right? Smash, Riggins, Street … how can FNL continue with all these boys in college? Will Riggins flunk out? Will Smash leave? What do you think? Leave us a comment!


DC Fridays Part 2: The Parents of Dawson's Creek

One of the most intriguing things about DC is its depiction of parents. When the show first aired, it was criticized in part for its unrelentingly harsh portrayal of adults. The Parents Television Council proclaimed the show the single worst program of the 1997–1998 season. Reviewers described the teens of DC as “out of touch with the adult world,” with Salon.com quipping, “parents and other authority figures are absent, distracted, or virulently disapproving.”

I just assumed Kevin Williamson didn’t have the greatest relationship with his own parents.

When you really think about it, it is shocking just how awful the parents of Dawson’s Creek are. With a few exceptions, they’re all pretty crappy, even if they don’t mean to be. Was DC the first show to portray deadbeat dads, verbally abusive moms, and uncaring families? No. Was it the first to do it so sweepingly? I have no idea, but I’d be willing to bet that it was at least one of the first. Admittedly, most of the parents attempt to make some type of amends, and by the end of the show you don’t hate most of them quite so much. But, the parental role on DC seems to function mainly as an explanation for why these kids are so damaged.

Pacey’s father is verbally and physically abusive, while his mother is also verbally abusive. He is constantly being told that he’s worthless. He moves out of the house at 17, his parents could care less, and you rarely see them again.

Joey’s father is a criminal, in prison for drug trafficking. When he finally gets out, he starts dealing cocaine and goes right back to jail. He is overly critical of Joey’s life, especially the men she dates. Her mother is depicted as a saint, but she died when Joey was very young.

Jen’s father is an adulterous alcoholic, and her mother is a self-numbing addict. When Jen acts out as a teenager, her parents don’t feel like dealing with her, so they send her to live with her grandmother. As the years pass, Jen’s mother makes only one attempt to contact her daughter, and understandably it does not go well.

Jack’s mother, MIA through most of the show, has a mental condition that she developed after his older brother dies. His father refuses to accept his homosexuality, to the point that Jack is forced to move out of the house.

Dawson has the most “together” parents, though that’s not saying much. His parents have a ton of problems with each other, and that certainly fucks him up a bit, but unlike the other parents they don’t have problems with him.

And even the secondary characters have parent issues! When Audrey's mother visits, she calls her daughter a "California blonde" and says she's embarrassed to be her mother. Joey’s boyfriend Eddie admits that he doesn’t want her to meet his family because his parents will tell him he’s not good enough for her. And this type of thing crops up again, and again, and again.

What are your thoughts on the parents of Dawson’s Creek? Share with us in the comments!

Guest Blogger: Alligator

Gossip Girl – Blair Waldorf Must Pie!

Dan invites Serena’s family to share Thanksgiving dinner with his family, unaware of the awkward situation this creates for Rufus and Lily. Elsewhere, Nate and his parents also share an uncomfortable holiday meal, and Blair gets upset when she finds out her father won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving. Photo © The CW.

Chuck was noticeably absent in Wednesday's episode. His storyline is increasingly becoming more interesting while Dan and Serena are becoming Boresville.

So instead let's talk about Blair. We now know she's a recovering bulimic and she misses her gay dad. Apparently he made really good pie. Speaking of pie, there was a weird Blair bulimia/pie eating montage. After yet another fight with Serena over the Blair/Chuck affair, Blair un-invites the van der Woodsen clan to the Waldorf thanksgiving fete. In a predicable twist of fate, Dan invites Serena to his house and her fam ends up at the Humphreys for some home-cooked grub. When Lily walks into the Humphrey home to see Allison back with Rufus, things go sour fast. Allison makes Rufus choose between the two ladies, and foolishly Rufus chose orange Allison. He looked super sad about it too.

No need to worry, Nate got his GG face time this ep too (although, mostly in goofy flashback sequences). His dad nearly overdoses and Nate saves his ass. Ahh Nate…what a guy!

In the next episode there needs to be more Chuck, more Jenny/Nate developments, and of course, Rufus needs to man up and choose Lily.


Granny knows you're BFFs with Satan.

Reaper – Ashes to Ashes
Sam does plumbing work for a woman (Melinda Clarke) he discovers is dating the devil, and he finds himself attracted to her daughter, but he wonders who her father really is. Meanwhile, Ben refuses to introduce Sam and Sock to his family.
Photo © The CW.

Julie Cooper returns to TV!

Reaper's theme-of-the-week: "Is it worth waiting around for someone to decide they're ready to commit?" Apparently, the answer is no. Sam meets Mimi (Melinda Clarke), who is dating the devil but
thinks he's just a nice guy named "Jerry." And naturally, she is unfulfilled in the relationship, so Sam tells her that maybe it's time to stop waiting. Which naturally parallels the issues he's having with Andi, who he has asked out again and who keeps saying no. So Mimi and Sam both decide to move on, and Sam ends up meeting Mimi's daughter, Cady, who is super cute but who Sam suspects may be the offspring of the devil.

In "Ashes to Ashes," Sam is hunting the soul of a crematorium owner who used to sell people's body parts before cremating them (ew) and who uses the ashes of his victims to take corporeal form (this is actually kinda cool). The boys go around collecting all of the ashes so the soul can't take form -- Sock being charming as usual while Ben & Sam swipe the goods. Except rather than taking care of the ashes, Sock leaves them all in the trunk of his car. Which doesn't bode well when they capture the soul in a vacuum cleaner and then put the vacuum in the trunk. Oops!

This week had a nice little departure from the norm, in that Sam doesn't technically capture the soul in the devil-provided vessel. When they come face to face with the swirling-ash-figure, Sam doesn't have the vessel so Sock grabs the closest thing, which happens to be a vacuum cleaner. And this works! They suck the soul up and transport it to where the vessel is, and when it escapes from the vacuum they nab it with the vessel instead.

"Ashes to Ashes" also focused somewhat on Ben, and we learned that Ben is ashamed of Sock and Sam. When his grandmother comes into The Work Bench to pick up some items for a big family party, she is very suspicious of Sam, and Ben admits that she has "The Eye" and that his family believes she can see the future. He also admits that he is a huge disappointment to Grandma, who had wanted him to be a priest. Sam eventually asks for Grandma's help to "see" where the soul is, and though for a moment it seems like she will help, instead she stabs him in the hand with a fork and screams "El Diablo!" Which was awesome. Of course, one could easily predict that she would come around in the end, and when she accidentally sees them conquer the soul, she tells Ben that he is doing God's work.

As for the Andi-Sam relationship, GOOD LORD!!!!! I have nothing against Missy Peregrym, but come on! After she turns Sam down twice more, Ben tells Andi to "stop being a guy" and asks why she's torturing him. And she admits that Sam still has a chance with her. But, when Sam decides to give up on waiting for Andi, Ben keeps his trap shut (thank god). So obviously she'll be jealous when Sam starts dating Cady, but hopefully the new relationship will last and we will see a little less of Andi.

Top Sock moments:
On persistence: "Little waves of Sam crashing on the shores of Andi until she wears down."
Eulogy for the ashes: "We saved your families from a giant ash monster. You're welcome."

And finally, Sam's dad appeared in this episode and made me remember -- whatever happened to the hinted-at deeper connection between Sam's dad and the devil?!? Get it together, Reaper!


And just like that, you’re fifteen again.

Last Christmas I went through a bout of re-watching Dawson’s Creek , and it has since become one of my favorite shows. This all came about because Target was having a sale on Season One, and then every time I went back to Target, more seasons were on sale. I bought all 6 for about $15 each, and sold a few on Amazon (for more than I paid, score!) but I kept Seasons Three (the lead-up to Pacey & Joey getting together), Four (Pacey & Joey are together), and Six (the final season).

DC aired from January 1998 through May 2003 on the WB. The show is vaguely autobiographical, based on the life of creator Kevin Williamson. DC made stars of its unknown lead actors and was a flagship show for the network. According to a Wikipedia article:

“Dawson's Creek generated a high amount of publicity before its debut, with several television critics and watchdog groups expressing concerns about its anticipated ‘racy’ plots and dialogue; the controversy even drove one of the original production companies away from the project, but numerous critics praised it for its realism and intelligent dialogue that included allusions to American television icons such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. By the end of its run, the show, its crew, and its young cast had been nominated for numerous awards, winning four of them. The series is known for the verbosity and complexity of the dialogue between its teenaged characters—who commonly demonstrate vocabulary and cultural awareness that went beyond the scope of the average high school student, yet that is combined with an emotional immaturity and self-absorption reflecting actual teens. This precociousness has been a staple of a number of teenaged-themed shows since, notably including Gilmore Girls and The O.C.

When I first started to re-watch the show, I was happy to see it again mostly to relive a particular time in my life. I first began watching DC in high school but, like many other things in my life, it was lost to me once I entered college at a beautiful but remote institution in the middle of Ohio, where television reception was spotty at best. When I rekindled our affair at the ripe old age of 27, I certainly did not expect to like the show. Enjoy it, sure, but not actively like it. Imagine my surprise.

And so, in the wake of the WGA strike, we begin SDYW’s five-part Friday series on the magic of Capeside, Massachusetts.

Part One: The Characters
The main reason Dawson’s Creek was so appealing to me, and remains that way all these years later, is the attention paid to character development. All five of DC’s main characters change immensely over the course of six seasons, but — and this is really the key — they are all still completely themselves. The viewer continues to catch glimpses of the characters’ 15-year-old selves well after they have matured into adults. Each character has one severe hangup that they let dictate (often subconsciously) how everything in their lives goes down: Joey's fear of change, Dawson's naivete, Pacey's self-deprecation, Jen's deluded sense of self-awareness, and Jack's homosexuality.

Joey Potter

“Just because I don’t fit into that place you want me to doesn’t mean there’s not a place for me.”

Joey is easily the most complex character in the DC universe. Equally tough and vulnerable, she is from “the wrong side of the tracks.” Her mother dies of cancer when she is young, and her father is in prison for drug trafficking. Her older sister Bessie raises her, and the family is poor, looked down upon by other members of the community, and — for lack of a better word — kind of white trash. Joey has a complicated, co-dependent relationship with her best friend Dawson, which morphs from adoration to love to hate to friendship and hits every high and low point in between.

Over the course of six seasons, Joey goes from a from scared, prudish little girl desperately afraid of growing up to a successful, independent woman who recognizes and is able to deal with her own downfalls. Throughout the show, Joey is terrified of change, so much so that she contributes to her own self-destruction via her refusal to act. Going along with this, she consistently blames others when things do go wrong (as she expected them to, naturally). The queen of the “worst-case scenario,” when Joey misses an exam during her second year of college, her train of thought goes from “missed exam” to “I’ll be kicked out of school” to “I’ve ruined my entire future” in about five minutes. And yet, when we flash forward in the final episode, Joey has made peace with herself and her OCD tendencies in adulthood.

In the finale, we see that Joey moved to Paris after college. In adulthood, she works as an editor at a New York publishing company, and is happily living with her boyfriend until she returns to Capeside for a wedding and realizes she is meant to be with Pacey Witter. In the end, Joey and Dawson are soul mates — meant for each other, certainly, but not meant to be together in a romantic sense.

Dawson Leery

“I guess everyone has someone who challenges them and makes them shoot for something just beyond their reach … you’re with me everywhere I go.”

Dawson Leery is an idealistic, romantic film geek who is determined to spend his life making movies in Hollywood. Of all the characters on DC, he has the most stable family life (more on this in Part 2: The Parents of Dawson’s Creek). Dawson’s main problem is that he bases his life largely around another person, and that person is Joey.

After the first season, when Dawson realizes that he has romantic feelings for his best friend, he never, ever gets over her. He is a whiny, self-righteous brat right up until the moment that he faces death for the first time—the death of Mr. Brooks, a friend & film icon, and the death of Dawson’s father, Mitch. Unlike many shows, the death of Dawson’s father is not wrapped up in just a couple of episodes. After Mitch dies, Dawson drops out of USC film school and moves back to Capeside to help his mother care for his newborn sister, and from this moment on Dawson becomes a man. He does not return to school, and ends up working from the ground up as a PA for a director he had met earlier in the show. The shock of real life in Hollywood cements Dawson's character change. He continues to make mistakes, to be sure, but now he actually takes responsibility for them.

In adulthood, Dawson is the creator/director of a popular teen soap called “The Creek,” which is based upon his own life. In the finale, he and Joey finally gain closure in their relationship, with Dawson telling her that he will always love her. They are beyond romance and beyond friendship, and are true soul mates.

Pacey Witter
“Now all I can do is wait for the other shoe to drop. Wait for you to realize what a big mistake you’ve made. Wait for you to realize that I’m just gonna be a big disappointment.”

Pacey Witter is a charming, roguish slacker. He is a poor student, and his family life is abysmal. His father is an alcoholic and a domestic abuser who both verbally and physically attacks Pacey and his siblings. Pacey is constantly being told that he’s worthless—by his parents, his brother, his teachers, and even by his supposed “best friend” Dawson.

In reality, however, Pacey is probably the most self-aware, mature member of the bunch. From the very first season, when Pacey has an affair with a teacher, he comports himself with style and grace, always taking full responsibility for his actions. However, due to his upbringing, he craves respect from others while not respecting himself, often to his detriment. Pacey is never able to believe that he is “good enough” for any opportunity that might come his way. Like Dawson, Pacey invests much of his being in another person. Like Dawson, this person is Joey. Unlike Dawson, Pacey believes that Joey is far too good for him, and his insecurity ruins their relationship.

After losing everything in a stock market meltdown, Pacey returns to Capeside. In adulthood, he runs a successful restaurant while having an affair with an older woman (i.e. comes full circle from first season). When Joey returns for a wedding, she tells him that they are meant for each other, and he moves to New York to be with her (which is actually kind of lame, but we’ll get into this more in Part 3: Dawson vs. Pacey).

Jen Lindley

“Relationships are just one big sorry after another culminating in a big, final, messy sorry.”

Jen Lindley is a smart, savvy girl with a precocious past of abusing alcohol, drugs, and sex. Unable to handle her, Jen’s parents send her from New York to live with her grandmother in Capeside. Jen is considerably more sophisticated than the rest of the gang, but as a teenager she often fools herself into believing that she “knows it all.” Jen is terrified of trusting others, because when she does she usually gets hurt.

Jen eventually makes peace with herself in college, when the revelation that her grandmother has cancer, a great therapist, and her involvement with a teen help line cause her to realize that she can’t control external forces. In adulthood, Jen is a single mother with a heart condition who ends up dying far too young.

Jack McPhee

“It’s naïve to think that people aren’t gonna be small-minded and bigoted and ignorant and this whole thing isn’t just gonna get worse from here on out.”

Jack McPhee moves to Capeside during second season. He is a shy, clumsy, earnest boy who begins a relationship with Joey but eventually comes out of the closet after much soul-searching. His brother passed away at a young age, his mother went nuts soon after, his father refuses to accept his homosexuality (at first), and his perky, overly driven twin sister also goes nuts (though she bounces back eventually). Jack, left alone, moves in with Jen and Grams, where he is fully accepted and becomes part of their family. In college, Jack goes through small downward spiral of drinking and partying, but he cleans up his act.

Unfortunately, most of Jack’s character deals solely with the fact that he is gay. He has a few non-gay storylines, but mostly it’s him berating himself. He can’t handle having a boyfriend, other gay males he meets are “too gay,” and he refuses to accept himself or others. By the final season, however, Jack has come to terms with himself and his lifestyle. He is comfortable in his own skin.

In adulthood, Jack has returned to Capeside and is a teacher at the high school. He is in a committed relationship with Pacey’s older brother Doug, although Doug is closeted. After Jen dies, Jack and Doug adopt her baby daughter.


Short Hiatus!

Like many shows this week, I will be taking a short hiatus from SDYW. Back on Friday, Nov 23!


You just got slapped.

Although I watch -- and LOVE -- How I Met Your Mother, I don't blog about it because I really don't think there's anything to write about. However, if you would like to relive Marshall's song "You Just Got Slapped," today is your lucky day.

In other news...
* A Chuck recap on BuzzSugar.
* Midseason replacement news.
* Cuddy talks about House.
* An interview with the guy who plays my new favorite TV character.

Sorry I'm so boring today, folks.


The team will be his family.

Friday Night Lights - Pantherama!
Smash’s college options are revealed on the first official day of recruitment; Coach Taylor focuses on a new athlete; Matt is tempted by his grandma’s nurse even though he has a new girlfriend; Julie befriends a teacher; and Lyla and Tyra work on an event together at Tami’s bidding.
Photo © NBC.

I would have rather opened this post with a photo of Santiago, but believe it or not I can't find a decent one. This episode was pretty much all over the place, so try to keep up!
As “Pantherama!” opens, we learn that recruitment is beginning for the senior players of the Dillon Panthers. Eric sits all the players down to have “the talk” – accept no gifts, take no meetings without running it through him, etc, etc.

Smash receives call after call, and I can’t help but wonder what will happen this time (faithful viewers will remember that the last time Smash was faced with a recruiter, he seriously ate it). Fortunately, Smash is courted by all the best schools – and a black college with a paltry football program who tries to sway him by offering a full education scholarship instead. Smash and his mom get into it – she using Street as an example of why Smash shouldn’t put all his eggs in one basket, he retorting that he needs her full support because he is absolutely going to make it to the NFL – and finally he tells her that he will deal with recruitment without her help. She appeals to Coach Taylor to step up as a father figure, making my aside during last week’s post quite topical, and Coach puts Smash in his place.

And speaking of father figures! This week we find Santiago much improved at football, but when Coach sends him to Tami to make sure all his schooling is squared away, he is forced to admit that his parents were deported, and he has been living with his uncle … who hasn’t been home in 10 months. Tami informs Eric, and they get into a mini-fight about what to do after Buddy offers to let Santiago move in with him. In the end, Tami finally agrees that it’s better not to throw Santiago into the system, and he moves into Buddy’s apartment, where he heartbreakingly explains, “this is the first real bed I ever had.” Up to this point, Buddy seems to be trying really hard, but at this he looks awkward and leaves the room, leaving me to wonder if he can actually step up and do this. Don't fuck this up, Buddy!

Santiago is growing on me, and I am curious to see how the relationship between he and Buddy will play out. I have always liked Buddy, even when he was a cheating bastard, and I could see him being a good father for Santiago. The fact that he stocked his fridge with steak was cute, as was Tami telling him to "get some vegetables in here." And speaking of father figures and my amazing precognizance, when Eric explained to Tami that the team would be Santiago’s family -- I just loved it!!!

Meanwhile, Riggins has moved out of the house because he is uncomfortable being around Jackie and his brother. Or something. At first I thought she had moved in, but that makes no sense because she has a kid. So I guess it's just that she's there all the time. He goes to Tyra, who gives him a 48-hour time limit (I think, details like this are the casualty of my lack of Tivo), and he eventually ends up living with some random dude that Tyra’s stripper sister knows. I foresee this ending badly. Oh, and he’s still not back on the team, nor does this episode even mention it, which is pretty lame.

Julie, still upset about Saracen and the new cheerleader, befriends a young teacher who also happens to be the newspaper advisor. She writes a controversial story about the money raised during Pantherama & where it goes (Eric is not happy), and she very clearly has a crush on this guy, who looks like that guy from A Walk To Remember, although I don’t think it’s him. [Update: I looked it up, his name is Shane West). After seeing Julie and the teacher together once – and only for a few moments – Tami immediately knows that something is going on, but she doesn’t really say anything. For his part, the teacher doesn’t seem like a sleaze, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Tami, with her usual “sweet bulldozer” technique, forces Tyra and Lyla to run a portion of Pantherama, and they repay her by choreographing a striptease (in the loosest sense of the word) for the Panthers to do during a pep rally. Once again, Tyra is a side character here. Considering what has been happening in her life recently, and that she was JUST! forced to break up with Landry against her own wishes, she seems awfully carefree. Her hallway conversation with Landry was awfully uneventful, considering he was telling her that not only did his father figure out that he had killed someone, he then destroyed the evidence. WTF?!?

Matt Saracen, trying to learn the moves for the aforementioned striptease, gets a little closer to his grandmother’s nurse, and then a little closer still when he unexpectedly kisses her in the parking lot after the pep rally. She looks uncomfortable, he feels stupid, but then the next morning at breakfast she lays her hand on his back as she puts his plate down and smiles over her shoulder as she walks away, and suddenly Saracen can’t wipe the grin off his face. But isn't he still dating cheerleader girl, you ask? Why yes, he is! This should be interesting. Cheerleader girl doesn’t have much spark yet, but for some reason I can totally see her as a psycho stalker a la Swim Fan.

And, in the most disappointing news of the night, Street is totally MIA from this episode. Damn.


More tomorrow. XOXO, Michael.

The Office – The Deposition
Corporate and legal complications hound Michael when Jan sues Dunder Mifflin and he’s summoned as a witness. Meanwhile, Darryl and Jim face off in table tennis, with Kelly talking trash. Photo © Byron Cohen/NBC.

The Office goes out with a bang. Sigh.

When Jan sues Dunder Mifflin for firing her, Michael is called to testify at her deposition and finds himself torn between two lovers -- his girlfriend and his company. While Jan and Michael drive to the deposition, we are treated to a lovely little scene in which Michael memorizes what Jan has told him to say during the proceedings ("Disrespect:
My friend Disray got new specs. Disrayspect.") He starts off quite well, leading to a talking head interview where Jan admits that Michael is actually good at some things. However, things go downhill from there, turning Jan and Michael against each other.

Or that's what you'd think. Although some terrible things do come out (Jan has stolen Michael's diary to use as evidence, and gave Michael terrible performance reviews during her time as his boss), I really get the impression that truly Jan loves Michael. I was terribly glad that they didn't get into a fight at the end. They were both quiet and a little sullen, but there was no big blow-up. Their relationship may be fucked up, but in many ways they are perfect together. The moment in the cafeteria when Jan says I love you to Michael was very sweet -- and, if I remember correctly, the first time we've heard her say that.

Another sweet cafeteria moment was the interaction between Toby and Michael ... right up to the point that Michael pushed Toby's tray onto the floor. I thought the two would bond, even if later Michael would pretend it never happened. But no! I love the fact that there is absolutely no reason for Michael to hate Toby. He just does, no explanation needed.

Back at the office, Darryl and Jim are embroiled in a hardcore ping-pong match ... hardcore for Kelly and Pam, that is. Kelly continually harasses Pam with "smack talk" -- not "trash talk," which is hypothetical ("Your mama's so fat she could eat the internet"), but "smack talk," which is real ("You’re ugly and I know it for a fact cause I've got the evidence right here").

Pam, sick of being smack talked (“Were Jim’s parents first cousins that were also bad at ping pong?”), turns the meeting room table into a ping-pong table so that Jim can practice, and we learn that Dwight is a ping-pong prodigy. Jim improves, but when he and Darryl face off again Pam gets fed up and challenges Kelly to a game. They are both terrible. The end.


Guest Blogger: Alligator

Gossip Girl – Seventeen Candles

At her 17
th birthday party, Blair attempts to mask her strained relationship with Nate, and Dan invites Vanessa to the party so that she and Serena can bond. Meanwhile, Jenny brings her mom home for a visit, much to Rufus’ surprise, and Nate’s parents pressure him to make a sacrifice for the good of their family. Photo
© The CW.

Last week's episode had lots of sex. Dan and Serena. Chuck and Blair. Rufus and Lily???

Let us discuss Chuck and Blair for a moment. Suddenly Chuck discovers "butterflies" in his stomach for Blair. He has finally met his match and found someone to love. Awww … how sweet. But, he is still a slimeball and Blair can't shake her love for Nate. Although, she gives it a darn good try when Chuck gives her a diamond necklace. I guess a little bling helps wash away the slime.

Dan is having trouble sorting out what it means to be friends with a girl and simultaneously have a girlfriend. After doing it with Serena he takes her out to a breakfast, and of course their waitress is Vanessa. Awkward! In order to help Serena and Vanessa bond, Dan chooses to bring her to Blair's birthday party that night, where the two ladies battle it out on Guitar Hero. There were also some gratuitous sushi making scenes at the party. Apparently rich people just eat a lot of sushi.

Jenny surprises her family by schlepping her mom Allison back from her new Hudson home. The most shocking thing about this scenario was this lady's crazy orange tan! Apparently there's tons of sun up on the Hudson. Rufus gets over his problems with Allison, and soon they are making out on the floor of their Williamsburg loft. This bummed me out because I'm totally rooting for Rufus and Lily love.

Nate finally stands up to his parents and doesn't give Blair the family jewels. Good for him! The total surprise of the episode, though, was the crazy chemistry between Nate and Jenny. Who would have thunk it? Although for now, the two are claiming to be just friends.


Breaking News!

Logan from Gilmore Girls joins Friday Night Lights! I can totally see it!

Reading gives you migraines.

Reaper - The Cop
Gladys the DMV demon comes to the Work Bench, her purchases lead Sock to believe she's hiding bodies in her house. Meanwhile, the Devil's gift of a watch to Sam turns out to be problematic.

Hooray for Reaper! "The Cop" was very different from previous episodes -- in a good way. Mitch Pileggi (a.k.a. Skinner) guest stars as a cop on the hunt for a copycat serial killer loose in Seattle. But Sam knows (thanks to the Devil) that it's no copycat -- it's an escaped soul on the loose, getting his revenge and killing all those who helped put him on death row.

The Devil gives Sam a fancy watch to thank him for being such a good employee, and although Sam is wary of this, he accepts the gift. However, after accidentally tasering a police officer (Pileggi) with the vessel du jour, Sam becomes the number one suspect in the case, because the watch turns out to belong to a prosecutor (or something) who was killed earlier in the episode. And the cop (wish I remembered his name) was the one who collared the soul in the first place. Sam, on the verge of being thrown in prison, completely loses it and tells the cop everything (escaped soul, bounty hunter, devil, etc). Naturally the cop thinks Sam is nuts, until he sees the soul with his own eyes. Sam then rescues the cop. And I'm thinking, "Woah! Someone else knows now? Someone in law enforcement? This could be kind of a cool twist."

And then BAM! Reaper pulls yet another cool twist on me! (Spoilers ahead). After Sam saves the cop from certain death, the cop turns his gun on him, telling Sam that he needs a high-profile arrest in order to restore his former glory. The devil intervenes, forces the cop to shoot himself in the head, and we learn that the cop had sold his soul to the devil years earlier in an effort to jumpstart his career. I did not see that coming.

Meanwhile, Sock and Ben stalk Gladys after she comes into the Work Bench and buys ten pounds of toilet paper. After a series of rather depressing incidents (including the neighborhood kids egging Gladys' house and calling her a monster) -- and after learning that all demons are just fallen angels -- Sock feels sorry for Gladys and goes to apologize. And they end up doing it on her couch.

BAM! Another twist! That last part was a dream, and Sock wakes up screaming. But I totally bought that it was real, and that it was happening. Nice one, Reaper!

Finally, Andi breaks up with Greg after he plans her a huge surprise party that she doesn't want. And Josie tries to help Andi realize that what she does want is Sam, but Andi says she doesn't want to date Sam because she's afraid of ruining their friendship. And Sam gives her a diamond necklace for her birthday, and Andi cries and refuses to accept it because it's not "something a friend would wear." (WTF?!?) And Sam, amazingly, actually makes a move and tells her "Then don't wear it as a friend." And Andi cries, and tells Sam he's too important to her as a friend, blah blah blah. This strife is great, it's exactly what I was hoping for ... except that the writers don't seem to have a clear notion of what Sam and Andi are actually supposed to mean to each other.

Sometimes they're "best friends." Sometimes they're "friends." Obviously they are attracted to each other. But one minute she's telling him they can't be friends anymore, and the next minute she's whisking him off to a secluded movie date and falling asleep on his shoulder. The way this is supposed to go is that they remain casual buddies on the surface while secretly (though obviously to us) pining for each other. Pam and Jim, anyone?

Also, Ted and Greg both said "aboot" instead of "about." Anyone else notice that? Eh?

The best bits:
Hooray, Ted is back!
The soul taking his tattoos off to kill people (i.e. barbed wire to strangle the judge).
Sam & Greg's slap fight.
Gladys telling Sock he has a pretty mouth.


Sam: Don't do anything stupid.
Sock: I am almost definitely going to do something stupid.


You’re a brooding … rough … whatever.

Friday Night Lights – How Did I Get Here
Building pressure forces Landry to tell his dad the truth about the killing, the arrival of Tami’s sister (Jessalyn Gilsig) prompts Tami to reexamine her life, and Riggins has something to prove after he’s kicked off the team. Photo © NBC.

In the Taylor home, Eric is furious when he discovers that his salary has been cut by 37%. He goes to Buddy, who works out a deal to make Eric the school’s Athletic Director, though they tell him that it’s not really a job, just a title and a salary bump. However, we learn that is not the case when the Women’s Soccer coach comes storming into Taylor’s office with a deflated soccer ball, railing on him because the Football department gets all the school’s money. I’m sure she will be back, and if they even hint at the fact that Coach Taylor could possibly be unfaithful (even if he doesn’t go through with it, much like Sandy in the first season of the OC when he came this close to kissing another women), I will be pissed.

Tami’s sister Shelley (Jessalyn Gilsig as a nice person, hooray!) comes to visit in this episode, and we see how different the two women’s lives are. Shelley is a free spirit who travels a lot and doesn’t have a family to tie her down. Tami freaks out when she is forced to face facts and it hits her that she has 18 more years of caring for another human being in front of her. Though her sister comforts her, it doesn’t end in smiles.

Matt Saracen meets a new girl at school, a cheerleader, who introduces herself in the hallway. His teammates vibe him as he talks to her, laughing and nudging him, and he is so adorable that he asks why they are hitting him. Later, Julie comes to see Matt at the diner and apologizes for everything, telling him she hopes they can be friends again someday, and Matt reciprocates the sentiment. Even later, however, he makes out with new girl outside a party, where Julie sees them and tears up. Tyra, taking on a big sister role, takes Julie home for movies and ice cream. Other than that, Tyra does not make much of an appearance in this episode except when she provides Landry something to look longingly at.

And speaking of Landry, I WAS RIGHT!!!! Landry’s father figures out that he had something to do with the killing, and to protect his son he drives their station wagon out to the middle of nowhere and sets it on fire as he prays to God for forgiveness. I have no idea where this storyline will go next. Will the detectives figure everything out and end up arresting Landry’s father for tampering with evidence? Will he lose his job? I’ll be on the edge of my seat until we find out!

Meanwhile, Riggins has gotten himself kicked off the team, as missing a week’s worth of practice does not sit well with Coach Taylor. His brother takes him to meet with Tami (who has returned to her job as a guidance counselor), and after a hee-larious conversation about how a breast pump works, Riggins’ bro asks Tami to pull some strings with the Coach to get Riggins back on the team. Tami is not down. Riggins then proceeds to get drunk (who saw that coming?) until Lyla asks him to help her new ex-juvenile-delinquent buddy Santiago learn to play football. Riggins blows her off, but then sees Santiago practicing (horribly) by himself and comes to his aid. Smash and Matt join in the fun, and when Coach sees them he offers Santiago a chance to practice with the team. So far Santiago appears to be acclimating nicely to the school and the team – I expected to him to have more of a chip on his shoulder, although I guess nobody has done anything but be really good to him. They seem to be creating a character that can take over Riggins’ position, which is interesting. As Coach walks away, Riggins asks if he’s “showing him something” and Taylor just laughs and tells him he’s not even close.

I adore the whole notion of “coach as father figure” that this show has cultivated. The Dillon Panthers have great home lives, terrible home lives, and everything in between. However, one thing that most of them do not have is a father. Riggins’ father is a drunken jerk who abandoned his kids, Saracen’s father is a decent man who nevertheless abandoned his kid to go fight in Iraq, Smash’s father is dead (and we learned in first season that he was an adulterer)... The coach is all they have. He is the one who pushes them to be the best they can, who listens to them when they need it, who is tough on them when they that, and from who they are constantly vying for approval. In fact, I would say they are desperate for his approval.

Or at least, they were. Now that Eric abandoned them (to go teach at TMU), the dynamic is very different. They talk back to him more, and respect him less. I am looking forward to watching the relationship between Eric and his players mend itself as second season continues.

Finally, after a birthday party during which they WATCH A VIDEO OF HIM PLAYING FOOTBALL (!!!), Street realizes that he has to quit coaching the team and move on with his life. But what will he do in Dillon, a town that is all about football? Tune in next week to find out!