December 11, 2008

The Giving Tree

The episode of Friday Night Lights that aired last night, "The Giving Tree", was easily one of the best of the entire series, and therefore, among the very best in the history of television.

This morning the Golden Globe nominations were announced and Friday Night Lights was once again completely snubbed.

If the industry won't recognize the immense talents of these people, then I will.

Congratulations to the writing staff for stories and dialogue that are always genuine and moving. In particular to Liz Heldens for "The Giving Tree" script.

Congratulations to all of the directors for never making this show feel like television. For ensuring that no matter what the actors do or where they go we see it but we are never in the way of it. It is a pleasure to watch and it's a lot harder than it sounds. (Jeffery Reiner, Allison Liddi, Michael Waxman, Patrick R. Norris, Jonas Pate, Stephen T. Kay, Dean White and David Boyd who directed "The Giving Tree.")

Brad Leland, you sir are a world class jackass when you need to be, you are a sympathetic and haplessly lovable dad when it's needed and you fall completely apart with aplomb when it's called for. Bravo.

I know Minka Kelly has received a number of disses since the premier of FNL for being the weak link in the cast but she held her own last night and I have nothing but good things to say about the way she was able to be angry and sad and scared and still make a sweet joke at Julie's expense and smile through the awkwardness of the goings on in the Taylor abode simultaneously.

Zach Gilford has always played shy and nervous well, but he took it to a whole new level last night. Avoiding eye contact with Coach and looking like he wanted to die when he had to talk to him in the backyard - he was fantastic.

Similarly, Amy Teegarden is a talented actress who has always been great as Julie but she held her own opposite Connie Britton in a scene so good that just thinking about it is giving me goose bumps. The best mother-daughter scene I've ever seen on television and probably in the top 5 scenes in television history.

There has never been a single scene in which Adrianne Palicki and Jesse Plemmons weren't wonderful, but when he explains to Tyra that he is The Giving Tree and she is the selfish little boy, he was truly perfect. And then she charmed the socks right off of my feet with just a look in the club during Crussifictorious's performance.

Of course, the real heart and soul of the show are Coach and Tami and I definitely believe that the credit for that goes to Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton who are, without a doubt, the best actors on television.

I don't believe I've ever seen more believable discomfort and dread and shock and sadness in the eyes of someone as I did in that moment when Coach was sitting on the edge of the bed trying to summon the strength to tell Tami what he'd witnessed that afternoon. I'm reminded of Marilyn on Northern Exposure who once said that, in dance, to have good stillness is just as important as having good movement. Chandler's movement and stillness are equally brilliant.

Most of all, Connie Britton. Like I've said about so many, she's always great. But last night she was one step beyond perfection. I never think of her as an actress playing a wife and a mother - I think of her as Tami Taylor, wife and mother. She didn't seem to be saying things that someone else wrote for her to say, she seemed to be saying what a mother says to her teenage daughter after finding out her "little girl" is having sex. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I have now started crying just thinking about it. It was that good.

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