Just finished watching last night’s episode. This show really tears at me, and I think it’s because of the extreme ways in which it is both good and bad. At least, in my eyes.
I think it’s a really good script most episodes. The characters are believable. Guy praying in a Baptist church, thanking God that the team he was pulling against lost. Both points of view on the lawsuit expressed eloquently and reasonably by the appropriate parties. Good banter. Overlapping dialog.
The sound editing is very good. A room full of partying people does not drown out the whispering between the front and center characters. But neither is the background overly supressed. You can hear the occasional loud punchline or primal scream.
Some of the acting is quite good. The coach, the bad boy’s girlfriend, the new quarterback (Timothy Hutton all over again) are all good. Likewise the car lot owner and a couple others.
Gah. The shaky frigging camera. Never ceasing. This motion sickness worldview is just too annoying to allow for enjoyment of the finer aspects, at least to me. A shaky camera is good for scenes of chaos or running or things like that. But there is no point to it during a quiet dialog drama in a hospital room. Especially due to…
The frigging nose-hair close-ups. I mean, my God. I now know what a guy’s face would look like if I were kissing him with my eyes open. That’s because you can see the dandruff in these people’s eyelashes. I realize that that’s partly because it’s high def, but that too should be taken into account by the photographer/director.
The scene editing. From a close-up of tea-stained teeth to the flaky cuticles of fingernails tapping on a pocket to a half-focused half-face half-hidden by half a door jamb — all to deliver the line, “Thanks.” I’m guessing that all this pretentious camera work is intended to convey a sort of documentary style production. But. You need look no further than The Office to see how this is done right. Friday Night Lights does not do it right.
And finally, the dialog coaching. Like so many B-level motion pictures about the South, only one or two characters have anything close to an authentic local accent. No Texan teen is ever going to say, “You guys are the greatest parents. I love you guys.” At least not without the strongly nazalized long-I of longstanding southern tradition for “guys”. But even failing that, the word down here is “y’all”. And it isn’t like that’s some closely guarded secret. And in that part of the South, “want” and “won’t” are homonyms.
Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest.