The East Dillon Lions and their star quarterback aim to win at any cost
"I couldn't be happier where I am right now." – Eric Taylor
During its first three seasons, the football team at the center of "Friday Night Lights" was the Dillon Panthers; they were undisputed champions who had great teamwork as well as polished technical skills. Last season, the new focal point was the East Dillion Lions, the scrappy underdogs with some raw talent and a lot of heart. This year, the show still revolves around the Lions, but they have become something different and more fascinating: a team that may gain a state championship and lose their own souls in the process.
Partly due to the players' anger over the despicable (and, as Coach Taylor points out, criminal) release of their juvenile police records, partly due to Billy Riggins aggressive coaching of Luke, and partly just due to newfound arrogance, the Lions wipe the floor with old rivals the Panthers. It is a nasty, vicious game, capped off by Vince's amazing but completely meaningless 65-yard pass for a final touchdown. The conflict and consternation are visible in Coach's subdued reaction to the victory, and to Crowley's pointed "That's not who we are, Eric." It is clear that the Lions are getting out of control and it is even clearer that Eric will need to act decisively before most of the kids slip away from him.
Chief among those in danger of getting lost is Vince, caught between his newly resurrected father and his long-standing father figure. It is unrealistic to expect that a seventeen-year old would have the fortitude or wisdom to see through Ornette's swagger and take a more long-term view, and it was painful to see Eric's virtual helplessness in the situation. Although he will unleash a ferocious tongue-lashing at Vince after the game, he cannot really step in any further, no matter how unwisely that parent is behaving. All he can do is make sure to communicate where he stands, and his icy contempt during the conversation with Ornette at the barbeque ("Would you do me the honor of informing me how you do remember it, so I can be filled in on what's going on?") did that very well. But it is easy to see that (at this stage anyway), Vince's father really does believe he is acting in his best interests and securing his future. Both father and son are surely in for a rude awakening.
Still sleepwalking around is Miss Julie Taylor, our resident morose and put-upon little college dropout. The writers seem to be using this plot to explore her relationship with her parents more than any emotional fallout from the affair with her TA, and that's fine with me. However, one thing that is hard to swallow is that Derek hasn't already been fired after some mighty public exposure; even without her parents going after him, surely the gossip about the scene in Julie's dorm would have resulted in some kind of disciplinary action. Hopefully, we will see little to no more of him, even if it means missing out on the excellent scenes like the one where Tami realizes who she is talking to, and it looks like she is forcing herself not to vomit and/or cry right there in his office. But maybe it will take a move to sunny Florida to solve everyone's problems.
- Jason Street! Yes, there was some squealing and hand clapping from someone (me) upon his appearance. And it was nice that he remained a loyal Panther supporter.
- Also nice? Tami's utter lack of enthusiasm when she said "Let's have a barbeque."
- "Mrs. Riggins works at The Landing Strip?" Never change, Luke.
- The lighting in this episode was really lovely, particularly in the scene between Vince and his father, as they reminisce about childhood visits to Carroll Park.
The season finale deftly blends in a lot of heart with the usual silliness
Tonight was no exception, as it brought to the forefront several more melancholy or complicated situations, chiefly Jules and Grayson clashing over having more children. It could be argued that Jules should have seen this coming, as Grayson's marriage broke up when his wife wouldn't have children, or that Grayson is unreasonable to expect that a woman over 40 would want to go through raising a child all over again. But the astonishing thing was that in an essentially frivolous sitcom, theses issues were brought up and discussed by two adults in an adult fashion. Even the comedic stalling of "let's just have lots of sex and not talk about it" was pretty believable. Indeed, nothing was really resolved, and we will have to wait until next November to find out how things shake out.
- There was no doubt that Travis was going to come back, but having Laurie use his crush on her to open his eyes to his excuse-making was clever, and it also allowed us to see the softer side of her personality. Expertly played by Busy Philipps and Dan Byrd throughout.
- More great acting: Brian Van Holt. The simplicity of "I'm a little bit lonely" was quite touching.
- Hey, there was comedy! I swear! Full confession: I never watched "Scrubs" so I know I probably wasn't the best at catching all the inside jokes of guitar-playing Ted, but he was pretty funny even in a vacuum.
- "If you're leaving me for him, don't drag it out. Just do it."
- "Old Ferret Eyes is like four centimeters dilated right now."
- How can make a ring tone of Ellie and Grayson singing the Elmo song?
- "You're very close to turning into that music producer who murders people."
- "Is that a candle holder from your room?" "Don't worry about it."
- Favorite bit? All of the rapid-fire conversations about the toothbrush.
- "Ha ha. Denial kiss"
- How fun was Tom floating around in the background of every shot?
- Andy and Ellie will always win at couples ("Ooo, free drinks.")
Ushering in the end of an era, the talk icon strikes out on her OWN
Actress coming to 'The Young and the Restless'
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Soap legend Genie Francis is coming to "The Young and the Restless" to play Cane's mother on Friday, May 27, 2011, but first, the "General Hospital" alum stopped by to dish with the ladies of "The Talk" on Tuesday -- and there's more soapy fun to come! "All My Children" diva Susan Lucci is set to visit "The Talk" on Thursday, followed by "Santa Barbara" alum Constance Marie on Friday. In the meantime, check out what Francis had to say during her visit.
In addition to dishing her new role, Genevieve Atkinson on "The Young and the Restless," Francis thanked Oprah Winfrey for her getting her the job, talked addiction and looked back to Luke and Laura's infamous 1981 wedding.
Francis talks about the vengeful vixen she's bringing to Genoa City on Friday; her new onscreen hubby Tristan Rogers (Colin, "Y&R"; ex-Robert Scorpio, "General Hospital") and her real life love story with hubby Jonathan Frakes ("Star Trek: Next Generation").
Francis also looks back to shooting that famous "General Hospital" wedding, the highs and lows of getting into the business as a teen and her daughter's career dreams.
"The Talk" airs weekdays on CBS.
New Directions takes on Nationals, New York
By Rachel Stuhler
It's been two years in the making, but the kids of McKinley High have finally reached Nationals -- and New York City. And with twelve teenagers crammed into just two hotel rooms, you know there's going to be mayhem. Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) ill-advisedly leaves the kids on their own to write the original songs for the competition while he sneaks out and prepares for his big Broadway debut. The kids are still in the dark about Schue's imminent resignation until Vocal Adrenaline coach Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson) deliberately outs the secret just to rattle the kids' confidence. But it doesn't work -- the kids are proud of Mr. Schue, and their support only makes him change his mind, anyway.
"I Love New York"/"New York, New York," Madonna/"On the Town"
The kids defy Mr. Schue's lockdown, reasoning that "New York will write the songs" for them. While the jaunt through the city's more touristy spots doesn't result in any great Nationals material, it does inspire a song-and-dance number. As usual, the kids shake things up by combining Madonna's "I Love New York" with "New York, New York" from the musical "On the Town."
"Still Got Tonight," Matthew Morrison
In his time away from the glee club, Mr. Schue explores the theater where April Rhodes' "Crossrhodes" will be staged. He tests out new material for the show, performing Matthew Morrison's own real-life hit, "Still Got Tonight."
"Bella Notte," from "Lady and the Tramp"
Finn (Cory Monteith) decides that New York is the time to tell Rachel (Lea Michele) that he wants her back. He stages a romantic date that spans Central Park to Sardi's (and a surprise cameo by Broadway great Patti Lupone), even enlisting the guys to serenade her with "Bella Notte" from Disney's "Lady and the Tramp." Unfortunately for Finn, Rachel's realized she loves something more than him -- and that something is stardom.
"For Good," from the musical "Wicked"
Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Rachel take an early morning trip to have breakfast at Tiffany's, just like Audrey Hepburn. When Rachel admits that she's confused about her feelings for Finn – and her inevitable exit from Lima in just a year -- Kurt tells her she needs to experience the limelight, just to know what it feels like. The two sneak into the "Wicked" theater and sing the duet "For Good," bringing their relationship full circle from their Season 1 audience favorite, "Defying Gravity."
"Yeah," Usher feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris
All too quickly, it's time for the competition to start. The first group up is the Crawford County Girls Choir, clad in white, Grecian dresses that make them look innocent and angelic. This image is soon shattered when they launch into a version of Usher's "Yeah" that almost seems dirtier than the original.
"As Long As You're There," Original Song
Vocal Adrenaline takes the stage right before New Directions, but not before VA's star, Sunshine Corazon (Charice) has a minor breakdown in the bathroom. To make up for sending the poor girl to a crack house, Rachel calms her down and convinces Sunshine that she'll be brilliant. And to no one's surprise, she is; Vocal Adrenaline, all blue chiffon and high heels, plays right to the crowd.
"Pretending"/"Light Up the World," Original Songs
The first half of New Directions' performance is, as always, about Rachel and Finn and their inability to get it together. As the solo ends and the two share a highly unprofessional onstage kiss, the rest of the group launches into the upbeat "Light Up the World." SPOILER: The kiss may have ruined it for everyone and the kids don't even place in the competition. But as they look ahead to next year, there's plenty of love to keep them busy – a surprise coupling of Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Sam (Chord Overstreet), the return of Finnchel, and Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt finally say "I love you."
"Glee" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Interview with Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Patrick made a big mistake when he cheated on his wife Robin on "General Hospital" -- and not just because cheating sucks. His former flame Lisa was desperate to prove the reunion was more than just a one-night stand, whether that meant taking Robin out or throwing her own body in front of Robin's car.
Now, with Patrick and Robin finally making strides in repairing their marriage, Lisa is ready to strike again. She's going to tamper with their water heater and lock Robin in the basement for the explosion, so Patrick can take the blame. From what McCullough & Thompson tease in this exclusive video, however, they may be one step ahead of her.
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.
With the season two finale, 'Glee' gets into a New York state of mind
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" takes a bow this Wednesday
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
After 25 years of ruling daytime, Oprah Winfrey and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will say goodbye this week on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. The big finale starts with the two-day star-studded spectacular on Monday and Tuesday, followed a finale so highly anticipated that a 30-second ad spot sold for a reported one million dollars!
Oprah Winfrey took American by storm with "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which premiered September 8, 1986. After changing the face of the nation with book clubs, car giveaways and celeb interviews, she announced she was retiring from daytime talk back in November, 2009. Now, the day is finally upon us!
Oprah's final week of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" starts with "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," a two-day special featuring highlights from last week's star-studded extravaganza at Chicago's United Center.
"The grandest, most spectacular surprise ever...and Oprah has no idea!" promises the teaser. "See living legends, once-in-a-lifetime performances, ultimate viewers and the ultimate tribute."
Tom Hanks played master of ceremonies at the big event, while Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Beyonce, Josh Groban, Rascal Flatts, Usher, Kristin Chenoweth and Rosie O'Donnell were among the performers. Stars who turned out and may make the finale cut include Tom Cruise, Madonna, Beyonce, Halle Berry, Dakota Fanning, John Legend, Jamie Foxx, Madonna, Will Smith, Katie Holmes, Dakota Fanning, Halle Berry, Diane Sawyer, Josh Groban, Jada Pinkett Smith, Maria Shriver, Patti LaBelle, Gayle King, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Seinfeld, Tyler Perry, Diane Sawyer, Dr. Phil, Nate Berkus and Simon Cowell and more.
Needless to say, Oprah got teary at her going away party and she'll likely tear up for the big goodbye on Wednesday, May 25.
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" finale promises to be a more intimate affair than the two-day party and is expected to become the most watched show in daytime history. That's why 30-second ad spots were reportedly sold for a daytime record-breaking cool million dollars.
While Oprah and America are recovering from the goodbye, there will still be two days left in the week. Thursday will be a rebroadcast of Oprah's farewell season premiere with special guest John Travolta, with Friday closing out finale week with Supremes icon Diana Ross, her 5 children and a show-stopping performance.
Then, it's time to move on. Oprah Winfrey is ready to put her attention to taking OWN to the next level and seeing the world with her upcoming OWN series "Oprah's Next Chapter," which promises "in-depth revealing interviews and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from the ends of the big, beautiful earth to her own backyard."
Rosie O'Donnell , meanwhile, will take over the stages Oprah ruled from for the past 25 years, making her OWN return to daytime in the OWN daytime talk show "Rosie," due to premiere this fall.