Jesse Plemons

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Critic's Notebook: Strike — and Life — Goes On

Calista Flockhart, Dave Annable and Sally Field in Brothers & Sisters by Craig Sjodin/ABC

How’s this for irony? All last week, trying not to get too depressed about what a protracted writers’ strike might mean for the TV season and the industry at large, I was secretly looking forward to a weekend getaway: catching former Alias star Jennifer Garner’s Broadway debut in a revival of Cyrano, opposite Kevin Kline and Rescue Me’s Daniel Sunjata. Unfortunately, my tickets were for Saturday night, by which time the stagehands’ union had initiated their own sudden walkout and work stoppage.At this rate, I might actually finish the book I’ve been reading since mid-October.(Thankfully, I was lucky enough to catch Aaron Sorkin's new play, The Farnsworth Invention, before the strike. It was scheduled to have its official opening night later this week, but when it reopens, I predict a healthy run for this fascinating, entertaining play recounting the birth of television.)While consumers of TV, movies and even theater wait for unions and producers to reac... read more

"Let's Get It On"

You mean Landry? Jesse Plemons, Kyle Chandler by Bill Records/NBC

Guest blogger Casey Marsella (Heroes) here! Leah couldn't make it tonight, but I'll do my best to recap this amazing show!Landry! Landry! Landry!Jesse Plemons made Dillon (and FNL fans) stand up and cheer tonight. His performance is what I love about this show. I’ve always noticed that the people who seem "out of place" are usually the ones most comfortable in their own skin. Landry used to be the goofy, one-liner sidekick, but he was always sure of himself. Tonight he proved that. His halftime speech was the highlight of the episode: "We can win together or lose alone." It was the perfect lead-in to: Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose!So, who’s together and who’s alone?Let’s start with the Taylors. Tami is thrilled to have her husband back, but not enough to give him the "green light." Coach was gently shot down and forced to sleep on the couch so Tami could finally get a good night’s sleep. The next day, the bags under his eyes initiated an unwanted ... read more

He's Back, Baby!

MacGregor is out and Taylor is in. Chris Mulkey by Bill Records/NBC

Episode Recap: "Backfire"Who didn't have a little flutter in his (or her) heart when Coach Taylor, back in his Dillon Panther blues, stood up in front of that room like nothing had changed and said, "Let's go. Let's have some fun today"? What a way to end an episode that already just seemed to fly by.Aside from that weird, Mafia-like threat from Coach MacGregor ("I have a family, too, and you just remember that. I'll be seeing you again"), Eric's homecoming was nothing less than joyous. Julie and Tami are well on their way to patching things up, especially now that it looks like the grungy Swede might be out of the picture. Matt Saracen has someone back on his side again, and Buddy should probably be considered the town hero.Ah, Buddy. We may have just been witness to the only game in Panther history that Buddy honestly wanted his beloved team to lose. It was quite a sight to watch him hold back a grin as Smash got blocked again and again, leaving Dillon with a humiliating loss on t... read more

What you think of the new ...

Question: What you think of the new season of Desperate Housewives? So far it's been an enjoyable surprise to me. It may not be (and probably won't ever be) as solid as the first season, but I have found it much more enjoyable than Grey's Anatomy lately, especially any scenes between Marcia Cross and Dana Delany. Also, I recently started watching Friday Night Lights, and I've read about all the disdain for the Tyra-Landry storyline. Personally, it has been my favorite storyline so far. Adrienne Palicki and Jesse Plemons are terrific, especially in the last scene of the second episode. Do you really think the murder subplot takes away from the show? Answer: On Desperate Housewives: I wholeheartedly agree. Dana Delany is the best thing to happen to Wisteria Lane in quite a while, and her simmering rivalry with Marcia Cross' Bree is great fun. The show itself has generally become a lot more watchable (though still uneven), and I'm actually finding myself looking forward to it most Sundays. ... read more

Brawls On and Off the Field

Eric hopes he can get his old job back. Kyle Chandler by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Episode Recap: "Are You Ready for Friday Night?"Is this show about football or hockey? There was so many smackdowns (verbal and physical) tonight, that I think I'm forming bruises in sympathy. What does it say about a show when the characters who are doing the best at the moment are the ones who recently committed murder?That's right, you Tyra and Landry fans — the deed has been done, is probably going to be done again. And it seems like they're genuinely in love. Dillon's former bad girl — who seems to have passed on her particular brand of anger to Julie, but more on which later — is in a relationship with a guy that respects her and won't take advantage, so it's just too bad that the entire foundation of their love is that they killed someone. Their watch-shopping scene was the sweetest and lightest of the night ("it really doesn't look anything like [the old watch] except that they are both watches and have hands and tell time"). Definitely a welcome respite fro... read more

I lived in Houston for six ...

Question: I lived in Houston for six years, having moved from the Midwest (where I've now returned), and was recently visited by some good friends from Texas. We were talking about TV, and, of course, I mentioned Friday Night Lights and how great it is. They informed me that they have been avoiding it like the plague. I couldn't believe it! Even more incredible was their reasoning: that a TV show would just ridicule native Texans, and that they'd had to survive all the stereotypes of Dallas for all those years. Of course, those who watch know the show does nothing of the kind! (Comparing it to Dallas?! Horror!) But from what I could tell, this appears to be a common misconception amongst many of their friends down there. I still can't believe it. But I'm curious: Do other shows with specific locations that almost act as characters in the drama suffer the same fate from their "hometown" audiences? And what on Earth can we do to combat that? If the whole state of Texas were to embrace ... read more

A Plague of Consequences Strikes Dillon

Matt tries to figure out how to deal with the women in his life. Zach Gilford by Bill Records/NBC

Episode Recap: "Bad Things"Regular readers of this blog know that this show make me cry on a pretty regular basis. Tonight's episode was no exception, though I'm not sure what part was most affecting. You'd think it would be Jason still coming to terms with his paralysis after recovering some muscle function, but that's really just par for the course on this show. As usual, Connie Britton's flawless portrayal of a new mother with a crumbling psyche was wrenching to watch. Was there any scene in which she wasn't desperately trying to swallow her sobs? And the thing is, it all seemed so completely organic — there was no screaming or a melodramatic "Why me?" moment. It's hard not to love a show that allows its characters to fully comprehend the ridiculousness of their choices, and when Glenn (the guidance counselor in need of guidance) asked Tami why exactly she and Eric were living apart, her acknowledgement of, "I don't know, that was just my idea, it was just a stupid idea," wa... read more

Murder Joins a Crowded Friday Club

Angie Harmon in Women's Murder Club by Danny Feld/ABC

My loyalties are so divided on Friday nights. I want ABC’s so-so new crime drama Women’s Murder Club to do well enough to bring some much-needed eyeballs to the charming romantic comedy Men in Trees, which finally returns from a cruel nearly eight-month hiatus. With James Patterson’s name as a selling point for Murder Club (though he’s not writing this series any more than he appears to be penning half of the books that go out with co-writers’ names on his ubiquitous book jackets), the show certainly has a shot at commercial success, even on a night that’s widely considered a graveyard. Remember: This same night, and this same time period (9 pm/ET), is where the original CSI launched to even less fanfare, and the rest is TV history.But I also don’t want anything to take audience away from Murder Club’s competition, most notably NBC’s ever-fragile Friday Night Lights, which offers another superb episode this week. Even if like many observe... read more

I've been a fan of yours for ...

Question: I've been a fan of yours for a long time. Your columns are must-reads for me. I started watching Friday Night Lights over the summer largely based on your praise of the show. I became addicted. So thank you for that. But I have a huge problem with the murder in the season-opener. And not just the murder, but the disposing of the body. It's the first time I can recall this show being over-the-top melodramatic and unrealistic, and it's also the first time I can't see how a problem can get resolved without incredibly dark, depressing results. Please tell me I'm missing some option, that the show can get past this and I can look forward to enjoying future episodes.  Answer: This is pretty much the universal first reaction from everyone I know about the Landry-Tyra storyline in the season-opener. I think most fans can wish this simply hadn't happened, or that at the very least they would have just left the body where it fell after Landry's attack and justifiably claimed ... read more

Cheers: Friday Night Lights' Landry Scores a Touchdown

Jesse Plemons and Adrianne Palicki in Friday Night Lights by Bill Records/NBC

Cheers to Friday Night Lights for putting Jesse Plemons in the spotlight. The native Texan — and Matt Damon doppelgänger — quietly stole scenes last season as Landry Clarke, wisecracking pal to QB Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford). This season Landry’s stepping up, helping Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) fend off her attacker. Lone Star State football legend Tom Landry would be proud of his namesake.More Cheers & Jeers: Read and react to Bruce's opinions on Housewives and The Office, then share your own raves and rants about other shows on the new Reader Cheers & Jeers discussion board. Your comments could wind up in TV Guide magazine! read more

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