Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend in Pop Culture: Super Bowl, 'Revolutionary Road,' 'Big Love' & 'Friday Night Lights'

Yes, like many Americans, I too watched the Super Bowl. Kind of. I was at least in the room when it was on. (I had no rooting interest in either team so I was disinterested.) Thought the ads were horrendous. The Doritos spot really ticked me off, especially when my sons and daughter were watching as a guy crunched on a Dorito chip and a woman's clothes magically came off revealing a black bra and panties. Fabulous. Thank you NBC. Even the 3-D ad -- we were all wearing our special glasses -- didn't wow me. What, did all the Don Drapers take vacations?

Super Bowl aside, I also dabbled in other pop culture offerings . . .

Revolutionary Road
Went to see Revolutionary Road with my husband. It, um, well, it wasn't what I expected it would be, and I'm speaking as a huge fan of Kate Winslet. As I was exiting the theater I heard people laughing at the film, and not in a good way. My husband declared it awful but I wasn't willing to go that far. I didn't buy Leonardo DiCaprio in his role -- too much of a babyface to sell the character -- but I thought Winslet was good. (My husband thought she overacted.) After all the articles I've read comparing Revolutionary Road to Mad Men, I came to the conclusion that they're nothing alike.

Big Love
Finally caught up on the new Big Love episodes and, for the most part, thought they were well done, though the third episode was too jam-packed for my taste. Sometimes I think the Big Love writers occasionally tackle too many subjects and overload an episode.

Likes thus far: Sarah Henrickson -- the bright-eyed teenaged daughter who's appalled and repulsed by her parents' polygamy -- wants to flee Utah and attend college in Arizona but now finds herself pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's baby. Margene Henrickson, the naive third wife, is taking a shining to her family's gaming business but may have been thrown off-kilter by the death of her alcoholic mother. The intertwining of the stories of the underaged girls from the Juniper Creek compound who were forced to marry creepy, gross old men, and the Henricksons.
Dislikes: Wanda, Bill Henrickson's psychotic sister-in-law. Lois and Frank Henrickson's twisted, violent relationship. Rhonda Volmer, the schemer. Whenever these characters come on screen, I start getting antsy for the focus to go back to the Henricksons.

I'm on the fence about the whole adding-a-fourth-wife story. In season two, I admired how Barb Henrickson stood up to Bill and told him he manipulated her when she was life-threateningly ill with cancer into becoming a polygamist. Her recent health scare aside, I don't see how or why she's suddenly on board with adding another wife.

Friday Night Lights
The new season of Friday Night Lights is just getting going and I'm riveted by the dramatically altered power dynamic between the two central characters, Tami and Eric Taylor. Now that Tami Taylor's the high school principal and wields a great deal of clout -- which included her bid to reallocate funds intended for a jumbotron screen for the football stadium and instead give the money to academics -- her husband Eric's power status as the high school football coach is diminished, at least in the Taylor household.

Image credit: HBO.

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