Monday, June 7, 2010

Notes on Pop Culture: FNL's Matt Saracen's Heartbreak, Harry Potter 'Deathly Hallows' Trailer, Summer TV

FNL's Matt Saracen's Heartbreak

How good was the actor, Zach Gilford, who plays Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights in the recent episode, “The Son?” He underplayed his role as the grieving son very nicely and to great effect.

For practically the entire series, Matt has been the character who’s had to act more mature than his age, like the responsible authority figure in his house when he was just an immature high school kid. He took care of his ailing grandmother and, only recently allowed his previously estranged mother to help them out. At the end of last season Matt was planning to go to Chicago to pursue his promising art career. He prepared by getting his grandmother all set up in a home that would keep her safe.

Then he was beset by horrendous guilt. Guilt about leaving his girlfriend Julie behind. Guilt about leaving his grandmother in a group home. He, once again, put himself and his desires on the backburner, took a job delivering Panther pizza and enrolled in community college classes where his art teacher didn't think his work was all that special.

Now, in this recent episode, his largely absent Army father was killed in Iraq. The normally even-keeled Matt felt utterly lost and unhinged, particularly by his mixed feelings about a dad who he believed was so afraid of responsibility and child-rearing that he kept re-enlisting and going to Iraq to avoid being with his son.

That scene with Tami and Matt at a strip mall funeral home, so upsetting. If that scene, where Tami dressed down the funeral director after Matt left -- chastizing the man for how much he was trying to charge Matt for the funeral services -- doesn’t demonstrate that the Taylors are the central, beating hearts of this show, nothing does. (Why, by the way, was Tami there and not Matt’s mom? Is it because he’s closer to Tami? That doesn't say much about Matt's mother.)

Will this event become a major catalyst for the drifting Matt? We'll see.

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Trailer

I live in a house full of Harry Potter fans. My 11-year-old twins have read the Potter series over and over again and have seen all the movies. My husband – who’s not a big reader – was coerced by the twins into reading the entire series last summer.

Currently my husband and I are reading the series aloud to our 8-year-old son – we’re in the middle of the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire. So whenever there’s anything new on the Harry Potter front, there’s tremendous excitement.

While my kids have been asking when we’re going to go down to Florida to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, I think I'm going to try to distract them with this new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Summer TV

Who says there’s nothing decent on TV in the summer? You’ve got FNL still airing new episodes, Mad Men coming up next month, Weeds and couple of new shows including ones starring Betty White and Laura Linney on tap.

My Pop Culture column this week is all about summer TV and I highlighted what’s in store for shows like Mad Men, Rescue Me, Hot in Cleveland, The Big CWeeds and HawthoRNe.

When it comes to Weeds, what’s your take on the teaser Showtime put out? Do you really think that, after Nancy’s son killed Esteban’s evil, criminal political “consultant” with a croquet mallet in the season finale last year, that Nancy’s really going to be able to “bury” her connections to Esteban, especially given that she had his baby, oh, and she married him last season?


Cooley Horner said...

Honestly? Harry Potter can literally bring me to my knees with those few haunting notes of the theme song at the end of the trailer. It's happened with each and every trailer for the previous films, and it just happened now. This movie looks pretty fabulous, though I'm a bit more guarded as I was thoroughly disappointed by the sixth film adaptation. I'm hoping the things they senselessly cut from #6 will be added to #7.

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