Wade on Birmingham

Wednesday Night Lights: Kickoff


The hourlong premiere of “Two-a-Days” introduced a ragtag squad playing its heart out to prove itself on the field and off in a game that makes boys into men.

Unfortunately, that ragtag squad was crushed 50-29 by the show’s stars, the Hoover Bucs. The new teen reality series followed several players as they prepared for their biggest game ever, a season opener on ESPN, the first high school game televised by the cable channel.

But on MTV, endless drills and cussing coaches aren’t enough. You need pizzazz, you need oomph. You need … pimply melodrama.


People not familiar with the culture of Southern football might not recognize the godlike power of coaches. But I recognize it all too well, from the playing field to the driver’s ed sessions. Anyone within a country mile of an Alabama high school (minus home schoolers) will see a familiar presence.

Hoover coach Rush Propst lives up to his reputation, hurling abuse in a Boomhaueresque twang in the steamy days leading up to the season. He’s tough, he’s brusque, and he’s fat — and he wins ballgames. That’s what counts, right?

Filmed in 2005, the school is riding a 23-game winning streak and gunning for a national championship to go with its four state titles. The preparation is methodical, brutal, efficient. Players vomit from the heat, wobble from tired legs and sleepwalk through drills.

Twice a day. Hence the name.

The first half gives slight glimpses into the storybook setup: teens in love, parents fired up, and a town that loves its team a little too much. The producers make sure all buttons are pushed, even if the Birmingham suburb doesn’t quite orbit football as it’s portrayed.

No matter. The slow beginning isn’t helped by meeting the requisite storybook couple, Alex the safety and Kristin the cheerleader. But I’m not the target audience; gawky teens are.

The second half builds some artificial drama, as the team is sequestered at a nearby hotel. I found the game to be surprisingly suspenseful, aided by the tight editing to downplay the closing blowout.

But it isn’t Max, the safety recovering from shoulder surgery, who we worry about. It’s Alex and Kristin, on the verge of a breakup over his supposed flirtations with, yes, another cheerleader.

To borrow from F. Scott Fitzgerald: Let me tell you about the jocks. They are very different from you and me.

The game ends as it should, with the Bucs triumphant at home. But in the microcosm of senior love, Alex’s triumph has turned to tragedy: Kristin has given him an F and a U.

While “Two-a-Days” is above average for MTV’s look-at-me fare, it’s still the same old playbook of comfortable suburbanites dressed in Hoover orange and black. I’m still OK with being from this over-the-mountain suburb, even if it’s not the one I’ve seen on the teevee.

Like high school, it’s never quite as how you remember it.

“Two-a-Days” airs at 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays on MTV, repeating throughout the week.

Next episode: The aftermath of Kristin and Alex. Maybe football, time permitting.


• • •

Dude, more “Two-a-Days.”

5 Yips for “Wednesday Night Lights: Kickoff”

  1. Ginny
    Sunday, August 27, 2006, 7:54 pm

    Kristen and Keagan better keep their hands off my man.

  2. Christina
    Monday, August 28, 2006, 5:32 pm

    Oh no you didn’t. I’m going to have to get smack on you.

  3. Wade
    Monday, August 28, 2006, 6:16 pm


  4. sarinha
    Friday, September 15, 2006, 12:44 pm

    omg, Alex has to be one of the sexiest football players ive ever seen, Kristen is a moron and just lost her 15 minutes =)ha.

  5. mary
    Friday, March 16, 2007, 11:48 am

    You people are so stupid; get a life!!!!!

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