'Fairly Legal' 1.03 'Benched' Review

After last week's pretty good episode, I had high hopes for this week's Fairly Legal, which sees Kate trying to settle things between a difficult high school football coach (Dean Norris) and angry parents who dislike his controversial treatment of their children. This plot makes me think of deposed Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach, but we don't have time to completely mirror Leach's complicated story (thankfully). Instead, we're left with a fairly light portrayal of a question that comes up a lot if you follow high school or college football: is the coach too tough, or are the kids too pampered?

Fairly Legal is not Outside The Lines, so unfortunately, this is not the show that will dig into the serious issues that are raised by this plot. It's too light in tone. What the show does do is establish a grey area in the middle of the situation, where everyone bears some amount of guilt. For example, when one of his players collapses, the coach is at the kid's bedside, as opposed to his father, who seems more concerned about finding someone to blame. While this works much better for dramatic purposes, it also means the characters fall into some usual stereotypes - the arrogant, nearly self-absorbed parent, the kid that's hiding a secret. The revelation that the kid is on steroids and getting them from his father feels more like a necessary conclusion than a natural one. The story becomes about another dysfunctional parent rather than exploring that grey are as much as it could. Maybe it's because I've lived and worked in the sports world for years, but the whole episode leaves me wanting something more. Read More...



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