Sunday, August 27, 2006

So Much Better Than Laguna Beach! (Two-A-Days)

Click here for more recent recaps and archives!

Ah yes, I have found a suitable replacement for the disappointment that has become Laguna Beach. In fact, this is much better than just suitable. This is excellent. We have familiar names: Alex, Kristin, Jessica, Taylor. We have high school students with no notion that there is any world beyond their campus. We have relationship drama. And above all else, we have football. I am not a huge football fan, but I do remember that football games played a large role in high school social scenes. Most fall Friday nights began with a rousing live football game where anything could happen. Oh, I can feel the anticipation tingling in the air!

We “kick-off” (ha ha ha) Two-A-Days by meeting our narrator, Alex (see above picture). Alex happens to be a boy name in Alabama, unlike in Laguna Beach, where boys are named Talan, Kelan, Cedric, and Dieter, and girls are named either Alex or Lauren (or both in the case of Alex H.)

Boy Alex takes us on a brief tour of Hoover, Alabama, where Hoover High School football is the only thing that matters. Football players are like celebrities and the entire town is in on the excitement. It seems that this glorious high school football team has established a winning legacy and they are such a good team now that they have to have two-a-day practices – one before school and one after school. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I’m no football expert, but I am aware that most high school football teams have two-a-day practices. That is just how it works when the fall football season is on its way. So yes, I understand that Hoover High football is the only important thing in Hoover, Alabama, but I have to say that the two-a-day practices are not what makes them special. It is, however, how this show got its name. Alex wraps up his intro by informing us that, “This year at Hoover, losing is not an option.” I’m already squirming with excitement – but I’ll be honest, it’s not because of the football.

We now move to – what else? – football practice, where someone called the defensive coordinator is screaming at the players. We learn that the Hoover Buccaneers won the last four state championships, and this year they want to be #1 in the nation. Several players do confessionals to the camera saying how much they want to win this year and how hard they work. Next we are fortunate to meet Rush Propst, the Hoover High School football head coach. He confessionals that four years ago the Hoover team totally sucked and they couldn’t win a game for love or money, but then guess what happened. That’s right – Rush Propst came on board. Now Hoover football does nothing but win and winning has come to be so expected that Coach Propst feels like he’s created a monster. This man suffers from a condition that I’ll call “inflated self-importance.” It’s quite clear that coaching a winning high school football team is the biggest thing that has happened to him in his entire life. Hmm – could he be recapturing his long lost childhood perhaps? We see Coach Propst talking to the mother of a player and he is explaining to her that he doesn’t care about doctors’ notes – no one can miss practice – ever. The mother is understandably slightly miffed, but Coach Propst goes on to say that people move to Hoover specifically to play Hoover football, and he will not abide anyone missing practice for any reason. Just now a player confessionals that he did, in fact, move to Hoover just to play football at Hoover High School. He goes on to say that he wants to be the first in his family to go to college and I feel like I’m watching the football version of Hoop Dreams.

After Alex finishes football practice and his dip in a plastic garbage can full of ice, he heads over to his girlfriend, Kristin’s house to go in the pool. We meet a refreshingly brunette Kristin, clad appropriately, of course, for her introduction in a bikini. Very Laguna Beach. Alex tells us that he and Kristin have been on and off for years and they are pretty happy with each other now. Kristin tells us that they are the perfect example of opposites attracting because she is level-headed and Alex is more the outgoing party type. Ah, the priorities of the high school romance.

As Alex and Kristin relax in the hot tub, I have to take a moment and comment on the male hairstyle of the moment. The reason I choose now to comment is because I notice that Alex has this important hairdo intact, even in the hot tub. It appears that boy-bangs are back, at least in Hoover. I keep picturing Johnny, from The Karate Kid and his boy-bangs that lasted through martial arts tournaments. Is this really attractive? I am not a fan.

Cut to Max, another football player, who is lounging around with another brunette, his girlfriend Anna. Anna is a freshman in college (oohh, an older woman – who is not around. I smell upcoming drama). Max also has “the hairdo.” He and Anna are goofing around filming themselves, so Max is sure to take special care making certain his bangs are in place.

Ah hem. I need to now point out that more has already happened on “Two-A-Days” before the first commercial break than has happened in the entire two first episodes of “Laguna Beach.” I think I’ve made the right choice in the blogosphere of recaps.

Back from commercial to another football practice, where we meet Ross, the quarterback. According to Coach Propst, Ross comes from a great football family, as if anything else matters. His brother was a quarterback at Hoover and is now the quarterback for the University of Alabama. Coach Propst says this like we should all already be aware of Ross’ brother and in awe. Sorry to disappoint, but I had no idea and I still really don’t care. I just want to see how Ross’ boy-bangs will hold up through the games. Ross lets us know that he has big shoes to fill, but he plays for himself and not for his big brother. Good for you, Ross! That kind of attitude will help you avoid becoming Coach Propst later in life.

We now turn our attention to pottery class, where a girl named Jamie has apparently played a joke on Alex and his football buddy, Taylor (it looks like Taylor is also a boy name in Alabama), by switching the books in their backpacks. While Jamie busies herself making a pot on her pottery wheel, Alex and Taylor launch their revenge plot, attaching Jamie’s backpack to a stool with a combination lock. Those silly boys! Jamie comes out of class and discovers her backpack. She proceeds to carry the stool around with her all day, as we are shown shots of Jamie walking down the hall or sitting in class with the stool. All the teachers and administration have a good laugh because this is the work of those witty, crafty football heroes Alex and Taylor. Oh, could anyone be more funny? Now come on, Alex, and take off the lock. You are so clever! Off to practice, your majesty!

As if there was ever any doubt, Alex’s girlfriend, Kristin, is a varsity cheerleader. While she is at practice with the other cheerleaders, Alex comes by to say hello and that he will come over to her house later. After he leaves for his own practice, the cheerleading coach begins her pep talk about why it is so important for the cheerleaders to do a good job. Can you guess? Yes – it is because the football team is working hard. Okay, is there any point in anyone in this town doing ANYTHING other than it has something to do with high school football? No. Right about now, I’m starting to miss stories like Bring It On or “Cheerleader Nation,” where cheerleading has its own national competition and football games are just extra practice, instead of the end-all, be-all of existing.

Back to football practice, where the coach is still screaming. He tells the boys they are babies and embarrassing. We switch over to three boys who have quit the football team (how shameful!), who are eating at Johnny Rockets and talking about how they miss football. Two of the three have “the hairdo.” One of the boys reminisces about Coach Propst telling him that quitting the football team is like being the guy in Saving Private Ryan who sits at the bottom of the stairs and lets his friend die while he does nothing. Great, healthy comparison. Realistic, too – no hyperbole at all. This boy correctly points out that this is football, not war. Thank goodness, another teenager safe from the fate of becoming Coach Propst someday.

At practice, Max confessionals that he hurt his shoulder last season and had surgery a few months ago. This doesn’t stop him from playing football, nor does it stop the coaches from degrading him. Max’s stepdad shows up to watch practice and admits to us that Max is “afraid” because of his shoulder. Oh, the one he tore up playing football and needed surgery on? That sissy.

Coach Propst dismisses practice and sends the players home to be babied by their parents with these loving words of encouragement: “I ain’t gonna baby you. I can tell you that now. I ain’t gonna baby my own kids, I ain’t gonna baby you! I didn’t baby them other five teams, either!” Clearly he is a paragon of proper English, but what can you expect from the home state of Forrest Gump?

And it’s over to dinner at Max’s house, where his stepdad is outside on the phone with the coach (oh, great). Now Max’s mom and stepdad confront Max for not doing better in practice. The stepdad very ironically notes that Max should have more fun playing football. I just can’t imagine why he doesn’t. Max’s mom reasonably asks how he can have fun under so much pressure. The stepdad says Max is 18, what pressure should he have? That is a good question. A very good question indeed. Now quit calling the coach!

Back from another commercial, we visit the cafeteria, where a girl is chattering at a couple of football players (Alex is one of them), hounding them as to whether they are excited and scared of the Nease quarterback. “Are y’all excited???” Nease is the school they will be playing against on their first game. It turns out that this chatterbox is Jessica, another varsity cheerleader. Alex wonders aloud how Jessica knows so much about football. See, that’s the funny thing about cheerleaders. It turns out that they are at every football game watching! Isn’t your girlfriend a cheerleader, Alex? Didn’t you notice her over there on the sidelines? Hmm – Alex! Jessica continues, “Do y’all know the immensity of this game? I mean, think about it. Everybody’s gonna be there!” We learn that this is to be the biggest game in Alabama high school football history. (And silly Max dares to think he’s under pressure? Wimp.)

And it’s another practice. Coach Propst informs the team that they are not as good a team as Nease right now and if anyone believes any different, then “You’re the dumbest dumbass I’ve ever known!” Ah, the god-fearing, soft-spoken gentlemen of the South. Max gets his butt chewed – again. According to Defensive Coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, Max is just full of excuses. Yeah, like that fakey ripped-up shoulder. Wuss.

Now the varsity cheerleaders participate in an important task, which is decorating the front doors of the football team with signs, to “show the community who the football players are.” You mean there is someone who doesn’t know? Kristin, of course, decorates Alex’s door.

Practice is still going, and Coach Propst tells the team that this is the one chance of his life to be on ESPN – the live station, not 2 or U (apparently alternatives to the real ESPN). Ah ha! We’re getting down to some of the coach’s actual motivation. He dreams of being a star on television! These boys are going to be in some major trouble if they embarrass the coach on his big TV debut.

Next we join the Hoover student body in a pep rally, because there may still be a couple of students unaware of the upcoming game-of-a-lifetime. Pirate hats with skulls abound. (Don’t forget – they’re the Buccaneers.) The school colors seem to be orange and black. Thank goodness I am noticing the important things here.

Coach Propst explains to us that he has chosen to isolate his team and staff in a hotel the night before the big game for the purpose of focus and concentration. He tells the boys that they will be in bed at eight o’clock. Then he delivers another unforgettably charming quote: “Don’t act like a damn 12-year-old or 11-year-old, like you’re damn excited about staying in a damn hotel (pronounced ho-tay-el). Get your ass into bed, go to sleep, get up in the morning, let’s go play football.” I, for one, am extremely motivated. And impressed.

The cheerleaders, meanwhile, are making an appearance (well, a voiceover) on a local radio show. Alex gets a shout-out from the DJ, who then asks Kristin if she worries Alex will get hurt. Kristin doesn’t have much to say, which is unfortunate for a radio program. Then the DJ asks the girls who they think is the hottest football player. A cheerleader named Blair explains that they all think Max the Chicken is pretty cute. Ha ha, she didn’t really say “the Chicken,” but he clearly is one, what with his injury and all. We keep cutting to the football players in the damn hotel during all of this, who are very careful not to mess up their hairdos as they get their asses into bed.

We now revisit Taylor (remember him from pottery class and the brilliant prank of the backpack stuck to the stool?) and we discover that he is actually not a football player because he is throwing a raging pre-game party instead of being isolated in the damn hotel. Ohh, this is getting good because rumors are spreading everywhere that Alex has hooked up with a girl named Keagan (pronounced as though it rhymes with Meagan or Reagan). Keagan is not as cute as Kristin, and she is also not a cheerleader, so this would have been a very silly move, obviously, on Alex’s part, if it turns out to be true.

Many boys at the party have “the hairdo.”

Kristin’s friends sit with Kristin in her car and try to figure out what happened. Kristin has no idea, but she’s pretty upset. Whatever she does, she can NOT call Alex and bother him before tomorrow’s big game. I have to pause and admit that I admire Kristin for showing this restraint. Not that the football game is more important than her well-being, and I must say that I would have been calling Alex in a heartbeat, but she shows great strength and maturity – and consideration for Coach Propst and the whole town – for allowing things to wait until after the game. Alex (not to mention the entire town of Hoover) is lucky he wasn’t dating me.

Back from commercial. Do you want to hear something kind of funny? The team has a religious chaplain named Terry Slay. He is up bright and early with the football team in the damn hotel giving a sermon. Apparently separation of church and state is not a large concern in Hoover, Alabama. The boys, hairdos intact, listen to how God wants them to play good football and not embarrass their program and the community. World suffering? Nonsense! Today God is attending the Hoover/Nease game!

Now we see the town participating in last-minute game-day gear-ups. We are reminded (again) that the game is on national television. Cars are painted with slogans like, “Buc You!” Ha ha ha. Many businesses are closed with signs in the windows that say, “Gone to the Game.” So funny! How would that be? Imagine you are making dinner or something and you need an onion, so you pop over to the market to grab one, but no! You are denied because everyone is at the game. I guess it’s silly to think you would be making dinner instead of at the game yourself, right? But what if you have a sick child and need medicine? Oh well. I guess if God Himself is at the game, then everything else can wait!

Next we visit Keagan, who explains to us that it is traditional for girls to paint the number of their favorite senior players on their stomach and back. As such, she is busy having Alex’s “34” stenciled to her midsection. Her friends wonder if Kristin will be mad. Hmm, I have no idea… Taylor (remember the party guy?) randomly pops up in a confessional to predict that Keagan’s body paint will cause big trouble. Ooohhh, can’t wait! This is what I’m talking about! Nuts to football, and NUTS TO LAGUNA BEACH!

Now the team has a prayer. Well, they hold hands and recite the Lord’s Prayer. Again, the church and state thing doesn’t seem to be an issue. I’m rooting for an atheist to pipe up in a future episode and bring on a fat lawsuit. That would be some good television.

And now for the focal point of the entire show (and the part I’m least interested in): the Big Game. The next few minutes feel like I’m actually watching ESPN, and I keep forgetting and almost change the channel.

Highlights: Alex gets leg cramps. The temperature is over 120. Max gets leg cramps. The coach blasphemes several times (where is the chaplain?). At halftime the game is tied. Rumors have gone through the stands about Alex and Keagan. Kristin is NOT happy. Keagan tells us that Alex’s mom asked her what is going on. (But she doesn’t tell us her answer.) Kristin tells us it “wrecked” her to think Alex could hurt her in any way. The Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane” kicks in and I know everything will be okay on the football front. Yes, I was right. Even though it’s an extremely close game all the way through, the Hoover Buccaneers pull it out and win the biggest game of their lives on national television. Coach Propst has several aneurisms.

During the immediate post-game celebrations, Alex runs up to Kristin to give her a big, sweaty hug, but she pulls away, saying, “Don’t touch me. Get off me.” You go, girl! (Not only do we have reason to believe that Alex has been a scumbag, but have you ever been on a football field directly after a game? The stench is overwhelming. Who wants to hug the cause of the stench?)

Alex laments that at the end of the game, instead of congratulations, he had the whole world pissed off at him, so that sucked. That’s really sad. Yeah, do you know what else sucks? Getting cheated on! I can’t wait for next week!

So tell us what you think! Does "Two-A-Days" rule over "Laguna Beach" or what?

Be sure to click here to vote for the show you'd like us to write about!


For the Love said...

Love Two-A-Days, but I'm a little biased since I graduated from Hoover. Loved your recap, glad to know that the "hairdo" is only popular in Alabama. Almost everyone has it and it looks worse in person!

NoiXdeCoco said...

Great recap! This show was on while I was packing/cleaning, and I can definitely see myself falling for...oops, that's the Bachelor. I can see why this is appealing if you like football, or are in High School. I didn't really get into it. It seemed kinda like the same old, same old. I don't know, maybe I'm back in the cycle of not believing again.

That's so funny that Alex H.'s name is Alex AND Lauren! You must have had to do some investigation to find that out! That's brilliant. And if you change just the "s" to a "t" in her last name, we have our next Audrina!

Ah, so that's where the show got it's name - I didn't realize. I thought it was that they got to have two girlfriends a day (they ARE boys, right?) OR that someone would get injured and the doctor would say - "take two of these a day" OR the coach would dehuminize two football players a day. But that makes sense, although, I'm with you in seeing that two practices a day is nothing special. I had two practices a day on the swim team and I wasn't on MTV. So big deal.

Rush Propst - is he Jeff Probst second cousin?? Too many consanents.

Ok, I saw that kid who's family moved so that he could go to Hoover High School. There is SO MUCH wrong with this, I don't even know where to begin, except to ask - why don't you just study? That usually gets people into college!!!!!!!!!! Especially if you are a minority, they will give you money! Just read and learn, that's all. You don't have to uproot your entire family and have them MOVE so that you can play football so that you may go to college. Obviously his motivation for going to college is not to get an education but "to go to college." Exasperating. Soon our college system will go where our public school system is - down the toilet.

Ha ha ha - the man-bangs that lasted through the martial arts tournaments - ha ha ha ha. I guess they were real and not at all made up if it's still happening. I noticed also the older woman!! That is strange in high school, cause every week seems to make a difference at that age. Go Hoovers for looking past age and development.

I forgot about Cheerleader Nation and how football games were mearly extra practice, that's so funny. I guess they had a shit football team that wasn't worthy of Coach Propst, et al. This is my favorite quote of all: Clearly he is a paragon of proper English, but what can you expect from the home state of Forrest Gump?

Second best quote: Kristin doesn’t have much to say, which is unfortunate for a radio program.

Ok, I mis-spoke - THIS is the best quote of this post:
Alex laments that at the end of the game, instead of congratulations, he had the whole world pissed off at him, so that sucked. That’s really sad. Yeah, do you know what else sucks? Getting cheated on!
YEAH! You tell him, HG! As typical as typical gets, the boy with the awesome girlfriend cheats on her with a lame girl and then he is so confused about why things aren't super duper. This is in the man guide manual - "Act stupid, don't let on that you actually know it was you who screwed everything up. The more you act stupid, the more you'll believe it too. This may or may not garner sympathy from females, but it's a lot better chance than taking responsibility for your actions." (Or so you think!)

I agree, that even just in recap, this sounds WAY better than LAMEguna Beach!!

NoiXdeCoco said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the visual aids.

Anonymous said...

I laughed for ten minutes at that Hoover yearbook sample.

Anonymous said...

The "older woman" (Anna, Max's girlfriend) is actually Max's age. She skipped a grade in elementary school, so she is a very young freshman in college.

Anonymous said...

Love your recap!! I have sent it to everyone I know, and everyone has laughed so hard about "the hairdo" because being from a neighboring city of Hoover's, we see it constantly. Hurry up and recap last night's episode...can't wait to hear what you have to say about "Coach"

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this show too! I'm older than those kids but young enough to say this - Alex wears that football gear like it is his JOB! Can he just like..walk around shirtless and not speak?

Anonymous said...

Love the recap, love the hair comments.

Also find it tremendously amusing that the person from AL claims that if you are a minority, they will almost automatically give you money.

Anonymous said...

is max and alex seniors in 2006 or are they gonna this year

Anonymous said...

i love two a days i really love alex