When life hands you lemons, you make proverbial lemonade. So what do you make when life hands you oranges? Pop a bottle of champagne, mix a few mimosas and get trashed over a plate of eggs benedict and/or French toast. This week, a crate of oranges (and some potent rumors) ignite a firestorm surrounding Coach Father Figure’s future in Dillon, and what it might mean for everyone else. I’ll give you a warning, though. I’m having a very difficult time finding the funny in this episode, maybe because Princess Angst is gloriously absent this episode. So much of the storylines are coming together as we inch closer to the end. Please bear with me.
Intimate dinner for two? How romantic!
Fresh off their playoffs clinching win, Coach Father Figure finds himself out to dinner with Shane State Dude. What started as a favor to Original QB1 has quickly become an opportunity too good to ignore. They’re ready to give the new coach the keys to the kingdom—complete control over the program. Coach Father Figure has been impressive with what he’s done with the Red Storm, and he’s exactly what they’re looking for. Then he hands a folder across the table containing the official offer. By his stone-faced reaction, there’s no way to tell whether the offer is good or bad.
Meanwhile, Booster Dick frets over a crate of Florida oranges delivered to East Dillon for Coach Father Figure, while Principal Downtrodden scratches his head, not comprehending what it all means.
I wonder if a case of Ben-Gay would have achieved the same result
Odd that Shane State would send such a gift to his current place of employment, so my cynical nature suspects more nefarious intentions, such as a certain pissed off father trying to intimidate coach into un-benching his meal ticket. Booster Dick clues him in that this particular crate of oranges can only mean one thing—year-round sunshine and college funding. First of all, that’s two things. 2nd of all, I fail to see how a crate of oranges implies college funding. I can see it meaning, “Welcome to Florida, home of the Orange Bowl and a bastion of college football.” But “Welcome to Florida, where we have the money to run a competitive football program and pay you a very generous salary?” Not buying it, but the point is still the same—they’re gonna have to fight to keep Coach Father Figure in town.
We check in with Small Town Loser, looking uncomfortable in a shirt and tie, checking in with his legal counsel, discussing the possibility of a parole hearing for Texas Forever.
Don’t worry, I win parole for all the strippers’ criminal boyfriends. Piece of cake!
He suggests that Small Town Loser line up character witnesses to go before the parole board. Still, being granted parole is gonna be tough. Small Town Loser argues that Texas Forever has had good behavior the entire time he’s been in prison. It’ll help for sure, but the lawyer is particularly cautious. He hands Small Town Loser a parole packet to study up on the process. They go back to talking about the character witnesses, and the lawyer can’t stress enough how important it is that people, OTHER THAN HIM, get up and speak on Texas Forever’s behalf. Now that I think about it, it might be a good move to have someone other than the actual criminal get up there and argue for Texas Forever’s release. Knowing Small Town Loser, he might fuck up and confess.
Over on the basketball courts, Blind Side Lite and Deadbeat Dad are having a friendly game of one-on-one. The bonding and good natured ribbing is cut short when Deadbeat Dad’s cell phone rings. The call is from Okla. Tech, and he gets excited to finally get the offer.
I’m guessing it’s Unofficial Visit Dude from the other episode, and Deadbeat Dad asks if he’s got good news for him. Two beats later, the smile disappears, his demeanor changes, and his volume escalates. Okla. Tech isn’t joking, and Deadbeat Dad yells back what the hell the visit was for, then? I’ll tell you what it was for, dumbass. It was to get your kid to campus so that they could leak the story and intimidate their real prospect into giving a verbal commitment. Exactly how TMU used Hayseed Hottie to get to Blind Side Lite. How does it feel to get played, asshat!
Deadbeat Dad screams at Okla Tech that they’re making a huge mistake, then hangs up. Blind Side Lite wants to know what happened, and Deadbeat tells him they offered it the spot to the other kid. Blind Side Lite twists the knife, pointing out that Dad said they had it in the bag. Deadbeat Dad’s rage explodes as he hurls his prepaid phone against the wall, shattering it into a dozen pieces. That was stupid, unless you were out of minutes anyway. Better hurry over to Walmart to get a replacement.
Radio announcer/narrator lets us know that rumors of Coach Father Figure leaving have been circulating and getting more and more credible. His narration is intercut with scenes of various businesses in Dillon taking to window decoration and signage to show their support of Coach.
Perhaps a more effective message would have been: Beware the temptations of Satan! Jesus was poor, too.
And just then, Coach grabs his bag at the airport, and Tami-Joe Clark picks him up. He kisses Gracie Bell in the back seat as Tami welcomes him back. On the drive back home, Tami asks if they’re moving to Florida. His response was that it was interesting. He talked to everyone he needed to, and the program looks promising. It looks like a very solid opportunity. Translation: The offer must have been BANGIN’, because Coach is interested. Very, very interested.
Over in the ghetto, Not Sandra Bullock is marveling to Blind Side Lite about the popularity of tulip bulbs when Deadbeat Dad comes out of the back bedroom with a new plan. He wants to contact TMU, generate a little heat, and then use that as leverage with another school. Both Blind Side Lite and Not Sandra Bullock look worried, and Blind Side Lite tactfully downplays it, suggesting they talk to Coach.
Don’t get him angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.
He needs to be focused on the playoffs and getting his starting job back. Deadbeat Dad brushes that off, saying for the umpteenth time that he’s a star. Blind Side Lite thanks him, but says they need to take a step back with all the meetings. Deadbeat Dad doesn’t look pleased, but he gives in, saying that his son’s the boss. The last time he said that, he completely disregarded his son’s wishes and Coach’s authority, taking over the recruiting process and failing miserably. What do they say about people who can’t learn from their mistakes?
We check in at another East Dillon faculty meeting, and Principal Downtrodden asks for an update on Homework Club. Tami-Joe Clark cheerfully reports that it’s starting to work. A different teacher speaks up this time, saying that expelling Chica Precious was a good start. Tami ignores it, making another plea for volunteers. Smart-ass Teacher makes another snide comment, asking if she’ll get a flak jacket in exchange for volunteering, because she doesn’t wanna end up with a concussion. Um… really? The fight didn’t even happen in Homework Club. Get your facts straight before you mouth off in a staff meeting.
I didn’t like Chica Precious either, but don’t kick a girl when she’s down!
Tami-Joe Clark uncomfortably asks Principal Downtrodden to move on with the agenda to which is brings up the fall sports banquet, asking the teachers to come to show support and get their free dinner. Lazy Bitch Teacher gets really excited about that, banging on the table. Can I ask how tight the budget really is here, because if teachers are getting laid off, how do they have the money for frivolous events like this? Granted, a sports banquet doesn’t cost $50K plus benefits.
Suddenly, Principal Downtrodden is out on the field with Booster Dick brainstorming ways to keep Coach in Dillon. Booster Dick suggests turning the banquet into a tribute to Coach. Principal Downtrodden points out that there are other sports besides football. Does someone need to remind him that this is Texas? Booster Dick points out that each player can get up and make an “impromptu” speech about Coach, thereby stroking his ego and playing on his emotions to make him want to stay. Meanwhile, Tinker asks what Hayseed Hottie and Sunshine 2.0 think of Coach leaving. Hayseed Hottie blows it off as a rumor.
Boys gossip too. They just look masculine while they do it.
Blind Side Lite comes out on the field, and Sunshine 2.0 gossips about him not getting the offer from Okla. Tech. Hayseed Hottie lets the bitterness show, saying at least he had an offer, to which Tinker responds, not anymore. Coach calls order and starts practice while Booster Dick reasons that a man can’t leave a place that erects a statue in their honor. The people of Jaynestown might disagree (fans of the Whedonverse will get that reference). Principal Downtrodden laughs at the thought, and Booster Dick suggests a plaque, promising to work on scraping the funds together for that.
And magically, Principal Downtrodden is back in his office, handing Tami-Joe Clark the agenda for a conference that he’s registered her for, scheduled for the day after tomorrow, without her knowing. And to top it off, he submitted her to sit on a panel about college admissions without her knowing.
Admission Directors Conferenzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I’m calling bullshit here. Having organized shit like this in the past, it requires weeks, if not months of planning, if for no other reason than to publish names of panelists in the promotional materials. Points off to the FNL writing staff on this one. Tami-Joe Clark asks for an update on Chica Precious. Principal Downtrodden doesn’t much care about the one bad apple they’ve removed from the bunch, directing her attention to the 500 other At-Risk Youth that still need her saving. And then he plays the part of asshole boss, telling her to use a personal day to attend the conference. Ever the eager beaver, Tami-Joe Clark rolls with the punches. FUCK THAT! In what world does attending a professional conference AND sitting on a panel equate to personal time? Then again, maybe it’s because she knows they’ll soon be moving to Florida, and she won’t need her personal days anymore.
Over in Coach’s office, Booster Dick is hounding Coach about the crate of oranges, asking outright if he’s gotten a job offer. Coach shuts him down, changing the subject Lil Dick. Booster Dick reports that the surgery on his ankle went fine, and he’ll be in the cast for 6-8 weeks. The real shame is that Lil Dick may never have the opportunity to play for Coach ever again. Before Coach can respond, Small Town Loser knocks on the door asking for a few minutes with Coach.
I know you’re busy preparing for the playoffs and considering an incredible job offer, but can you help me get my brother out of jail? Pretty please…
Booster Dick just sits there intruding while Small Town Loser informs Coach of the upcoming parole hearing and asks Coach to be a character witness. Booster Dick offers to be a character witness, pointing out Texas Forever’s contribution to football in Dillon and using that as an opportunity to needle Coach about loyalty. Give it a rest, Booster Dick. A 6 figure salary clearly trumps you’re generic brand of “loyalty” any day.
Outside the playhouse, the players are peppering QB Princess for information when Coach heads out to his truck. Tinker shows off his shiny pair of steel balls, asking Coach straight out if he’s going to Florida.
Ok, maybe boy gossip isn’t always masculine!
Coach plays it off, saying he’s going home. Luke follows Tinker’s lead, pressing for a serious answer. The rest of the players chime in, talking all over each other. Coach looks at the crate of oranges in his car, then responds that the only place he’s going is to their first playoff game on the team bus this Friday.
Damn those oranges!
Tinker asks where he’s going after the playoffs, and Coach hilariously responds, “Disneyland?” HAHAHA!!! Classic joke, with maybe a tiny bit of foreshadowing that they’re gonna win STATE? It would hold even more meaning if he had said Disney World, since that’s the theme park located in Florida. Coach doesn’t know what he’s doing after Friday, but he states firmly that he doesn’t have any other plans. Random Player takes that as a denial, cheering Coach’s seeming intent to stay. Hope he’s not too disappointed when the Taylors pack up the truck and move east.
I say that because next, we see Tami-Joe Clark perusing the offer, marveling over the gorgeous house with a great big pool that’s included. The contract is three years with an option for an additional two years. Tami-Joe Clark is clearly excited, using an oblivious Gracie Bell to help show Coach that they wouldn’t mind leaving Texas.
Any chance we can move and NOT tell Princess Angst?
And Coach just looks on, registering his wife’s input. You know what they say about offers that look too good to be true. With three episodes left, I just feel like another shoe is gonna drop.
Booster Dick continues his machinations to keep Coach in Texas, approaching Blind Side Lite about making a little speech at the banquet, along with the rest of the team. Given the current state of his relationship with Coach, Blind Side Lite doesn’t think that Coach wants to hear anything that he has to say. Booster Dick disagrees despite his getting benched last week. He helps repair Blind Side Lite’s confidence, saying that he’s a leader, captain, and the heart of the Red Storm, and it’ll mean a lot to Coach. After a moment’s consideration, he agrees.
Out on the field, Hayseed Hottie and T&T Girl are tossing the pigskin (and no, that’s not a euphemism for anything sexual). Their playful banter is adorable, and I can’t help being happy that they’ve finally gotten together. Hayseed is so emotionally vulnerable, and yet, he’s got so much quiet strength. If he would only let go of the bitterness… T&T Girl asks if he’s gonna be doing the college football thing, and Hayseed’s realism/defeatism shines though. He responds in the negative, saying that others are better than him, and no one wants him. T&T Girls says that she wants him, and I’m left to assume that she means in the grander scheme of things. I want him too, but that statement is spoken from the gutter. Hayseed Hottie smiles broadly, and proceeds to throw her over his shoulder and carry her around while she giggles.
Why can’t someone sweep me off my feet like that…
At the Riggins abode, Stripper Wife is fussing over the baby, eavesdropping on Small Town Loser practicing his speech for the parole hearing. He’s having a very difficult time with it, getting more and more frustrated, especially when he catches Stripper Wife standing in the doorway. He yells at her not to sneak up on him like that, and she shows once again what a great character she’s becoming, telling him that it sounds real good. Small Town Loser thinks it sounds ridiculous, berating himself for being unable to memorize it in time for the hearing.
If you’re gonna beat yourself up, I’ll bring home some whips from the club. That way, I can at least get some pleasure out of it.
She sits down next to him on the coffee table and shows him unconditional support, telling him he’s a good brother. And by that, she means he’s trying his damnedest to do right by Texas Forever for going to jail for him. She touches his arm sweetly, but Small Town Loser brushes it away and walks off, clearly in turmoil.
Back at school, Blind Side Lite goes to speak to Coach in his office. He tells Coach that he knows why he was benched, but he wants his spot back. He wants to lead them to STATE. Coach says that he knows about what happened with Okla. Tech, and Blind Side Lite is gonna have to work his way back. The team comes first, and they don’t play to get him offers. No, but they play so that Coach can get offers? If this were any other show, the writers would go there, tapping into Blind Side Lite’s disappointment and humiliation. But this is FNL, and Blind Side Lite takes Coach’s reprimand like a man.
This one’s for Rudy, Coach.
He puts the QB’s red practice jersey on Coach’s desk and slams his finger down on it, stating firmly that he’ll earn it back. The challenge has been presented, and Blind Side Lite looks poised to rise up to meet it. God, I love this show!
Speaking of rising up, Hayseed Hottie pays a visit to Tami-Joe Clark. He’s accepting the reality of his own situation, asking for help to figure out how he can redefine his future now that football no longer appears to be an option. Tami reassures him that it’s not too late to shift gears. Hayseed hasn’t even started his applications, mainly because he thought football would take care of that. And with everything being equal, it would have, because he’d be committed to a football program by now. Tami asks what else he’s interested in, besides football.
Um…. I’m really good at masturbation. Does that count?
Hayseed stammers, admitting that he hasn’t really thought about it. Tami shows compassion, suggesting he think about it. My heart really breaks for him. His dream hasn’t come to fruition, and he’s left scrambling for a plan B.
That night, Tami-Joe Clark brings Coach a glass of water, worrying about what she’s gonna say on the panel tomorrow, but Coach doesn’t respond. Tami asks if he’s thinking about Shane State, but Coach has other things on his mind than the job offer. He tells her that Texas Forever is up for parole and that Small Town Loser asked him to speak at the hearing tomorrow. Looks like they both have a panel to impress tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Blind Side Lite shows up for what he thinks is gonna be a family dinner. Instead, Deadbeat Dad blind sides him (no pun intended) with a meeting with more recruiters.
Hey! If I knew I was going to be meeting recruiters, I wouldn’t have worn a shirt that looks like I’m wearing a quilt.
Blind Side Lite stands there in disbelief, then he asks to speak with Dad outside. He calls Deadbeat Dad out on his promise to take a step back, and in response, Deadbeat Dad reveals his panic. Apparently, he found out that TMU already has a commitment from another recruit. The clock is ticking and they have to make a move before their chance at fame and fortune falls through their fingers. Blind Side Lite says that he’s not meeting with anyone else because he can’t afford to get into more trouble with Coach. FINALLY! You should have said that weeks ago when you saw that Deadbeat Dad was getting power hungry and treating you like a meal ticket. Like right now, when he tries to use a firm hand with his son, telling him to lose the attitude and sit his ass down for this meeting.
Don’t sass me, boy! I don’t like bein’ sassed!
Blind Side Lite looks at his dad, at the recruiters, and then proceeds to walk right out the door! YOU GO, BOY!!!! Deadbeat Dad stands there with egg on his face for a second before he scrambles to cover his ass, spouting some bullshit to the recruiters about Blind Side Lite having to do his homework. As brilliant as this is, I’m worried about how Deadbeat Dad is gonna deal with him when he gets home later. A preemptive call to Child Protective Services might be in order.
Over at Country Junction, also known as the Cafferty Ranch, Hayseed Hottie is teaching Tinker how to show his prize heifer. With what looks like a horse riding crop, he demonstrates how to take command of the animal and show her off best to the judges. And if you look closely in the corner of the pig sty, you can see the intricate spider web crafted with the word TERIFFIC on it.
Oh, wow, look at her now, it’s Cafferty’s famous pig! (and please don’t mock my horrendous lack of pic altering skills!)
After imparting all of his knowledge, Tinker aptly comments on how good Hayseed is at this. T&T Girl looks on with pride while Hayseed gets all aw-shucks on us. Looks like he’s found his other non-football interest.
Tami-Joe Clark arrives at the college admissions conference, and while she’s putting on her nametag, a very professional looking woman approaches her and reintroduces herself.
Nice to see you again! Isn’t this shit boring? I only come for the cocktail parties afterwards.
Apparently, she’s a college admissions recruiter/director from another fictional institution called Braymore College. They met back when she was principal at West Dillon. Tami recalls meeting her and informs her that she’s just a guidance councilor over at East Dillon now. She hides her surprise pretty well, but you know she’s wondering how or why a high school principal took such a huge step back in her career. A simple Google search on her smartphone should answer that question immediately. Two words: Abortion Scandal! Instead, she escorts Tami into the conference room for her panel discussion.
While Tami is taking her seat at the dais, Small Town Loser is taking instruction from their attorney while Texas Forever looks despondently out the window at the lovely trees and bright green grass that he hasn’t seen in almost a year.
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world
Small Town Loser gets frazzled when he learns that the lawyer will NOT be present in the meeting, and he wonders how he’ll know when to speak. Texas Forever announces that he doesn’t want his brother to speak on his behalf, and finally turning away from the window to look at Small Town Loser, he adds, “He’s done enough damage.” OUCH! That’s gotta sting! Can’t say as I’m shocked, though. Doing time for a crime you committed but didn’t initiate is rough. Texas Forever is fine with others speaking on his behalf, as long as it’s not his brother. The lawyer sets him straight, saying they need Small Town Loser to talk since he’s the family member with whom Texas Forever will be living with once he’s released. And besides, how badly could he mess it up. Showing a complete lack of faith in Small Town Loser, as well as a bit of contempt, he turns back to the window muttering, “You’d be surprised!” You won’t hear me say this often, but I feel bad for Small Town Loser. Someone should remind Texas Forever that he CHOSE to take the fall so that his brother could stay out of jail and be a father. You can’t really go back and blame him as if he forced you to do it.
Back at the conference, some stuffed shirt fields a question about possible improvements to standardized testing pertaining to college admissions. He babbles on and on about a failing system, calling for a baseline for judgment of scores as well as accountability, using California as an example to strive for. First of all, as an ardent east coaster, it is my fervent opinion that CA has nothing that the rest of the world should emulate. And secondly, I believe that standardized tests do nothing more than measure a student’s ability to take a standardized test. By their very nature, they are biased towards very specific types of educational methods and student populations, and the increasing weight placed on the scores only motivates teachers to prepare kids to take the test, as opposed to imparting genuine knowledge and life skills. The last time I checked, no profession in the world requires a proficiency in answering multiple choice questions and filling in a scantron sheet. RANT OVER!
Luckily, Tami-Joe Clark gets heated and jumps in and expresses a similar argument about addressing the individual needs of their students.
Because addressing Chica Precious’ individual needs really worked well for her, didn’t it?
Stuffed Shirt Dude takes her comments as a personal affront to his knowledge and prestige, challenging her to defend her unrealistic position by asking if she’d have them sit down with every student in the state. To which, she replies, “Yes! Yes, I would.” HAHAHAHA!
Mmhmm! I may be delusional, but at least I’m committed to it!
Though we don’t see them, the realists in the room just shake their heads, either at Tami’s naiveté or the impossibility of what she’s proposing. But for the sake of TV drama, she gets applause from the audience, and Braymore College Lady looks impressed.
The parole hearing is now underway, and Small Town Loser is giving his speech… poorly. He’s shaking with nerves, mumbling his words, failing to make eye contact.
Bored and unmoved…. Parole rejected!
Finally, Small Town Loser puts his notes aside and speaks from the heart much more effectively about family and support for Texas Forever. Next, the chair recognizes Coach Father Figure. He immediately takes command, defining the length and depth of his relationship to Texas Forever. Coached him for 3 years, graduated, got a scholarship and went to college (for about a week). When he came home, Coach offered him an assistant coaching job, not because of his “prodigious” talent on the field, but because of his character. Basically, Texas Forever made a stupid mistake and he shouldn’t be judged based on that one error in judgment.
Here I come to save the day!
The parole board starts to wrap up when Booster Dick gets up to speak. Apparently, he never made the list of character witnesses, probably because of his many well publicized failures and humiliations. Despite the board’s attempt to shut him up, he demands the floor to speak his piece. I’m sure the rest of the FNL faithful out there hung their heads at the exact same moment, willing him to STFU! But as smarmy as Booster Dick can be, he shows exactly why he has so much power in the community. Ever the car salesman, he speaks passionately about Texas Forever not being a criminal, despite the many things that he’s done wrong in his life, and how he has more heart than anyone. And to end it off, he drops the one final grain of sand that tips the scales in Texas Forever’s favor. When he gets out, Booster Dick intends to give him a full time job and a personal guarantee that Texas Forever won’t fuck up again. Texas Forever finally cracks a smile, knowing he’s a lock for parole now.
Yeah, I’m a fuck up, but at least I’ve got heart!
After the hearing, Coach and Texas Forever chat a bit. It can take as long as two weeks for a decision, and Texas Forever has been taking classes and behaving in jail. Finally, Texas Forever asks if Coach got all his letters, and Coach apologize for not visiting more often. In response, Texas Forever apologizes for letting Coach down.
AWWWWWWW!!!! See, there’s a reason I nicknamed him Coach Father Figure!
Coach immediately dispels that misconception. He was never disappointed in Texas Forever, nor is that why he came today. Just then, their time together gets cut short when the bailiff comes in. They stand up and shake hands. Coach grabs his wrist, which to me is a physical show of strength and support. Texas Forever thanks him for coming before getting handcuffed and led out of the room while Coach stands by and watches.
That night, we can assume, Blind Side Lite gets home to a waiting Deadbeat Dad. He puts down an Alabama athletics pamphlet on the counter, saying they’re the best program in the country and he has a call in to them. Immediately, Blind Side Lite blows up, saying he’s done with the college recruiting stuff, and he told Coach the same thing. Deadbeat Dad goes off on Coach, saying he’s got one foot out the door. Blind Side Lite tries to explain that Coach denied leaving when Hayseed Hottie asked, but Deadbeat Dad clues him on the Shane State offer. He knows about it because he spoke with an assistant coach from LSU who was up for the job too. Deadbeat Dad is just trying to set his boy up for the future. Then he goes one step too far, playing the DAD card and saying he knows what’s right. Blind Side Lite gives him a look that screams “OH, HELL NO!” And just then, Not Sandra Bullock finally reaches her own boiling point, screaming “ENOUGH!”
Heathcliff Huxtable would never treat his kids this way!
She calls Deadbeat Dad out for smothering the kid with all the college recruiting bullshit, saying he needs a father, not an agent. Can I get an AMEN! Finally, she’s starting to see him for exactly what he is—a moocher looking to cash in. With the jig up, he storms off to the back bedroom and slams the door. Blind Side Lite, finally seeing the writing on the wall, asks Not Sandra Bullock if she thinks Coach is gonna leave. She hugs her son, admitting that she doesn’t know.
The Cosby Show dream may be over, but at least we still have each other.
Over at the Riggins house, T&T Girl is peppering Small Town Loser about the parole hearing, perhaps showing a bit too much concern for and interest in Texas Forever. Small Town Loser, getting increasingly agitated, starts raising his voice and yelling at T&T Girl, betraying his fear of letting down his brother again. Stripper Wife comes out of the bathroom, telling him to quit yelling. He rudely asks if that’s what she’s wearing, and Stripper Wife asks if he’d like to go to the banquet alone.
Personally, I think she looks great and only just a little bit trashy.
Small Town Loser slams his beer down and heads for the door. Stripper Wife tries to stop him with a demonstrative, “HEY!” Small Town Loser blows his top, screaming, “WHAT?!?!?!?!”
Yeah, I’m afraid! Whataya want from me? Whataya want from me!
Stripper Wife immediately calms down and apologize, reassuring him that he did everything he could to help Texas Forever and that makes all the difference. She cups his face with her hand to soothe him, and his eyes well with tears. He apologizes and she hugs with, saying it’s going to be ok. Damn, she’s good! In my opinion, her performance this season has been nothing short of exceptional!
Get this girl an Emmy nomination too!
We head over to the fall sports banquet, and the atmosphere is electric. Principal Downtrodden recognizes several of the other sports, ending with the mighty Red Storm football team.
What is this, the set of High School Musical? We’re All in This Together, so Get’cha Head in the Game and Stick to the Status Quo so that we can Bop to the Top
Booster Dick greets the Taylors and starts the manipulation by giving a tiny Red Storm t-shirt to Gracie Bell.
Please, someone, get this man a tic tac!
But, he recites the long forgotten catch phrase, “CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS CAN’T LOSE!” AWWWW! I don’t think there are any other 6 words more evocative and nostalgic than those. My first thought is, DON’T GO, COACH! Job well done, Booster Dick!
Blind Side Lite approaches QB Princess at the buffet line, asking how she is. The conversation is all sorts of awkward with tons of forced politeness. She mentions hearing about Okla. Tech and expresses sympathy over what happened. In a gesture showing true growth, he brushes it off, saying he’s got another year and everything will work out. QB Princess continues talking, but Blind Side Lite interrupts, telling her that he misses her.
That’s nice…. this food looks good, doesn’t it?
A stunned QB Princess stands there for a second before walking off, saying she’s gotta go find her brothers. I’d like the believe that she’s just making him work for it, like Coach is, but I think she was just caught off guard.
That’ll go great with my 2nd Runner Up sash!
Tinker shows off his 2nd place ribbon to Hayseed Hottie, to which he responds, “That’s my girl!” T&T Girl congratulates Tinker and playfully blasts Hayseed, saying she thought SHE was his girl. He agrees with her, kisses her, and she responds, “Good boy!” Quick, get the dentist on the phone. I think I just got a cavity!
Booster Dick approaches the microphone, congratulating the Red Storm football team for making the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. Yeah, because they hadn’t had a football team in just about that long, until Coach was brought in to revive it last year. Speaking of, Booster Dick then recognizes Coach Father Figure, who gets a deserved standing ovation, and the litany of player testimonials begin.
Random White Player learned to play hard and leave everything out on the field. Big Black Player was just a fat kid until Coach taught him to work hard and persevere. Hayseed Hottie says that playing for Coach is like a dream, giving him some of the best days of his life! Tinker says that Coach completely changed his life, getting choked up when he says that he loves Coach for that. AWWWWW!!! Sunshine 2.0 admits that Coach was right when he said he loves football, just that he didn’t know it yet. Finally, Blind Side Lite gets up to the mike, simply saying that Coach is the best.
You da man!
Brief but true. Coach gets another standing ovation, to which he stands and thanks his adoring supporters. See… how can I make fun of this? This whole scene has been rousing and heartfelt, and my heart is brimming with love right now. Yes, I’m a softie. Just poke me in the stomach and hear me exclaim, “Woo-Hoo!”
Later that night, Coach gives Tami a neck message and she talks about how great that tribute was even if the motives behind it her obvious. Coach finally reveals how impressed he is with the offer from Shane State, marveling at just how great an opportunity it is. Tami jokes about the oranges, and Coach jokes about the pool as they envision what life might be like for them in Florida. Coach leans in and whispers in her ear his true desire at this very moment.
Wanna fool around?
All he wants is to bring the Red Storm to STATE! They deserve it. Tami agrees with him, but suggests that he seriously consider the offer after he accomplishes that. The offer is real good, and HE deserves THAT!
The next day, Hayseed Hottie is doing his chores around Country Junction when T&T Girl shows up, marveling over the fact that his mom said hello to her! Wow, now that’s progress! Love the sinner, hate the sin, I guess. T&T Girls appreciates the beauty of the ranch, and Hayseed Hottie responds that he used to hate it there, so sure that football would be his ticket out. He resigns himself to the probability of him staying put.
Green Acres is the place for me
Farm livin’ is the life for me
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside
T&T Girl shifts the focus back to football, imagining her boyfriend at their next game catching passes and scoring touchdowns. All the while, he looks at her with tremendous affection, and finally, asks if she could ever imagine herself living on a farm. She returns his gaze with a loving smile and responds in the affirmative. They kiss again, and I get another cavity.
Over at the Taylor home, Coach Father Figure gets his hat from Gracie Bell and heads off to work. He closes the front door behind him, met by Blind Side Lite coming up the walk.
Climactically Inspirational Tear-jerking Moment ™
He asks what Blind Side Lite is doing there, and he starts by revealing his knowledge of the offer from Shane State and asking him not to go. Coach looks on with a mixture of irritation and embarrassment, finally saying that he should be over at the field house right now. Blind Side Lite has to get some stuff off his chest that he couldn’t say the night before. He admits that having him as a Coach has been one of the best things to ever happen to him. He correctly points out that without Coach, he’s probably be in jail or lying in a ditch somewhere. With great emotion, he promises to tow the line if he comes back—he’ll focus, no mistakes. As Mary J. Blige would say, No More Drama! And since we’ll never get to see what another season might bring, he’s correct. No more scripted FNL drama. Sad kitty! Finally, he implores Coach not to go. Coach fidgets a little, then snaps out of it, telling Blind Side Lite to get into the car. And in a move that tells us everything we need to know, he informs Blind Side Lite that he’s starting tonight. Finally, Blind Side Lite’s redemption is complete! He’s surprised, asking Coach since when? Coach responds since he made the decision, which was probably about 10 seconds ago. Then, Coach points out his problem—he asks too many questions. Blind Side Lite laughs as they drive off to meet the team.
At the Riggins house, T&T Girl gets home to a major celebration to WELCOME TEXAS FOREVER HOME!!!!! Guess he was granted parole. Small Town Loser pours himself one last shot before he has to leave. Texas Forever lifts his beer to say hello to a clearly surprised T&T Girl.
He’s home all of two minutes and he’s already got a beer in his hand. That didn’t take long.
Small Town Loser babbles about getting Texas Forever food, as if he spent the last 10 months being starved. I’m sure that prison food isn’t gourmet, but it’s definitely more than just bread and water. Actually, come to think of it, that’d make for a good Top Chef elimination challenge. The team that doesn’t insight a prison riot wins! Small Town Loser passes the baby off to Stripper Wife, warns the lawyer to keep his hands off his wife, and tosses a set of keys over to Texas Forever.
I used to be completely in love with you but you shot me down and went to jail. And now we’re living together, but I have a new boyfriend who I think I love and I just told him that I could seem myself spending the rest of my life with him. AWKWARD!
T&T Girl looks afraid when she welcomes him home, and Stripper Wife gives him an awkward look, but Texas Forever smiles, appearing happy.
Finally, at East Dillon, a huge pep rally/send off is in progress as the Red Storm prepare to leave for their first playoff game. Signs alternately encourage their team to victory and implore Coach to stay. A reporter follows Coach, asking how it feels to be headed to the playoffs.
Because no one else has asked you this question yet: “Are you leaving, Coach?”
He points to all the people there and all the excitement, and chooses the word PRIDE to describe it. She follows up asking what he has to say to his fans about his future. A hush falls over the crowd as Coach publicly responds. Despite the fact that it’s an away game, the strength of the community and his players makes wherever they go their home. Various characters look on as Coach addresses the rumors about his departure. After tonight’s game, he plans on coming home, to Dillon, and that’s where he intends to stay… at HOME, in DILLON!!!!! Raucous cheers explode as Tami-Joe Clark looks on, first in disbelief, but a huge smile follows.
I’m sure the sunglasses are hiding the single tear she’s shedding over losing the swimming pool.
He goes over to her, and she hugs him close, exclaiming that he’s just full of surprises. He pulls away to look in her eyes, simply responding with a heartfelt, “I love you!” She kisses him, says she loves him back, and wishes Coach a good game. He looks back at Tami while they’re filing onto the bus, and she smiles back at him, dreams of Florida oranges and sprawling swimming pools long forgotten!!!