Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Well! The season premiere of Friday Night Lights sure did set off a lively debate. The murder plotline: liked by some, hated by others. Coach’s hair, however: loved by all.
We begin this week with a screaming baby Grace, a stressed out Tami, and an overall befuddled Coach, who insists over the phone that the constant crying is colic. “Julie was colic!” he offers by way of explanation. They go on to have one of those patented Adorable Taylor conversations, which this week includes Tami accusing Coach of slamming Julie’s hand in the car door as a child, and Coach moping about how his bed is uncomfortable and how he’s not yet part of the TMU staff’s inner circle. Guess he showed up too late for the trust falls and icebreaker games.
Landry calls Tyra to inform her that he can’t find his watch. They pack up and take little a trip down Memory Lane all the way to Homicide Bridge. Landry is worried because the watch is engraved with his name, Tyra gets annoyed, and they proceed to have a surprisingly entertaining dialogue. Maybe these two can spin this whole murder thing into comedy gold yet!
Coach is on the field over at TMU, where it says “Welcome to Bobcat Stadium”. I misread this as “Welcome to Borat Stadium,” which I think would be infinitely more entertaining. Coach is called away to deal with his first Challenge. Antoine, a hotshot asshole football player who has been accepting gifts from the Booster Club, got caught with an agent at a Justin Timberlake concert, and now Coach is to escort him to his hearing. Antoine shows no remorse, instead commenting on the fact that “that little white boy’s got soul!” Well, okay, no one can argue with you there. In fact, maybe you can use J Timbo to your advantage at the hearing. Here, I’ll get you started. Step One: Cut a hole in the box.
A very sweaty and hopelessly dweeby teacher visits Tami at home to drop off some files. His name is Glenn and he has apparently taken over the guidance counselor position while she’s on maternity leave. He’s obviously in over his head, squeaking that the kids are “coming at him like ninjas”, which is so cool. I hope the Dillon Ninja Club makes an appearance at some of the halftime shows this season. Glenn and Tami go over some of the kids’ files, though she obviously has no patience for the poor guy. He begs for help, and her advice is to just connect with the children. Cue Evil Daughter #1 to walk in and brat all over the place and totally undermine everything she just said. Glenn just looks like he wishes he were back in that locker someone stuffed him into earlier.
Landry is over at Matt’s house pestering him for some reason or another, and is it just me or does it seem like our dear Matt has seriously cranked up the accent? He pronounces messages like “meeeesages” and I also hear a solid “git” in there. They are interrupted by a delivery man at the door, who has arrived to deliver Lorraine’s $2400 tiara, which, as Landry correctly points out, will “be beautiful for whenever you want to just zip over to the Rite-Aid”. Oh, Landry. Good to see that manslaughter hasn’t dampened your sense of humor! Matt freaks out and tells her they need to return it, but her eyes just glaze over and she runs off to practice her speech on education in the Iraq and South Africa and such as.
The Middle-Aged Men Who Have Nothing In Life But High School Football Meeting is in high gear over at Applebee’s, and Buddy Garrity is proud to announce that Garrity Motors is happy to sponsor the season opener Pep Rally. Coach Asshat, however, shits all over his parade by announcing that it will instead be held at Lester’s ranch, making it more of a wholesome family event. Buddy insists that he’s wholesome, but the other guys roll their eyes at each other and shoot spitballs at him. Asshat thanks him for the offer and says that he sure hopes he can make it. Damn. I’ve never been Buddy Garrity’s biggest fan, but at this point you really can’t feel anything but terrible for the poor guy. Surely things will progress as the episode continues!
Matt and Landry arrive at school. Matt’s yelling into his phone about getting Grandma some in-home care, but he keeps getting put on hold. Geriatric beauty queens have it so rough these days. Julie pops up and Matt tries to talk to her like a normal human being but fails miserably. Julie obviously doesn’t want to talk and tells him to call her later if he wants to hang out tonight. Matt continues to sputter as she walks away. So glad to see he’s grown in the past eight months. Dude, put a sentence together! It’s not hard!
Lyla’s with her prayer circle in the cafeteria reciting a seriously Christ-heavy prayer, coming to the line “Christ above me, Christ beneath me” just as she spots Tim making out with some saucy wench. She becomes Unnerved. And who wouldn’t? Tim Riggins playing tonsil tennis against a backdrop of Christian worship is enough to set anyone’s loins aflame!
Football practice. Poor Smash gets even less time this week. Blink and you’ll miss him. Tim is mouthing off to Asshat yet again, so Asshat makes him do some more laps or whatever. Jason responds, yet again, by silently putting on his Jack Bauer Aviator Glasses of Badassness and looking sullen. Maybe he thinks those things make him invisible.
Landry, who has made the team, is getting creamed out there on the field, while someone in the crowd looks on – wait, could that be…? HOLY CRAP IT’S AGENT AARON PIERCE FROM 24!! He’s Landry’s DAD!! I freak out for a full, FULL five minutes. Aaron is one of my all-time favorite 24 characters and the fact that the best of both worlds is colliding right here on the Dillon field is just too much for me or any mere mortal to handle. Landry is pretty down on himself but Daddy Pierce says he’s proud of him. Aww!
Jason is over at the doctor’s office, where he is proudly demonstrating to Doctor Killjoy that he can now make a fist. The guy lets him celebrate for approximately two seconds before informing him that it doesn’t mean a damn thing and he’ll still never walk again. Thanks, doc! He heads back into the waiting room, where he is met by none other than Mark Zupan, of Murderball fame. The celebs just keep on coming! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Mark Zupan is the captain of the US Quad Rugby Team, and the real person on whom last season’s Herc was so obviously based. (PS – I caught a glimpse of Herc on Bionic Woman so hopefully Captain Obnoxious be gone for good.) He greets Jason as if they are somehow old friends and informs him that some guy is doing some promising stem cell research somewhere in Mexico. And with a ringing endorsement like that, how could you lose?!
Grandma Lorraine is yelling at no one in particular, and when Matt finally arrives to tell her to turn down the crazy, a woman appears in the kitchen. It’s Carlotta, the “in-home nurse that you demanded.” Haha. Saucy. She tries to turn off the television and throw out Grandma’s tapioca pudding and things just dissolve down into chaos. She asks Matt where she’s supposed to sleep, and the stuttering begins anew.
Coach is with Antoine on the way to the hearing. He turns off the rap that the kid is blasting (what, no J Timbo?) and asks him what he’s going to say to the board. Antoine, the little cherub, replies, “I’m sorry I took those tickets to Justin Timberlake. Specially when don’t have no CrisTAL in the box! Can you believe that? I don’t drink no cheap stuff, Coach!” Charming. He goes on to tell Coach that he’s not sorry, and to verify this, he yells it out the window.
Coach tells him to shut up and answers a phone call from Tami. She’s taking Grace on a walk and shoves the phone into her baby’s face so she can say hi to Daddy. Daddy growls a ridiculously adorable hello, then asks to speak to Mom again. Tami says something so fast it’s incomprehensible, then hangs up. Antoine, in perhaps the only intelligent remark of his life, asks why Coach is here in the car with him when he has a new baby.
Buddy arrives at his former house to find all of his trophies and deer heads out on the sidewalk. Pam says she’s getting rid of them, and won’t let him in the house because she doesn’t feel safe. Buddy apologizes for the little outburst from last week but she’s not having any of it, and just as they’re about to get into another fight, Lyla puts a stop to it by obediently heading out to Buddy’s car with her siblings.
Julie picks up her paycheck at the Community Pool of Sin and Amniotic Fluid, where she runs into The Swede. He thanks her for coming to the show, and she tries to keep her composure but you can tell she’s outrageously embarrassed about the whole thing, even denying that her father picked her up. I know I give Julie a lot of shit, but there isn’t a teenage girl who hasn’t been in this terrible position – being thought of a as a cute little kid by an older crush. And it doesn’t help that he acts like a total jackass about it – talking about how she’s still in high school, warning her to watch out because she’s going to be a heartbreaker someday, and finishing up with by tousling her hair. Dickwad.
Tami, drenched in sweat, arrives at the school to meet with Glenn again. He tells her she’s crazy for walking all that way in 100-plus heat, but she points out that it’s not crazy if you have a baby that won’t stop crying unless she’s moving. Yes, that is quite a pickle. Maybe she could just put the stroller on the treadmill? Anyway, Glenn is not having any of it and says that her behavior is questionable and he’s worried about the baby’s health. WELL. If anyone thought that Tami Taylor was down for the count, they were sorely mistaken. “Excuse me, GLENN. Let me tell you something right here and right now, okay? This isn’t my first barbeque, GLENN. Alright? So I don’t appreciate you going on and on and on about what a bad mother I am.” Glenn denies that this is what he’s implying and even amusingly confesses that she frightens him, but Tami just gets more and more upset until she finally breaks down into tears, in what is the first but certainly not the last crying jag of the episode.
Matt, still working at the Arctic Freeze, calls Julie about the plans for later, but she doesn’t pick up. I think I see Smash working there too, but it’s been so long I can’t really remember what he looks like anymore.
Jason catches up with Tami as she’s leaving the school and starts talking to her in a voice that’s slightly higher than usual, in what I can only assume is an attempt to make him even remotely resemble a teenager. He tells her that he’s been having a dream a lot lately and that she’s in it. Ooh. This episode just got interesting. As “Stacy’s Mom” plays in the background, he tells her that in the dream, she tells him to get up and walk, and he does, and one time when he woke up he could make a fist where he couldn’t before so he thinks this all means that he’s going to walk again. Tami looks confused, then sympathetic, then maybe a little horny, and finally deeply touched. He thanks her and heads off, and she almost starts crying again.
Sigh. I was somewhat afraid this plotline would come up this year. I know it’s in the nature of the story for Jason to hope to walk again, but I for one hope that he doesn’t. I know that sounds terrible and I’m pretty much confirming my reservation in hell, but I’ve always felt that it would be such a happy-ending cop-out. Everyone in Dillon is gritty and miserable in one way or another, and so much of Jason’s character is built upon that element that it would be a shame to just get rid of it. To put it in the context of yet another 24 reference, it would be like Terri Bauer not getting killed at the end of season one. So come on, writers. Have the balls to continue on in your quest to tear my soul apart.
Like in this next awesome scene. Antoine the douchebag is teasing Coach about not being home with his baby and even jokingly takes a picture of him on his stupid iPhone when Coach finally flips out, hissing that it’s all just a joke to him and he let down his team and he doesn’t even deserve to play the game. There’s the Coach we know and love! BLANKET!!
Landry is greeted in the parking lot by a little blond tartlet who perkily informs him that she is his rally girl. Landry responds by asking her if she thinks all human beings are capable of evil. HA! Stick that in your baton and smoke it! Tyra pulls him away and tells him he needs to pull it together. Landry blubbers some more, prompting Tyra to scream at him to act like a man. And here’s where I am reminded how wonderful these writers are. Because as we all know, I was not a fan of the murder plotline, and I’m still not, but I feel a lot better about how they’re going to handle it after Landry pulls out the awesome, which I will reprint in its entirety because it’s some damn fine writing and acting. “Don’t tell me to act like a man. Because the thing about this is, I would do that thing again for you in a second because he hurt you and because I’m in love with you, alright? And don’t look at me like that, don’t, because you know, you’ve known forever, and it’s not some big secret. Let’s not pretend that this was some great thing we just did, and just don’t tell me to be a man. Because if that’s your definition of a man, that’s extremely sad.”
Over at the hearing, Antoine is talking out of his ass about how he’s sorry for what he did and that’s not how his mama raised him and all other manner of bullshit. Eventually it gets to be too much for Coach, who stands up and addresses the board himself. He says that the kid’s going to the NFL no matter what, so he might as well stay at the school for another year where they can beat some sense into him, take away all his his iPhones and crap, and hopefully make him a better person. The board looks impressed, as am I. But I’m already wearing my Coach Is Awesome sandwich board.
Matt is pleading with the spicy chica Carlotta to not disturb the house too much. She snaps “One time, I had a client who never threw anything away. She was crushed under a pile of newspapers. Is that what you want?” Matt stammers and is unable to come up with a response, which makes it seem that that is, in fact, what he does want. Carlotta gives Matt some more tips, then heads into his room, where she finds a drawing of Julie, and then some porn. Matt Saracen, ladies and gentlemen!
Poor little Grace is running a fever. Tami asks Julie to come and feel her to see if she’s hot, but Julie teenagers that she doesn’t know anything about babies. GAH. How much skill does it take to hold your cheek up to a baby’s forehead to appease your emotionally fragile mother? Throw that girl into the dungeon and don’t let her out until she turns 18. Or 36.
A TMU coach pulls Coach into the office and tells him that Antoine only got suspended for three games, so he must have done a good job. “Bet you were one hell of a high school coach, Taylor,” he says, in the understatement of the year.
Julie, in an top that makes her look extremely pregnant, is washing Ugly Lois’s car when The Swede rolls up in a creepy unmarked van to torment her some more. She tells him she’s going to the pep rally, then rolls her eyes to convey exactly how lame it is. Jules is quite the manipulative harpy. The Swede offers her a ride and she accepts, possibly hoping to sample some of those famous Swedish meatballs.
Over in the pep rally at Lester’s precious ranch, Buddy is glowering at everything as the team is introduced and Smash grabs the mike and starts showboating all over the place. Julie and The Swede pull up in the van, and as he says goodbye she kisses him and says he can call her sometime. You know, from jail, because she’s NOT LEGAL YET.
She saunters over to Matt and flippantly asks if she missed his thing. Ugh. She says they need to talk, and they Talk, and let’s just cut to the chase – they break up. She even uses the “It’s not me, it’s you” line, and poor Matt just says “I know it’s not me.” This whole scene makes me realize something. Julie is very easy to hate, and why? Because teenage girls are very easy to hate. As annoying as Julie is, I think she’s written well and pretty accurately. She goes a little over the top at times, but it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility that teenagers may, at times, overreact. I did exactly what Julie is doing when I was a teenager, and I’m sure I was equally as horrific.
Buddy wanders into Lester’s trophy room, and starts sarcastically talking to no one in particular about how “wholesome” it is. Um, hate to point this out Buddy, but you had a trophy room too. Kind of a pot calling the kettle black thing here. Actually, don’t listen to me. Continue to wallow in your sorrow. And wallow he does!
Some time later, Buddy is drunkenly relaying the State Championship game to some poor suckers who clearly would rather be anywhere else. Lester tries to take his beer away, but Buddy resists, then stumbles, and finally starts screaming at Lester and trying to pick a fight. Eventually he is subdued by Mr. Twelve Steps himself, Tim Riggins. Then he falls down into the mud. Lyla arrives and asks if he’s drunk, which Tim hilariously responds to with a “I don’t know Lyla, maybe he’s had one too many. What do you think?” Lyla shoos him away, saying that she can handle this, and even spitting a particularly vitriolic “You must be loving this.” Wow. Jason also watches from somewhere, and while we’re at it, do you think we could get some resolution on that whole marriage proposal thing? Do Lyla and Jason ever talk? Is he still dating that blond chick? Or is he single? Answer that last question first.
Buddy is an inebriated mess, and he creates quite the spectacle as Lyla tries to help him up. It’s humiliating. Lyla wins the Worst Life Award for this evening. She can’t get him up, so she reluctantly asks Tim to help. They bring him back to his apartment and put him to bed, all while he keeps mumbling that he’s sorry and he loves her. It’s heartbreaking, of course. Tim hangs around the living room, contemplating the Evils Of Alcohol as Lyla puts her father to bed. She shuts the bedroom door, looks at Tim, and sums up the theme of this show quite nicely: “Why is everything always falling apart?” They chat for a bit, and as he says good night he kisses her on the cheek, which may in fact be the sweetest thing that Tim Riggins has ever done.
Tami is at the emergency room with little Grace. The doctor tells her to give her more fluids and to feed her every hour, maybe in shifts with her husband who lives seventeen towns over. On the phone with Coach, she tells him that it’s nothing to worry about, that he doesn’t need to come home, and that everything is fine. She can barely say goodbye without crying. I think Mommy could use a few fluids too, seeing as how she couldn’t possibly have any left in her body with all of this sobbing. Glenn, who she called to drive her home, tries to make her feel better and she apologizes for having been a bitch. As they leave, he asks why they thought that this whole living-apart thing was a good idea, and she admits that it was stupid. And then she cries some more.
Tyra saunters into Landry’s room to tell him that she’s glad the guy is dead and that she wishes it were her that had killed him. Huh. Nicely done, Collette. At least she’s honest. And then they hug, then cry, then kiss. Probably not the way Landry had pictured it back when he was preparing those aphrodisiac chocolates last year, but I guess all’s well that ends well, murder notwithstanding.
So, I was feeling this episode a little more than last week’s. Coach is back to his awesome self, we got a little more Tim/Lyla/Jason (though still no Smash – keep reaching for that rainbow, little buddy), and the murder thing is playing out slightly better than I had expected. I still don’t like the fact that it’s there in the first place, but I am somewhat comforted by the fact that neither Landry nor Tyra are getting overly soapy with it. Now all we have left to see is how long they can stay out of jail. Though with Agent Pierce on the case, they’ll probably only have to save America from crazed terrorists and disarm a nuclear missile while simultaneously neutralizing a killer virus and kidnapping the president. No biggie.
What do we think? Is The Swede:
a) worth it
b) the poor man’s Adrian Grenier
c) Ikea-like in his blandness and affordability?