Sweet sassy molassy! I’m proud to report that Friday Night Lights was back in fine form this week. The Taylors were on fire, Buddy Garrity bought a pig, and no one Lieutenant Danned off the side of a boat. I officially declare last week’s trainwreck to be a complete fluke. Now let us never speak of it again.
And sorry again for the lateness. This week there was a plethora of technical difficulties to contend with. I’m know, I know, I’m full of excuses. Just call me Tim Riggins. Now let’s get this going, I have a three-way to get to. Tim, Lyla, and Jason are on their way back from the Plotline Of Death. Jason sort of sadly tells them that he’s turning nineteen on Tuesday. My first thought is, damn. All that the poor kid’s been through, and he’s only nineteen? My second thought is, wait, nineteen? So did he graduate from high school already? Could we get some answers on this please? May I see a diploma? And my third thought is that this would all be slightly more effective if Scott Porter even mildly resembled a teenager, but I’m willing to overlook that for the greater good. I mean, look at that adorable face. Belief…SUSPENDED. After some witty banter with Tim, he sighs and says, “I’m going back to Dillon. Nineteen. What the hell am I doing with my life?” Well, you’re finally not wearing a ridiculous hat for once, so that’s a start.
The Taylors are delightfulling all over their kitchen. Tami is complaining about her sister coming to visit unannounced while at the same time opening up the mail, which contains Coach’s first paycheck. And surprise! It’s less than half of what it’s supposed to be. Coach stammers that he didn’t exactly hammer out the details with Buddy, that he had just assumed that it would be taken care of. But before Tami can smack him over the head with a sledgehammer, the doorbell rings. Tami opens the door, and both she and her sister start screaming and jumping up and down like a couple of drunken cheerleaders. Pleasantries are exchanged, and Tami happily recounts to her husband that Shelly said she could bounce a quarter off her ass. Coach hilariously mumbles “You could bounce all kinds of…” but is sadly cut off by more screeching. Shelly, who might as well be wearing a “Homewrecker!” sandwich board, proceeds to fawn over the baby and Julie, inform Tami they shouldn’t be using disposable diapers, and steal Coach’s paycheck and mock it relentlessly. And all the while, Tami is really rocking that polite fury thing that she does so well. Love it.
“I’m here to ruin y’all’s lives!”
Coach storms over to Buddy Garrity’s car lot, but our dear Buddy doesn’t have time to deal with foolish paycheck problems. He’s got a hog-wrestling match to oversee! He’s got Lyla’s little adopted juvie in a pile of mud, chasing around a pig in front of a crowd of bemused car shoppers, or probably just local drunks. Either way, that’s entertainment! Buddy pulls Coach into his office and explains that the booster club is out of money, since it cost so much to pay off Coach Asshat. Coach’s mouth is twitching so hard it might just jump right off his face. Buddy promises he’ll take care of everything. Buddy is totally the kind of guy you ask to water the plants while you’re away on vacation, and when you return they’re not only dead but also now contain notes that say “We were dead before you left. Welcome home!”
A greasy, disheveled, beautiful Tim Riggins shows up at practice to find that his locker has been emptied. Uh oh. Hell hath no fury like a Riggins scorned. Oh, just kidding. He’ll throw a beer bottle or two and then fall over into some girl’s vagina. He weakly tries to appeal to Coach, but Coach just kicks him off the field.
Glenn, the little interim guidance counselor twerp, is filling Tami in on all of the trials and tribulations of their little high school hellions, now that she’s returning back to work. Coach stops in for a chat, meets Glenn, and kicks him out using solely the Power of the Eyebrow. He gets all suspicious again, and Tami asks if he’s jealous, and if so, that it’s adorable. “You like that?” he says slyly. Good God. If they could somehow package and sell these two they’d be the hottest Christmas item of the season. Could you imagine Coach with a little bow on his head? Best Christmas ever.
Smash and Matt, now the bestest of friends, are pediconfrencing down the hall at school with half the football team. A little Anne Hathaway wannabe approaches them to pretty much inform Matt that she’d like to get naked with him. She veils it in a chat about just wanting to say hi, but we all know. Matt – get ready for this, because it’s shocking – stutters a mumbled reply!
Buddy brings in the pig wrassler so that Coach can get a look at him. A jaunty training montage follows, culminating in the kid not being able to catch a single damn pass. He may be fast, but he sucks with his hands. And as Coach and any woman knows, that’s a terrible combination.
Daddy Clarke pays a visit to his son’s room for another pointless fishing-for-information scene. Just get on with it already, dude. Use some of the techniques your buddy Jack Bauer taught you. Rip out his jugular using only your teeth! Pop out an eyeball! Electrocute him with a floor lamp! Landry tells him that Tyra dumped him. “Girls can be squirrelly like that,” says Papa. Haha. Oh, Papa.
“Hi, I’m evil!”
Shelly lavishes Julie with some whore-in-training clothes from Brazil, and by clothes I mean a scarf wrapped around her boobs. Tami unsurprisingly freaks out and demands that she take it off before her father gets home. Her father gets home literally as Tami is saying this, and he brings the freak-out to a whole new level. Shelly, apparently unable to pick up on subtle facial expressions and verbal nuances, ignores both parents’ demands for Julie to take the damn thing off and instead compliments the little tartlet’s breasts. Coach is displeased. “If I give you a hundred bucks, will you shut up?” HA! Shelly, of course, ignores this, and continues her Reign of Terror upon the household, proceeding to invite Julie to Costa Rica with her and asking Tami to come to a Dixie Chicks concert, which she can’t do, because there’s a booster club meeting and she just started work and she has a baby and oh Shelly just go the fuck away.
“You can take these rock-hard party pumpkins to the BANK!”
Coach, unable to stay in the house for a second longer lest he stuff Shelly down the garbage disposal, goes where he always goes when he’s feeling distressed – Jason’s house? Whatever works for you, dude. I’d go there too, except replace “house” with “bed”. Coach asks Jason to come back and coach again, because he needs someone he can trust. Jason looks Conflicted, but agrees to do it anyway, if for no other reason than to get his precious aviator sunglasses back.
Landry, now decked out in a Periodic Table of the Elements t-shirt (I swear, his closet must look like a heap of textbooks) watches as Tyra flirts with some douchebag. I’m really hoping he’ll go up and say something like “Leave her alone…or I’ll kill ya!” with a big smile and perhaps a little jig.
Lyla arrives at Tim’s house to wake up him from his hangover. She asks him to help Santiago (juvie hog boy) train for the team. Tim is less than receptive to the idea. Lyla, in a fit of desperation, plays the I-came-all-the-way-to-Mexico-to-help-you-out card, but Tim counters with the that-was-life-or-death-this-is-just-football token, then Lyla gets a Connect Four and Tim cries, “Prett-y sneak-y, sis!”
Buddy the genius has come up with a solution to Coach’s money woes. Since they can’t free up any more coaching funds at the moment, they’ve decided instead to offer him the position of Athletic Director. They assure him it’s no more than a title and a few administrative responsibilities. With this added salary, he’ll be “within spitting distance” of what he made last year. Poor Coach. No money, and now dozens of kickballs to allocate? Surely this is no life for a man as great as he.
But take heart. What follows is perhaps one of the greatest scenes in FNL history, perhaps even the history of television itself. I’m talking of course about the Riggins brothers, sitting in Tami’s office, attempting to figure out how to operate a breast pump. Quoth Billy Riggins: “Squeezes milk out of a lady’s udders!”
And the Emmy goes to…
While I proceed to shit my pants in hysterics, Tami arrives to confiscate the toys and grill Tim about his schoolwork. He missed a lot while he was in Mexico, and if he doesn’t straighten up and fly right he’s not going to graduate. Billy promises to “squeeze his testicles until he’s bleeding term papers,” and in my opinion the only truly appropriate response to this is the look on Tim’s face:
Billy continues to needle Tami about the real reason they’re there, which is to get Tim back on the team. She tells them they’ll have to take it up with Coach, so they run off to find him. In my head, the Benny Hill theme song plays in the background as they leave the room.
Football practice. Jason’s doing his coaching yelling thing, and Coach smiles at him, but Jason doesn’t really seem like he’s all that into it. Maybe it’s because he’s not sure whether he still goes to this school or not. Smash, meanwhile, is assholing around the field as always, but this time he’s stinking it up as well. After practice, he meets Coach in his office to beg him to let Tim back on the team, but Coach isn’t having any of it. Perhaps a little breast pump action will change your mind, Coach?
So Smash takes things into his own hands. He shows up at Tim’s house to invite him over for dinner. “Are you asking me on a date, Williams?” Tim deadpans. Seriously, this kid’s comic timing is absolutely priceless. I don’t know where it was all last season (oh yeah, drowning in a sea of guilt and remorse), but Taylor Kitsch is on FIRE with the hilarity this year.
Julie shows up at the Arctic Freeze to tell Matt that she’s sorry, that he was right and she was wrong, and that she hopes he can forgive her and they can still be friends. Sorry, Julie, but I tried that once and I’m sorry to tell you it doesn’t work. Looks like you’re going to have to move to the next county over and start a new life at another school, or, failing that, under the sea.
Jason, meanwhile, shows up at Lyla’s church. Damn. This religion thing is turning out to be quite the attractive-teenage-boy magnet. I just may have to start showing up myself. Jason tells Lyla that he feels stuck, that everything in Dillon is always the same and that out of all the people he knows, she’s the only one who changed her life so he wants to know how to do it. “You just do it,” she says. Thanks, Lyla. Really worth the trip. Sorry, I’m a little distracted by the camera angles in this scene. I’m all for the realistic jiggling and whatnot, but I don’t exactly see the effectiveness of blocking entire faces. These are teenagers, not trained assassins.
“What a pity, Mr. Bond.”
Over at Smash’s house, Mama Williams offers Tim another piece of pie, which he happily accepts. I’m about to make a vague sexual reference, but Smash beats me to it. Easy there, Smash. Leave the recapping to the unpaid professionals. He gives Tim a nice little speech about how they’re nothing without football and don’t waste all your potential and blah blah more pie please.
Dad corners Landry in the family garage and informs him that the only piece of evidence the detectives found in the murder case is some upholstery fibers from the very same kind of car that Landry just parked. Papa Clarke, in quite a fine bit of acting, finally gets a confession out of Landry, who blubbers that he didn’t mean to do it. Dad tells him to get in the car right now and to follow him…all the way over to the writers’ office to beat each of them over the head with a lead pipe for dreaming up this damn plotline that’ll never end. Oh, what? They’re out on strike? HOW CONVENIENT.
It’s Jason’s birthday party! The whole gang is there, including Matt’s new little harpy. Does she even know who Jason is? Whatever. Jason, further confirming his penchant for ridiculous headwear, is wearing one of those conical party hats and is narrating as they all watch tapes of his old football games, which to me doesn’t exactly seem like such a great idea. Is this really the best way to liven up a party? Hey Jason, remember back when your life was totally awesome? Relive it now, from the comfort of your very own wheelchair! Seriously, guys. Did no one remember to bring Pictionary?
And it’s made even worse by the fact that both Jason’s dad and Buddy Garrity are shouting all sorts of inappropriate comments. Dad keeps shouting “wheels!” as Jason scores a touchdown on the tape, which, um…yeah. And Buddy, the moron, says “Could have been a dynasty, kid, and then Lyla would have been rich.” Ugh. Are you guys TRYING to chase him back to Mexico? But Jason, who by the way is looking extremely adorable this episode, somehow manages to be a good sport about the whole thing. He says something nice about cherishing memories and executes a thoughtful little smile. Aw.
Meanwhile, in the Raging Den of Sin that is Matt’s harpy’s car, the girl is blathering on about how painful it was when her boyfriend dumped her. Yeah, that’s really a turn-on, kiddo. Keep going with that. They continue chatting it up about prison weapons (no, seriously), until Matt can’t control himself anymore and kisses her. Little known fact: the only thing more erotic than bad breakup stories is talk of shivs and shanks. Anyone watch Prison Break? It’s practically porn.
As everyone leaves the party (possibly because Jason has finally burst into tears), Julie asks Tyra for a ride home. Aw, remember when these two were friends? That’s a plotline that just sort of fizzled. At least Tyra wouldn’t have left her all alone in that seedy bar (I’m looking at you, LOIS). Julie of course notices Matt and Horseface making out in the car, and proceeds to get all weepy. Don’t worry, Jules, I’m sure you’ll make tons of new friends in Costa Rica with your little whore outfit.
Jason gives Coach all of his old tapes, in case any of the new players want to watch them. Coach immediately takes this as him quitting the team, which I think comes a little out of nowhere, but Jason then confirms it. Is this some sort of football thing I don’t get? The giving away of video tapes is a symbol of resignation? Guess I need to study up a little more. The only thing I really know for sure about football I learned from Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. Laces OUT!
Jason says that he keeps trying to be the Jason he used to be, but it’s not working. He needs some time to figure out who he is now and he needs to get away from the team to be able to do that. He tells Coach he hopes he’s not letting him down. And then the music picks up a little, and that means that a Beautifully Tender Moment is about to happen. Ready the Kleenex, kids. Coach gets all thoughtful and intense. “You lift up everyone around you,” he whispers. “That’s a powerful gift to earn. I hope I didn’t let you down.”
Good LORD. Sooo wonderful.
That’s all I’ll say about that, lest I ruin it with something lame. Oh, never mind, the show is doing it for me. Landry and his father are driving somewhere. They stop the cars in a field and oh my goodness is Papa Clarke drenching the wagon in lighter fluid? He is! He sets the damn thing on fire! Well. That’s pretty exciting.
Oh, THAT’S where I parked the car.
The coaches are in Coach’s office, talking about how the boys don’t believe in protection and have been making constant visits to the clinic. Seriously! The Dillon Planned Parenthood must be a pretty happening place. But this conversation comes to a grinding halt, because they’re suddenly interrupted by the deLlGHTfully hilarious Alanna Ubach! I love this woman for many reasons, but the main one is that she played Eliza in the fabulous Saturday morning science program Beakman’s World. Remember? The guy in the rat suit? The penguins? Zalooooom? Okay, shut up, I was a nerd. Anyway, she’s the coach of the girls’ soccer team, and she has come to speak with the new Athletic Director. She waves a dead soccer ball around in his face and demands some more, since the football team has 36 balls and not one of them is dead. She then goes on to paw through his things, including his brand new computer, while rambling on about the disparities and inequalities of the monster that is Dillon Athletics. She finishes by introducing herself as Bobby Roberts (haha, classic), and says she’ll be in there every single day until her girls get exactly what they need. As she leaves, Coach sneers through his teeth that he is going to KILL Buddy Garrity. Ha!
Shelly, still hellbent on making Tami feel completely miserable about her life, pops open a bottle of wine. Tami says she can’t have any, because she’s still nursing. They exchange a few more choice words, the highlight of which is Shelly saying that just because Tami lives in Dillon, that doesn’t mean she has to stop thinking. Ouch. I don’t know where it is you come from, SHELLY, but around here we don’t badmouth the Eden that is Dillon. See yourself out, please. Tami gets more upset, but finally admits that it’s because she’s just now realizing that she’s got sixteen more years of childrearing ahead of her and Gracie is just going to turn into Julie and be mean to her all over again. Shelly, in turn, admits that she’s just compensating for her own lonely, pathetic life. Amen. Now never darken our doorway again. I say our because I have permanently moved in with the Taylors. Please forward my mail.
Santiago is out on the field, trying to tackle one of those big person-shaped pieces of equipment. (I have no idea what they’re called. Faux-ball players?) Tim, at his usual post – on the sidelines, drinking – asks the kid if he’s trying to screw Lyla. He says no. So Tim decides to give him a few pointers, repeatedly telling him not to put his head down so he won’t break his neck. Because we’ve already have enough of that around here. Hey, why don’t we pop in one of those tapes? Come on over and watch, Jason! Look, there’s the exact moment you became paralyzed forever! Happy birthday!
Matt and Smash show up, and the four of them run through some plays. Old-fashioned fun and tomfoolery abounds. Coach watches the whole thing like a crazy-eyebrowed hawk. As he leaves, he tells Santiago to come to practice tomorrow. Tim asks if he can come back, too. “Not even close!” yells Coach.
So, yay. This episode warmed the cockles of my heart. I’m glad the damn murder plotline is finally taking a leap forward, as opposed to the painful little baby steps it’s been dancing through for the past few weeks. Shelly was a fun little foil, I’m intrigued by whatever’s going to happen next for Jason, and the comedy stylings of the Riggins Brothers Circus delighted me to no end. Plus, I can’t wait to see the hilarity that will result from Coach vs. Bobby Roberts. He’s totally going down.
What did you think? Will Buddy Garrity’s next publicity stunt feature:
a) Tim Riggins walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls
b) Smash being encased in a block of ice for thirty days
c) something about bees bees BEE MOVIE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEBODY PLEASE STOP JERRY SEINFELD HE’S RUINING MY LIFE