Dude, wait, Thanksgiving’s over? Damn you, tryptophan coma!
Or: I meant to write this recap before I went out of town for Thanksgiving, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Also not in the cards: a stress-free Thanksgiving. Our oven decided to crap out halfway through the turkey cooking, so my sister and I were woken up at the crack of dawn and ordered to rush the bird over to my grandmother’s house to cook it the rest of the way in her oven. So we slapped a siren on the roof, threw on some paramedic uniforms, carefully loaded the precious cargo into the Turkey Ambulance, and screamed across town. Good news: the patient was saved, and was delicious.
But not as delicious as Friday Night Lights! “The recruiting circus is coming to town, folks!” screams Slammin’ Sammy Mead. Thanks Sammy! Smash is working out in his room, gazing dreamily at posters of Porsches and other various cock extensions, while his mother is being bombarded by calls from college recruiters. Sister Smash brings the phone to his room, where he graces us with this little nugget: “The Smash train is pulling out of the station, you better hang on or you’ll lose a seat!” Great, Smash has Bruce Vilanch writing for him now.
A small montage now begins, one filled with our cheerful little Dillonites waking up to a brand new day. Julie sulks in bed while her mother and aunt (dammit!) try to lure her out. Matt bumps into Carlotta just as she’s getting out of the shower and almost orgasms right there in the hallway.
Fievel Goes North
Jackie graces the Riggins household with her MILFy presence, but this time she’s with Billy. Tim takes one look at the two of them and starts packing his bags. He storms out of the house, amidst vague protests from the star-crossed lovers. Billy, you’re a dumbass. Tim screeches away in his truck, finally arriving at…well, it must be Jason’s house! Wait, no. Guess it’s Tyra’s. Okay then. Weird. He says he needs a place to stay, so she shoots back, “Forty-eight hours, Tim, that’s all you got.” Which is incidentally exactly how long it’ll take for Tim to piss off every single member of the Collette family and possibly even put his own ass through a coffee table.
Tami, running down the halls of Dillon High, is suddenly accosted by none other than John from Cincinnati! She practically tells him to go finish his homework, when he introduces himself as Noah Barnet, the new English teacher and advisor for the school paper. Tami, shocked that someone so young and so Shane West-ish could possibly be teaching in her school, apologizes and promises him the keys. To her…activity room.
In the locker room, Coach forbids his boys from accepting any free gifts from recruiters, including cell phones, concert tickets, meals, rides home, Wiis, or Tickle Me Elmos. Doing so might endanger their State eligibility, and, even more frighteningly, would threaten their ability to yell WE GOING TO STATE every five seconds.
Smash runs into a recruiter from Miami Southern, who is then run into by some saucy young girl who gives him a big hug. Turns out she is the sister of Owen Davenport, a Panther who graduated when Smash was a sophomore and is now playing for Miami Southern himself. Smash sort of flirts with her, and she sort of flirts back, and, um, okay. Do they know each other already? Are they actually just flirting or are they talking about football? Don’t worry, this confusion will remain for the rest of the episode.
Meanwhile, Coach tells Santiago to go to the guidance counselor’s office and make sure he’s all squared away academically, so that he can play on the team. “And be nice to her, she’s my wife,” he barks. So you know what that means, Santiago. Hands off the breast pumps.
Landry is telling Tyra all about how his father turned the wagon into a “charcoal briquette” but Tyra is just soooo over this plotline. Tami arrives to save the day, pulling Tyra away from Landry so that she can beg her to head up the entertainment portion of this mysterious event known as Pantherama. She ropes Lyla into it too, and when they both start making excuses, Tami, the scheming little mink that she is, calls them out on it. Then she scrunches up her face, and it’s all over. No one can refuse the Tami Scrunch.
Fun Fact: Tyra pulls in some extra cash on weekends by doubling as a giraffe at the zoo.
Over at the school paper meeting, Julie pitches a feature story about the Pantherama fundraising money distribution and whether all the sports get their fair share of it. This pleases Noah, and he gives her the assignment. This, in turn, pleases Julie. Not pleased: Coach, once this story is printed.
Tami and Santiago are in her office, hammering out the details of his records and his, well, life. His grades are decent, but he’s transfered schools five times, and ever since his parents got deported he’s been living with his uncle. Tami says that they need to meet with him face-to-face, but Santiago just keeps making excuses until eventually admitting that his uncle left about eleven months ago and hasn’t come back. Then he makes a really adorable puppy face and awww! Love for Santiago – CONFIRMED.
Matt is at his locker, talking to Horseface about buying a car. She tells him, through a permanently-clenched-teeth-smile, that she’s an excellent negotiator and she can help him get a good deal. Then they make out.
Julie, of course, sees this and ducks into a classroom. Noah just so happens to be sitting there, listening to an iPod. He’s so young and hip! I’m half expecting him to start throwing LOLs around and chatting about how he always TiVos The Hills. Julie explains that she’s avoiding her ex-boyfriend and his new perfect (?) girlfriend, and she really just stopped in here to cry. Noah offers her a sandwich, and she accepts, and then they make all sorts of eyes at each other. Holy Mary Kay Letourneau! What in the hell is going on here? Noah better start hoping Coach never catches wind of this. The term “dismemberment” will be an understatement.
Tami argues with her dear husband over Santiago, how his team eligibility is nothing compared to the fact that the poor kid is an orphan and needs a family. Coach tries to convince her to let him join the team first, but Tami won’t budge. Family first, then team. Though I’d like to call everyone’s attention to something much more important at work here: Gracie’s facial expressions. They continue to be amazing.
“I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I’m slightly gassy!”
Tyra arrives home to find Tim and Mindy all cozy on the couch. Mindy is regaling him with stories of stripper catfights, and Tim is all too happy to listen. Tyra pulls him into the kitchen and forbids him to screw her sister, reminding him that he’s on Hour 36. “Tick tock!” she snaps. Aw, I miss these two together. Dysfunctional + dysfunctional = hilarity.
Smash and Mama Williams are meeting with a representative from Whitmore College, a historically black university. While they don’t give athletic scholarships, the guy promises Smash a full academic scholarship, and says that he would be welcome to play on the football team. Smash rudely turns him down, snapping that college is just a means to an end, and he plans on going pro sooner rather than later. You can tell from the look on Mama Williams’ face that it’s taking every ounce of willpower not to smack her son into the next county.
Matt and Horseface are in negotiations with a man with a really terrible hairpiece. I had thought Buddy with his George Washington coif was the sole winner of worst used-car-salesman-haircut in town, but I was clearly wrong. Horseface finagles some more, and gets two hundred dollars knocked off the price. Wow, looks AND street smarts. Just add a personality and this girl’s got it all!
President of the Roadkill Club For Men
Coach and Buddy barge into Tami’s office to offer a solution to the whole Santiago problem. Buddy explains that, in a moment of clarity, he realized that Santiago should move in with him. Tami, practically choking on her own tongue, asks to speak to her husband alone. Once Buddy leaves, she starts hissing at her husband, prompting him to bark, “Don’t whisper-yell at me!” HA! That’s exactly what it is! Point for Coach. She says that this is a terrible idea, that it’s not even an option, that there are protocols to follow, and that Coach is only doing this so he can have his precious football team. Coach denies this, wisely pointing out that the protocol didn’t work. The kid fell through the cracks, and at least in this situation he’d have a real home and everyone could keep an eye on him. This is…a good point, and Tami knows it. Hmm. Well, to lighten up the situation a little, here’s a screencap that I feel nicely sums up the relationship between Coach and Buddy Garrity.
“Oh cousin Larry, don’t be ridick-oo-lous!”
Tyra and Lyla (those names fit so nicely together, don’t they?) discover that their Pantherama entertainment sign-up sheet is completely empty. So Tyra barges into the boys’ locker room to stir up some…interest. She promises that whoever signs up will get to spend the entire week with her and Lyla, rubbing up against a naked freshman as she does so. No, really. The team goes nuts and all start grabbing for the clipboard. Now, normally I disapprove of using slutbaggery as a means to an end, and this is no exception. Shame on you, girls!
Or, perhaps I’m just cranky because we’re about a half hour into the episode and…um…no Jason? These chest pains and shortness of breath and numbness in the left arm are all normal, right?
Julie is going over her feature article with Noah. He tells her to cut it down by half, and she becomes all miffed and self-righteous in that classic Julie way. He reveals that he is in fact a Golden Journalism God, having graduated from Columbia and worked for a year at a Real Newspaper. Julie wipes the egg off her face and agrees to cut it down. The article, not the egg.
Noelle, Owen Davenport’s sister, is having dinner over at the Williams’. She’s giving tips on how to play the recruiters against each other and how to win a Porsche, but Mama is more interested in the education aspect of college. Smash pisses her off yet again, and this time he knows he’s in trouble.
Matt arrives home with his new ancient car. Lorraine pops open the hood and proclaims that the engine is satisfactory. Grandma, you old grease monkey, you! She then shoves him into the car and demands a ride. Matt and Carlotta flirt some more. It’s pretty cute, I guess.
Mama comes into Smash’s room to see if he’s given any more thought to Whitmore. He shoots this down. She tells him that he was rude to the Whitmore guy and she has no idea what’s gotten into him. Smash flips out because he thinks she’s just mad about him inviting Noelle over, but Mama insists that she is only concerned about his education. He of course resorts to the Standard Smash Retort, which is that he’s going all the way to the top and no one can stop him! Ha HA! He then swishes his cape and flies out the window.
Lyla is attempting to teach the Panthers how to cheer, to no avail. And for those of you keeping score at home, Landry’s Awesome T-Shirt Score is now bumped up to 1,367 with this week’s appearance of the Physics Crib Sheet. Nicely done, Landry. Tyra, while ogling the nubile young specimens before her, suddenly gets the idea to choreograph some sort of strip show. To which I say: finally! Any chance we can get Tim back on the team for this? Jason too? Could we maybe throw Coach in as well?
Julie and Noah, still on their creepy date, are interrupted by Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC. I mean Tami. But seriously, with all of the underage shenanigans that go around here? If To Catch A Predator did a stakeout in Dillon, half the town would get arrested. But I digress. Tami is clearly horrified by the fact that the two of them are alone, but she puts on that great smile-scowl (closely related to the whisper-yell) and delivers some strained pleasantries. Julie leaves the room and Tami sticks around for a second, asking “Everything okay in here?” Noah says sure. Dude, a word of advice: if you treasure your testicles, you do NOT want to mess with this woman.
“I’m gonna feast on your brains, y’all!”
Matt is, adorably, practicing his dance moves at home in his living room. Carlotta walks in, so Matt attempts to explain what he’s doing but eventually says that the whole thing is stupid and he’s not gonna go and who cares about stupid anything anyway, stupid. Carlotta offers to help, because she
wants to get into his pants loves dancing. She tells him to loosen up, and walks him through it. There is much hip-holding. Aw, it’s pretty cute. Matt’s really cranking up the adorableness this episode. Perhaps he’s trying to make up for the void left by Jason, which – hey! We’re at like forty minutes now! Where the hell is he? I turn my back for five minutes and he’s already run off to Mexico again? Unbelievable.
Smash gives Mama a hug, leading us to believe that he’s realized the error of his shitbag ways. But Smash is full of surprises. After a lovely tender moment, he informs her that he’s officially rejecting Whitmore. He won’t be finishing all four years of college because he’s going pro once he turns 21, and he’ll be going to all future recruitment meetings alone. Poor Mama is left alone to do that wonderful bottom-lip-trembling thing that she pulls off so nicely. I really love Mama Williams. Too bad all of her plotlines are entwined with Smash and his douchebaggery. I’d love to see her dancing with Matt or clashing with Buddy Garrity.
Speaking of Buddy, he and Tami are in his office, having a chat about Santiago. Tami admits that with Santiago’s background, she’s reluctant to place him back into the foster care system. But she wants to make sure that Buddy knows what he’s getting himself into here. Buddy sincerely tells her that he really likes the kid – he has a good heart, and he deserves a chance. Buddy! You’re delightful!
Tyra pours some water on Tim, who has apparently been asleep on her couch for forty-eight hours straight. Gotta respect a kid with persistence. He protests, saying he has nowhere else to go. Except for, oh I don’t know, your BEST FRIEND’S HOUSE? Seriously, am I missing something? Did the Streets just up and move to Alaska? Anyway, Mindy tells him that she’s got a friend who’s always looking for a petsitter, if he wants to crash over there. Oh, I am just done with this sillyness. I hope the whole lot of you fall into this gaping plothole. Maybe you’ll find Jason trapped at the bottom.
Coach barges into his wife’s office to complain about the article that Julie wrote. Apparently he was cited as having no comment, because Julie asked him through the bathroom door at the time. “I was busy!” he whines. Oh, Coach. I’m sure you were. Tami says Julie made some good points, but also laughs at her husband, and I am inclined to believe that that is a genuine non-scripted laugh. If I were Connie Britton I don’t think I could keep a straight face around that man for more than ten seconds.
Oh, but Mama Williams can. She’s waiting for Coach in his office, teeth bared. She begs for an end to the recruiting insanity. Coach gently explains that he can give plenty of advice, but in the end it’s a decision that Smash is going to have to make on his own. Mama says that as shitty as her husband was, at least he and Smash got along and could talk about these things. “I’m not asking you to be his daddy, I’m just here to remind you that he doesn’t have one,” she tells Coach. Well, Mama, I hear Buddy Garrity is in the market for wayward teenage boys, perhaps you could give him a jingle?
Pantherama time! The boys present their Chippendales act, complete with tear-away pants!
Tami is not a fan.
Lorraine, however, is delighted. She compliments Matt afterwards as he stuffs her into the car and gives Carlotta the keys. Carlotta tells him he looked great, and then he says it was because of her, and then oh no they’re kissing. They. Are. Kissing. Anyone surprised? Carlotta pulls away, all flustered. But the next morning at breakfast, while Lorraine prattles on and on about gardening, she touches him on the shoulder and they exchange small smiles and everything is right with the world. Until…oh no, is that Chris Hansen lurking in the driveway?
Coach crashes a little dinner that Smash is having with the recruiter from Miami Southern. Oooh, busted. Coach sits down and tells him that his own father was hard on every decision he ever made, and that if Smash ever needs him, he’s there for him.
Coach’s other wayward fatherless failure, meanwhile, is currently knocking on the door of the random petsitter, instead of that of Jason Street, who, it’s devastatingly clear by now, is not going to be appearing in this episode unless he suddenly jumps out of the bushes in the next five minutes. The dude, who is more or less the human equivalent of the lovechild of Comic Book Store Guy and Cletus from The Simpsons, informs him that he’ll be caring for his ferrets. Oh dear Lord. I contracted five diseases just looking at this blob.
Julie slinks back into Noah’s classroom and asks for another assignment. He says that in order to keep coming up with good ideas, she needs to read the newspaper every day. He lets her borrow his, and she somehow manages to identify and take it, despite the massive amounts of stars in her eyes. I can’t wait to see how her parents put an end to this. The Saw movies come to mind.
But for now, they’re over at Buddy Garrity’s apartment helping Santiago move in. Tami inspects the fridge, which contains – Jason Street? Sadly, no. It contains only steak and sausages. “Get some vegetables in here,” she barks. “You’re a guardian now. You gotta be home when he’s home. He’s just a kid.” Buddy looks a little overwhelmed. Over in the bedroom, Coach makes Santiago’s bed, which is the bottom portion of a tiny bunk bed. Buddy comes in and shows him around, apologizing for the smallness of the desk and the bed, saying that when he moved in he didn’t think he’d be there that long. Aw. Santiago doesn’t mind, because “This is the first real bed I ever had.” AW! Buddy leaves the room, and as Santiago sits on his new bed he takes out a handful of letters from his parents and tucks them under his pillow. AWWW!! I adore this kid!
So with the exception of this last development, which I think is really sweet, and Smash’s story line, which has at long last finally kicked in, the rest of this episode felt like a lot of filler. Or not filler exactly, but more like a lot of setup for future story lines. Which is totally fine, as long as they’re going somewhere. The Julie and Noah thing should be interesting. Tyra and Lyla and Pantherama – whatever. I liked that Landry was the only one who didn’t take his shirt off, I thought that was a nice little character touch. Matt and Carlotta – you’d have to be a moron to have not seen that coming. I did enjoy Smash’s story because it’s yet another example of what’s so great about this show. Of course his mother has a point, of course Smash should be concerned about getting a good education, but on the other hand – I see his point, too. It’s so clear that he’s eventually going pro, that it just seems prudent to plan for that in the best way he can. So I’m torn. AGAIN.
And Tim – oh let’s just be honest, I’m real bitter about the total lack of Jason. I know he’s off finding himself or whatever but I would still like to bear witness to his plight. I really hope this isn’t a sign of things to come – phasing him out would, I think, be a huge mistake. He lifts up everyone around him, dammit!
What did we think? Will Buddy’s first mistake as a guardian be:
a) microwaving a football
b) accidentally setting the kid’s room on fire
c) allowing the hog from last week to join them as the family pet. Just imagine Buddy singing the Spiderpig song. Comedy gold!