This week on Friday Night Lights, we learn that all teenagers are jerks, except for those who claim Jesus as their homeboy.
Gracie’s off to day care! A crazy Tami is on the phone with the center, which just had a spot open up on the waiting list. Coach repeatedly asks why the spot opened up, maybe because of the traffic on the street or a strain of cholera or a killer bear attack, but Tami ignores him. She instead continues to talk at the speed of light, all the while whipping Gracie around like an unwilling pillow fight participant. In the end, Tami decides that Coach is far too worked-up to take Gracie to day care, so she’ll do it instead. Ha. Coach looks miffed. And when Coach looks miffed, we know it’s going to be a good episode. Not to mention that it’s a Gracie-heavy episode, and you know what that means: more ridiculous faces!
“Um, I have a question!!”
Grandma Lorraine is on Hour Three of discussing the pancakes that she is currently making. Matt, about to pass out, goes into Carlotta’s room to “pass the time”, only to find her packing her things. Bwaa? She tells him that she has to go back home to Guatemala because her family needs her. Matt attempts to unleash a stuttering of epic proportions, but they are both interrupted by Grandma, who demands that they consume the monstrosities she has just finished baking.
Tami and Gracie arrive at day care, which somewhat resembles a prison for children. Tami starts to have second thoughts as she sees kids coughing, eating dirt, and being led around on an leash. (Which, by the way, will never stop being funny to me. Never.) She proceeds to have a mini-panic attack and flees the scene as Gracie cries, possibly because it’s been five minutes since she’s bugged her eyes out of her head.
Santiago cruises the high school parking lot when he is accosted by an old friend from his prison days. Thug tells him he just got out and it’s time for them to rip up the town. Santiago declines, saying that he’s got a good thing going now, he’s playing football, and — I’m distracted for a moment by the appearance of Kevin Rankin’s name in the guest star credits, because that means Herc and Herc means Jason — and he can’t come because he has practice. Thug mocks him and drives away, leaving Santiago to yet again contemplate why Buddy packed a Cheetos sandwich in his lunch today.
Lyla arrives at a Christian radio station to meet with a good-natured, blandly attractive kid named Chris. Subtle. Judging by his doe eyes and diabetes-inducing dimples, we already know she’ll be making out with him by the end of the episode, but for now, he’s teaching her the ropes on a teenage call-in show. The first caller is a girl who asks Lyla if oral sex is sex. Lyla gets a little tongue-tied, so Chris takes over and answers it in a good-natured, blandly attractive way. Lyla swoons.
Coach barges into Tami’s office, only to find Glenn feeding Gracie. Jesus, Glenn’s back? I thought Coach hunted him down and mounted him on his office wall weeks ago. Coach is none too pleased to see either of them, but Tami explains what happened, then pawns her daughter off on him as she runs off to a meeting. Glenn points out that a diaper change is necessary. Coach fumes.
Noelle meets up with Smash after school and invites him and his family over to dinner with her parents. Smash gets a little scared, possibly fearing a Meet the Parents nipple-milking fiasco.
Thug shows up after practice to harass Santiago some more and ultimately shove him into a car of waiting hoodlums. You know they’re bad because they have neck tattoos. They decide that the best place to hang out and drink is on Buddy Garrity’s porch. Buddy arrives home and Santiago introduces him to his fellow hoodlums, named Devon, A.J., and Jesse. So, what, they’re in a boy band? Buddy warmly greets them, doing the embarrassing-Dad thing, shaking hands and even inviting them over to hang out on Thursday night for pizza and a movie. Santiago makes a Julie-worthy face of humiliation.
Coach and Tami are in bed with Gracie, cooing and being generally adorable. Tami recounts the escape from day care, and Coach gently suggests that they’ll try again tomorrow. But the whole thing just dissolves into utter preciousness as he takes Gracie and makes her fly around, causing women across America to suddenly suffer an attack of the vapors and pass out in delight and furious jealousy. Oh, and Gracie continues to rock the facial expression party.
“Stalking the guest star credits? PATHETIC!”
The next day in the school hallway, Julie runs into Tami, who is yet again towing Gracie in a stroller. Julie, finally having grown out of her hated Ã¼ber-teenage angst (at least for the time being), teases her mother and even throws an “I love you” her way. Yay for non-evil Julie!
And yay for a funny Landry-Matt conversation, which we have seriously been lacking these past few weeks, what with the whole murder thing. Matt confesses that he has been sleeping with Carlotta, much to the surprise of Landry. Dude, does Matt know you slept with Tyra? Does he know you killed a guy? Does anyone? I’m glad they dropped the murder plotline but a tiny bit of resolution might have been nice. Whatever. Matt whines some more about Carlotta leaving, and Landry nods in sympathy, perhaps wondering why Tyra’s been missing for two weeks now.
Lyla, now a pro, is hard at work on her radio show. She fields a call from a hilariously high-pitched voice, who turns out to be Tim on the other line, yukking it up with Herc. What? Just Herc? Oh, it would be SO cruel of this show to put Herc in an episode and not Jason. Now they’re just deliberately screwing with me. Anyway, Tim, aka Tina, squeaks that she thinks Jesus is hot, much to the confusion of Lyla and her smiley colleague. She tries to answer the question seriously, though by this point it’s pretty obvious that it’s a joke, seeing as how the background is filled with the two yahoos laughing their asses off. They’re eventually interrupted by — sweet sassy molassy! Jason! Tim continues his assbaggery, asking next about the Shroud of Turin. Lyla, finally catching on, scolds him and disconnects the call. A snarky Jason asks if that’s Tim’s way of telling Lyla that he likes her. Thanks for the wise words, Jay! See you next month!
The elusive Texan chipmunk briefly emerges from hibernation.
Later, Lyla shows up on Tim’s doorstep to give him a little what-for. He shrugs and laughs the whole thing off, but an obviously hurt Lyla nicely keeps her composure and lays on the guilt pretty thick. She points out that she’s doing something good and working her ass off, and he’s a douchebag for trying to mess it up. She stalks off, leaving Tim to his beer and his brooding.
Smash and the fam show up at Noelle’s house for dinner. Cut to the dining room, where everyone is laughing heartily. Aw, they’re getting along. How nice. The little sisters all run off to play some Wii so that the big kids can get down to business. Noelle’s mother just busts right out with it: she doesn’t think that it’s a good idea for her daughter and Smash to be in an interracial relationship. She says that she likes Smash, but they live in Dillon and not everyone is going to be so open-minded about it. Smash tries to protest, but Mr. Noelle jumps in to say that the two of them should stop dating. Gasp! I mean, I agree with them, but that’s only because I loathe Noelle and want her chipper football-spouting face to vanish forever. Smash turns to his mother to help him out here, but, shockingly, she agrees! Mama! Maybe she just wants the conversation to wrap up as quickly as possible so she can sneak in some Wii bowling.
Coach and Mac are watching game tapes and engaging in another one of their Dr. Phil rap sessions. Coach admits that sometimes he wishes Tami would just quit her job and stay home with Gracie. Mac barks that that’s exactly what he should do, make her quit. Coach argues that he can’t ask her to do something he wouldn’t willing to do himself, but Mac says that’s what he would do, and that women are just built that way. Coach correctly labels this as stupid and ignorant. Haha. Has anything good ever come out of Mac’s advice? Hey Mac, what do you think about Smash and Noelle? You’ve got a great record with race relations.
Lyla and Chris discuss the broken road that led her straight to Jesus. She tells him about her cheerleading days, and that when she quit she burned her uniform. Actually, LYLA, you threw it into the garbage at the hotel after State. Do I have to remember everything around here? She doesn’t want to discuss the other various hardships that she endured, but if Chris lives anywhere near Dillon it seems like he should already know. Are you aware that you’re gunning for the girl who’s banged both Jason Street AND Tim Riggins? Quit now while you still have your dignity, my friend. Anyway, Lyla says that she felt lost, and God was the only one there when no one else was. Chris takes this opportunity to make a half-assed attempt at flirting. Nice try, Jesus warrior.
Buddy is droning on to some nameless cronies about how the world would be a better place if we didn’t judge people and just loved one another. He then goes on to ask if he should hide his valuables when Santiago’s thuggy friends come over. Someone give this man a guest spot on Sesame Street.
Trouble at the Taylor household! Over dinner, Tami invites Coach to scold her for not leaving Gracie at day care for the third day in an row. He calmly says that he has offered to do it, but she hilariously still insists that he does not possess the right mindset to do so. Julie asks if they’re fighting. “No. Eat your dinner,” Coach barks. They bicker some more, Tami all bitter because there’s no way he would ever have to leave his job, so why should she leave her own job, which she loves? Coach angrily passes Julie some corn. I’m expecting some American Beauty-style vegetables thrown at the wall soon, but luckily the whole thing is brought to a screeching halt by the arrival of none other than Buddy Garrity. “Buddy’s here. He has a box,” Tami deadpans. “I’ll just grab another plate.” Haha. Buddy, oblivious as usual, bellies up to the table and spills out his troubles to the entire Taylor family, explaining that he will be storing his prized possessions here for a while. The Taylors just shrug at each other. They should really build a tree fort in the backyard for Buddy one of these days. It would make everything so much easier.
Smash silently stalks around the house, giving his mother the cold shoulder. She finally corners him and demands that he talk to her. Smash, completely calm and collected for once, tells her that what she and Noelle’s parents did was stupid and humiliating, and that she just doesn’t get it. He then calmly leaves the room. Surely this repressed anger will not manifest itself in other, more harmful ways.
Matt walks in on Carlotta as she’s getting ready to go to a quinceaÃ±era. After explaining to a clueless Matt what that is, she then invites him. I thought all of her family was in Guatemala? So Carlotta just runs around Texas, crashing random strangers’ fiestas? No wonder she’s being deported. Cut to the party, where ridiculous, inept Matt-dancing ensues. He tells her that he loves her and doesn’t want her to leave, but she insists that even though she wants to stay, she must leave. Not because she’s engaging in an illegal relationship with a minor, though. That would be a stupid reason.
Buddy, having had a change of heart, puts all of his treasures back on the mantle, along with a giant sign that reads, “FEEL FREE TO PILFER”. He gives Santiago some money to go buy some Funions and Mountain Dew for the party. Santiago leaves, looking guilty already.
Time for a Taylor Chat, over wine. Tami admits that she forgot how much work it is to have a baby. She doesn’t think she’s going to be able to do everything at once, and decides that she’ll let the job go. Coach does not accept this, reminding her that one of the reasons she didn’t move to TMU was because she loved her job, and that she is a good mother, a good counselor, “and a hell of a hot wife.” Ladies of America, commence the swooning once again. He further notes that he found out “on the computer” that separation anxiety is normal, and that day care is helpful in teaching children how to socialize. And if Gracie gets screwed up, she’ll always have her mother for counseling. They smile at each other and kiss, and I do that screechy noise I make whenever these two do something adorable. My neighbors must wonder if there are howler monkeys trapped in the pipes.
Smash is on a movie date with his little sister Noannie. Aww. But they drove out of their way to a different theater, and when Smash orders three drinks, his sister catches on. Yep, there’s Noelle. They kiss and trade the excuses they gave their parents, while Noannie looks about ready to barf, and the rest of the white people in the theater look Scandalized.
I feel you, kiddo.
Party at Old Man Garrity’s! A worried-looking Santiago cleans up messes and tries to turn the music down, while Thug eyes Buddy’s stuff and further slutbaggery abounds.
Wall Deer does not approve.
Back at the movies, Smash and Noelle are cuddled up, while Noannie sulks alone in the row behind them. A gang of preppy asshat white kids behind her start groping her and making all manner of douchebag comments. Smash tells them to knock it off but they keep at it, asking if black-on-white action runs in the family, and if so, they can help her out with that. Eventually Smash snaps and punches the kid in his face, forever ruining his chances at starring in the sequel to Billy Elliot.
“I just want to do ballet.”
While cleaning up, Santiago notices that Buddy’s grandfather’s gold watch is gone. He tracks down Thug and demands it back. Thug derides him some more, all bitter and don’t-forget-where-you-came-from. He says Buddy only cares about him because he plays football for the team. Santiago looks confused for a moment, then runs into Thug’s house to steal the watch back. Thug follows and they tussle until Santiago practically strangles the guy. Oh, please. Not another murder. We’re already on Week Two of the Tyra-Landry absence in order to clear it from our memories.
On the car ride home, Noannie is crying and gasping that he shouldn’t have left her alone. Smash apologizes and begs for her not to tell Mama. This only makes her cry harder, causing even Smash to squeeze out a couple tears. Come on, Noannie. Don’t forget the number one rule of the Williams family: Smash will always make any situation worse. Plus, you live in Dillon. Happiness is not an option for you.
Tim listens to Lyla on her show as he drives aimlessly through the dark roads of Dillon. “Damn, Lyla,” he moans. He stops at a convenience store (watch out for rapists and tornadoes!) and picks up a bouquet of flowers.
Meanwhile, Matt returns home to find that Carlotta has left, and taken his bloody, decimated heart along with her. As he reads the note that she left, Grandma explains that she had to leave a day early.
Tim, calling upon his intimate knowledge of Christian radio station whereabouts, drives right up to the studio and lets himself in. Um, security? Anyone? Lyla and Chris finish up their show. Then they hug. Then they kiss. At this point, Tim has gotten all the way into the recording studio and gapes through the window as they make out. He throws the flowers onto a nearby piano and stalks out, running his hands through his greasy, heartbroken hair.
A bloody Santiago returns home, and a panicked Buddy asks him what happened. Santiago simply tells him that he had to get back his watch. Buddy is Touched. Aw.
Wall Deer approves!
The next morning at breakfast, Mama asks how the movie was. Noannie says that she liked it, and leaves it at that. Smash looks pretty guilty, but, as usual, I’m sure this whole thing will pale in comparison to whatever pickle he gets himself into next week.
And finally, Tami and Coach, together, successfully drop off Gracie at day care. They seem okay with it, but maybe they wouldn’t be if they saw little Gracie’s face.
“You’re leaving me with STRANGERS? What kind of monster parents are you??”
I liked this episode. I’m happy Smash gets a real plotline for once, instead of one from the Smash-is-a-cocky-bastard slush pile. The Taylors continue be adorable. One day they will collapse under the sheer weight of their delightfulness and become a black hole. I like the smoldering build-up of Tim’s love for Lyla, even if it did seem to come out of the blue this week. The development of her little Christian romance, while completely obvious, should prove to be interesting. I really like how religion is handled on this show. It’s there, and it’s clearly an important part of some of these characters’ lives, but it’s not crazy-in-your-face. I’m okay with Carlotta being gone, since I was always pretty apathetic about that story line in the first place. I was pleased to see Jason, but saddened that he clocked in at roughly seven seconds of screen time. And Santiago and Buddy continue to convince me that their living situation needs to become a sitcom. Can you imagine those two in a jumping high five freeze frame? Priceless.