So I was thinking the other night, while catching a few glimpses of the very snowy Packers – Seahawks game and downing handfuls of fried pickles (don’t knock ’til you’ve tried), that it might be fun for our Panthers to take a field trip up to Canada and watch them run around in the snow. Think of the possibilities! Coach with tufts of snowflakes in his Eyebrows. Little Matty Saracen making a snow angel. Tim Riggins building a snowman, then having sex with that snowman. Ah, good times.
But for now, it looks like our Friday Night Lightswill have to remain steamy and Texasy.
Oh, Slammin’ Sammy. Where would we be without you? A land of hopeless confusion, that’s where. He happily informs us that Dillon has Verbal Contract Fever, which you may remember from the late 80′s, when a particularly virulent strain wiped out half of Zimbabwe. Noelle arrives at Smash’s house, where he is in a meeting with a recruiter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (While my roommate, a fellow FNL fanatic and Tuscaloosa native, proceeds to cream her pants in joy.) A rollicking recruitment montage follows, as Smash smarms it up with an endless parade of thick, polo-shirted men while Noelle drills them on the finer details. Mama Smash is not pleased, but mostly because she’s running out of coasters.
While Julie emerges from her hangover, Coach slips into her room to apologize for letting Tim stay at the house. “But he stopped me from a sexual encounter with a lanky emo kid and a world of regret,” she fails to say. Instead, she rubs her head and looks confused, while Coach instructs her to notify him if Tim tries anything else with her at school. Don’t worry, Coach. Tim is probably dead by now.
Wait, no, he’s just been crashing in the locker room. Coach discovers him and kicks him out yet again. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the kid just started living under the bleachers. He could become the creepy hobo that haunts the field, like the Phantom of the Opera, except with football. Or something. I don’t know. I know Broadway, not sports.
Smash loudly accuses his sister of stealing his phone and follows her out onto the front yard. As the neighbors start loading their shotguns, Mama tells him to shut up, and that she took the phone. He needs to cool it with all of this recruitment insanity and get his head back into his schoolwork. They continue to have the same argument they’ve been hashing out for weeks now, and it ends the same way it always does: ambiguously.
Shelly passed her real estate exam! Hooray! Now get the hell off our show! Shelly shrilly declares that she’s taking them all out to dinner, but Coach, of the same sentiments of myself and everyone out there in TV land, wants to discuss her immediate plans. He offers to put in some calls and get her business started, which she accepts gratefully, totally unaware that he’s trying desperately to kick her out of his house. She then suggests that they put an extra phone line in so that she can start making some cold calls. She could even share it with Julie! Coach looks as if he just may vomit. Tami, also not pleased, quickly says that they’ll think about it later. For tonight, it’s off to Applebee’s to celebrate!
“So it’s come to this. Beatings all around.”
By the way, the online episodes are currently featuring T.G.I.Friday’s, and it just now dawned on me that this is a far more appropriate American crazy-crap-on-the-walls chain restaurant sponsor. It has a third of the damn title in it! There’s no such thing as Applebee Night Lights!
Tim returns home, finally, to find a delinquency notice on the door and the house trashed. Some things never change.
Another slimy recruiter has ambushed Mama Smash in the grocery store, and is sniveling and begging while the poor woman futilely attempts to select some onions. She tells him to go away, but he refuses to leave her alone. Just as the whole thing is about to erupt into Rumble In The Produce Section, Tami walks by and joins Mama in telling him to back off. He finally relents and scampers off to the Spam aisle as the ladies roll their eyes.
“So help me God, boy, I’ll shove this cucumber right up your ass.”
Afterwards, the ladies have a powwow in the parking lot. Mama says that Noelle is the problem. She’s putting all sorts of ideas into Smash’s head and trying to turn him into some “blinged-out football star.” Tami says that he’s just trying to take responsibility for his future, but Mama admits that she’s just having a hard time letting him go. Um, that certainly counts, but you also have several valid points, Mama. Don’t go chalking up your worries and concerns to Clingy Mother Syndrome. Smash is quite the big-headed douchebag. He DOES need a good education, he DOES need to be called back down to earth with the rest of us mortals.
Julie and Coach run into Tim after school, and it is Awkward. “He’s really a good guy,” she again fails to say. Later, she shows up on Tim’s doorstep to thank him for the other night and to apologize for not telling her dad the truth. He assures her that it’s fine and the whole thing will blow over.
Oh, Tim. Is there anything your sultry good looks can’t fix?
Over a football practice montage, Slammin’ Sammy reminds us that this week’s game is going to be all the more momentous because of the intensified rivalry between Dillon and the refugee Laribee Lions. Coach, ever the gentleman, invites CoachDick out for a beer. Dick sneers that he doesn’t drink. Coach acknowledges that it must be hard for him, but Dick informs him that they’re taking over the girls’ soccer team locker room and that he can “take your country charm and buy someone else a beer.” Oh man, I can’t WAIT for this guy’s comeuppance. I hope it comes in the form of a devastating family crisis!
Chip, the misplaced 80′s Laribee quarterback, attempts to stir things up by exchanging lame insults with Smash in the hallway. He brags that he’s already committed to TMU, which Smash counters with an Alabama. Both sides ooh and ahh, and I’m pretty sure we’re about to realize Landry’s dream of a Sharks-Jets Dance-Off. Sadly, it ends with Smash ominously telling everyone to wait and see what he does. Oh, I’m on the edge of my goddamn seat.
“My other jacket is a Members Only!”
Tami barges into the garage, which is apparently doubling as Coach’s home office, to complain about Shelly, who has just dropped a dozen eggs on the floor. (Though I’m guessing the circumstances are not the same as the time a dozen eggs ended up on the floor at my parents’ house, when my dad threw a full egg carton at my sister in the hopes that she would catch it and put it in the fridge. She did not.) Coach not-so-subtly suggests that it may be time for Shelly to get the hell out. Tami ignores this and tells him instead about the recruiter incident at the supermarket, and asks that he talk to Smash and insert a little male influence into his life. Shelly then bursts in to inform them both that she killed the only hair dryer in the house. Oh HELL no. You can take over the living room, you can break the eggs, but you can NOT take away the puffy authoritative ‘do that is Coach’s pride and joy.
Tim notices MILF across the street, packing up her car. She tells him that she and Billy broke up because he lost his job and she can’t provide for both of them. Tim snarks that he could have told her that and saved her a lot of time, but she sincerely says that she hopes they can patch things up between them. Because when the Riggins boys get together, spirits are lifted! Also, blood alcohol levels.
Coach is watching a game tape, when it turns to static and switches over to an episode of The Office. To me, this would be a delightfully welcome change, but apparently Coach is unaware that there ain’t no party like a Scranton party. Shelly enters and starts chirping away, but Coach interrupts to yell at her for taping over his game. She flightily apologizes and suggests that they get a TiVo. Coach then begins a rant about personal property and private space, and eventually just asks when she’s going to leave and get a place of her own. Shelly suffers a mini-freak-out and storms out of the room, while Coach attempts to mutter an apology. Oh, cheer up, Coach. Catch the Dunderball spirit.
The next day, Coach is stuffing a massive sandwich into his face when Smash and Noelle show up in his office. And I’d like to point out that even in absentia, little Grace is making ridiculous faces right there on his desk.
“I’m shoved in next to the pencils? Are you joking?
Noelle is doing that perky, fast-talking, I-know-everything-about-football thing that makes me want to punch her in the face. She and Smash tell Coach that Alabama is at the top of their list right now, it’ll give him good exposure and national championships. Plus, TMU hasn’t called yet, perhaps because of Coach’s history with them. Coach tells him, through mouthfuls of sandwich, that that will not be the case. He then gives them a list of players already at Alabama who will be playing instead of Smash for at least two years, whereas there are other schools who need him to play right now. As the wind audibly rushes out of Smash’s sails, Coach tells him to think things over, be patient, don’t make any emotional decisions, and, for the billionth time, to listen to his mother.
Tami arrives home to find Shelly getting in a taxi. Ahh, so close! A minute later and she would have been out of our lives! Shelly tells her what Coach said. Tami tries to stop her from leaving, but Shelly wisely points out that Tami really wants her gone too. Though it’s hard to concentrate on what’s going on because little Gracie is making the most adorable baby noises I’ve ever heard. I may have to steal her.
CoachDick hangs up an Important and Weighty phone call. Coach enters to bring him the playbook that he left on the field. Aw, it’s just like the end of Willy Wonka. CoachDick does not tell Coach that he’s won the whole chocolate factory, however, but rather gets a nice little dig in about him being a Boy Scout. Fine. Jerk. I’ll just give Slugworth a call then.
Coach arrives home to a pissed off Tami, who wants to know what happened between him and Shelly. He recaps, sans the taping-over incident. Tami calmly informs him that if a family member of hers is going to be kicked out of the house, she’d like to be the one to do the kicking. Aw, just imagine little Gracie being punted out the front door. What a heartwarming image.
Billy’s back, and he looks like crap. He fills Tim in on the details of his job loss, the Jackie breakup, and their increasingly desperate mortgage situation. Then he apologizes to Tim for everything, and they’re happy little brothers again. But that doesn’t solve the money problem. They need $2,000 in two weeks. Well, boys, you could always enter and win the “Search for the Stars” contest, Ã¡ la the Brady Bunch. Break out the sequined bell bottoms!
Coach apologizes to Tami for the way he handled the Shelly situation, and that he plans on calling her and telling her himself. Tami forgives him, and they proceed to both agree that they’re thrilled she’s gone. Join the club, kids. The only problem is what to do with Gracie now that her primary nanny is gone. Ooh! I’ll take her! Pay no attention to my baby-kicking record!
As he’s running out the door, Julie grabs her father and tells him the truth about the whole Tim fiasco. For once, Coach is speechless. “Damn, Julie,” he finally says. “Damn.” He leaves the house, while Julie stands there and cries. It’s a great moment. I like it.
“Tami! Cut me a switch!”
It’s game time! Or rather, as Slammin’ Sammy puts it, “a good old-fashioned shoot-out.” There’s a minute and a half left on the clock, and the Panthers are down by 5. CoachDick looks just about ready to lapse into a Hulk rage. After Saracen gets tackled, we’ve got a 4th down with 14 seconds left on the clock. We cut back and forth between huddles, where Coach calls a play, and Coach Dick predicts that exact play. There’s the snap. Matt passes to Tim, who takes it down the field. Laribee just can’t catch him, and as he nears the end zone, CoachDick suddenly jumps out from the sidelines and tackles him himself. Well, that’s one way to do it. How come no coach ever thought of that before? It’s so simple!
CoachDick, by now a proud citizen of the Land of Crazy, starts yelling like a madman and screaming that that’s how it’s done. The whole field goes silent as everyone watches this little trainwreck. Mouths gape open. Popcorn sales spike. The game is called for the Panthers, and everyone goes back to the locker rooms, confused. Gracie is outraged.
“What the hell was that? I call shenanigans!”
Coach barges into CoachDick’s office to ask what the hell happened and demand an apology, unaware that CoachDick is fully prepared to one-up him. He yells for a few minutes about how Dillon has opened up their arms and they’ve done everything they can to make them feel welcome, so why is he still being such a douchebag? “My wife’s got three months to live,” says CoachDick. Ah. Well then. “I don’t have a game plan for that.” Okay, boo-urns on that last line, but otherwise, aw. He says he’s not using it as an excuse, and that he does owe everyone and Tim an apology. Coach, speechless for the second time today, tells him he’s very sorry and leaves.
Tim and Billy show up at the house of…no! The Blob! Luckily, for the sake of our scarred retinas, he is not there. Tim grabs his stuff from the ferret room, but on the way down the stairs he knocks over Blob’s handgun. Great. As he goes to retrieve it, he notices a wad of cash taped to the underside of the coffee table. Billy tells him to put it back, but Tim is nothing if not convincing, so they take the money and split. Surely only good will come of this.
Tami and Shelly are doing lunch. Tami shows her some listings she found in the real estate section, but Shelly informs her that she has already found some better opportunities in Dallas. Though we, the audience, are exuberant, Tami is crestfallen. Shelly says that she knows she’s been driving them crazy, and she needs to get her own life together, which she can’t do in Dillon. A teary Tami says she’s going to miss her, and that she can’t thank her enough. Yeah. Thanks for all of the good times, Shelly. I’ll really miss your shrill insults, slutty clothing, and teenager-predatory ways.
Farewell, Shelly. Never, ever come back.
Tim is ready to go on a shopping spree with the leftover grand they have after the mortgage payment. Billy, still possessing a shred of common sense, reminds him that they just stole $3,000 from a drug dealer, and there’s a slight chance they may get into trouble over this. Suddenly, a knock at the door. Quick! Don the gas masks! The stench can and will overpower! Wait no, it’s only Coach. He tells Tim that Julie told him the whole story and he is here to apologize. I think about 75% of the episode this week has been apologies. He also tells him that keeping silent about the whole Julie thing, not letting Coach think badly of her, that that was an honorable thing to do. That’s right. Tim Riggins, the definition of honorable.
Over at the diner, a bad actor in an even worse suit pulls Smash over and informs him that TMU is prepared to give him a full scholarship. All they need is the verbal commitment. Smash, acting intelligently for once, says that there’s no need to rush, and that he has to look at the fine print first. But the guy is persistent, and Smash crumbles under the pressure, announcing to the entire restaurant that “The Smash is gonna play for the U!” Everyone goes apeshit as Smash runs off to tell his mother, who will no doubt have a conniption.
Coach sits down to have a Talk with his daughter. I’m guessing it’s going to be the ever-classic “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed,” but Coach surprises with a little twist. Not only is he disappointed and no longer able to trust her, but he’s also hurt. The drinking is unacceptable, but…he knows that people make mistakes, and he still loves her. Oh, DAD. Tami joins them and it’s family movie night! Julie suggests Cinema Paradiso, but Tami insists on Foul Play. Because, as we all know, there is no problem that a Chevy Chase-Goldie Hawn romp can’t fix.
Smash comes home to give his mother some flowers and tell her about TMU. Instead of hitting him over the head with a bag of radishes, she actually flips out, hugging him and crying in joy. So…everything she said before, right out the window? Is that the lesson we’ve learned? That Smash is always right, and Mama is full of shit? I beg to differ.
Overall, this episode was kind of meh. Feels like they’re trying to wrap up a lot of loose plot points. Tim is back at home, though now he’s got Jabba the Hutt after him, which is dangerous, as he can move at speeds up to 3mph. Hopefully Laribee will emerge back into the depths of hell from whence it came. The whole CoachDick’s wife with cancer thing was a bit odd and thrown in there, though. Sort of strange for a throwaway character, if that’s what he is. I was quite relieved to have a week off from Landry and Tyra, but also still utterly devastated by the absence of you-know-who. (Voldemort.) I also hope that recruitment season is over, as the Smash vs. Mama clashing is getting repetitive, and I’d like to throw Noelle down a flight of stairs. But Shelly is gone!! Pop the champagne!! *The Mexican hat dance plays as we high five each other and dance around in joy*