Friday Night Lights: A Sort of Homecoming

Posted by sara November 19th, 2009 at 09:00am In Friday Night Lights Friends of the Faux General Glee The Gays

Last week on Friday Night Lights, Tim became an assistant coach for the East Dillon Lions, while Coach struggled to scrape together funds for his scruffy team. Matt learned that art is about being a miserable, unbathed recluse, which understandably freaked Julie out. Buddy Garrity went off the reservation re: the Panthers under the odious thumb of Revoltin’ Joe McCoy. Vince, Landry, and Luke continued to flail about on the ragtag Lions team. And now, on to episode four, Dillon: A New Hope.

We've got spirit, yes we do! And barbecue!

We've got spirit, yes we do! And barbecue!

The episode opens with Tami driving to work and listening to Slammin’ Sammy Meade. She’s clearly a masochist. The Panther faithful are bitching about Tami’s outing of Luke’s Mailbox of Destiny, which, honestly, go to hell, you moaners. Coach, over at East Dillon, is encountering a fairly hostile teachers’ lounge, where Principal Levi is still pretty down on the football team. Later, Coach refers to having to grade papers, which tells me he’s also teaching something. I was kind of wondering, as I wouldn’t think East Dillon could afford to employ a football coach who wasn’t also teaching a class or five. None of the high schools in the fairly affluent county where I grew up had football coaches who weren’t also teachers or athletic directors. (Remember back in season 2? Coach was both.)

Julie and Matt are discussing colleges, and it appears she’s not applying anywhere in Texas, except UT-Austin. I think she’s underestimating how attractive spending her senior year at East Dillon High is going to look to Amherst, NYU, Berkeley, UCSB, Mount Holyoke, and all the other not-real-America schools she rattled off.

Coach, at practice, is still having trouble keeping various members of his team from killing each other. Namely, Vince and Luke, who is probably still sore about that missed block last Friday night. (Literally.) After bawling the boys out for the eight thousandth time, Coach notices a faded and weather-beaten sign that proclaims the East Dillon Lions were state champions in 1983. “Hmmm,” Coach’s hair muses. Back in the locker room, Luke’s wallet is missing, so he immediately turns to Vince. Which you could defend, given their previous record of animosity, but it also has some ugly racial undertones.

At Casa Riggins, Tim walks in with hunting rifles in each hand, which makes Mindy start screeching about her ultrasound and how Billy has to drive her places and now I’m getting this image of Mindy as Mrs. Schue over on Glee. (Who played Tami’s sister on FNL last season. The world, it is a circle.) Billy, who’s already trying to be a better father than the one he had in the thirty seconds of air time he gets every week, knuckles under and bails on his and Tim’s hunting trip. So Tim hunkers on over to Panther Pizza and enlists Matt Saracen as his duck-blind buddy, and we all have a good chuckle about the idea of Matt holding a gun. Come on. It’s Matt.

On the set of Whip It, National Anthem–singing Becky is wowing some preliminary Miss Middle of Nowhere Oil Fields judges. Apparently she aces the mealy-mouthed interview portion of the pageant, which sends her mom, Alicia Witt, into paroxysms of joy. Alicia Witt declaims that they will go pageant-dress shopping and have lunch and get their nails done and it will be awesome. And then Alicia Witt bails, which makes Becky bug out as if that’s never happened before. And sends her to bang on Tim Riggins’s Airstream door again. Tim, who cannot resist a woman in distress, takes her dress shopping. Which…I do not know how to deal with my feelings about this.

“My mother never took me shopping for a pageant gown,” Tim tells Becky after she sinks into a morass of I’ll-never-find-a-perfect-dress gloom. (Man, how the issues the teenagers are dealing with on this show have changed. Jason Street had to learn how to reuse his wang, spoiled pageant princess.) “And because of that, I never placed in Miss Texas. So I got into football. That’s a fact.” The way he delivers those couple lines is just heartbreakingly adorable, and there’s nothing lecherous about it. I am hoping and praying the writers don’t take this Tim-Becky thing in an icky direction.

Tami has a meeting with some officious prick who denies her the funding for a new library (or just books for the library? I’m not sure) because of her Heretical Football-Related Activities. I’m not sure if he’s a comptroller or on the school board or something, but all this pushback she’s getting is now affecting the quality of education Dillon High can provide, and you’d think there’d be someone not completely addled by football in the entire, like, school district for Tami to appeal to. It’s making me angry.

Coach and his Tourettes-y assistant coach, who I think is named Stan, are cold-calling members of the 1983 state championship team to try and rustle up some booster support. Tami agrees to have the fellows over for dinner and shmoozing. Ah, the Taylors, trying to be horrible superficial fundraising people. That’s why we had Katie McCoy and Buddy Garrity! (I have a cousin named Katie McCoy. I just realized that was the character’s name. Where the hell is Janine Turner, anyway?)

Julie and Matt are arguing over his hunting trip with Tim and her planned outing to Dillon’s Only Gay Bar with Devin. Because Julie is a wee vegetarian liberal babykilling kisser of girls in the making, and Matt just wants to shoot something. If I were Matt I’d need to shoot something, too.

At school, Jess hits up Landry for a ride to a party over in Kilroy, because he has a car. Landry decides to air out his newly acquired backbone, telling her that he’s had pretty ladies take advantage of him before, and he is not that kind of pushover anymore. Jess gets on his good side by mentioning that he’s invited, too. Oh. Well, that’s okay then. Baby steps, Landry. When Landry picks up Jess and her entourage, they all proclaim their disdain for Crucifictorious. Single tear for Landry. But only one, because he’s in a car full of chicks, and at the party, Jess blows off Vince and his bug-eyed friend for Landry. He is so going to set a car on fire for this girl.

So, do you do a dry rub, or vinegar?

So, do you do a dry rub, or vinegar?

Coach is still on his mission of rustling up support for the Lions, so first he appeals to Buddy, trying to get our poor excommunicated friend to move on up to the east side. Buddy tells him you can’t fake boosterism, but I bet with a little whiskey you could try. Coach moves on to Jess’s dad, Virgil, who it turns out was the quarterback of the aforementioned state championship team, as well as the proprietor of Ray’s Bar-B-Q. Virgil refuses to engage on the subject of football or of holding the pep rally at Ray’s, but he does succeed in making me crave some brisket.

Oh, goddamn, I did not miss J.D. Fucking McCoy. The little shit has a giant Escalade douchebag-mobile, which makes me hate his father even more. I wonder if they sold Janine Turner for the Escalade. J.D. is driving around Luke and some other Panthers when they see Vince and a few others, and Luke, still wallet-less, wants to be starting something. They fight. The cops were apparently just on the other side of a tree, so when they come to break it up, chickenshit J.D. and his clown car full of weenies abandon Luke to the tender mercies of Dillon P.D.

At dinner with the East Dillon alums, Deacon, which is either his name or his ordainment or both, tells Coach that he doesn’t take too kindly to outsiders coming in and telling the people of East Dillon how to fix their crime and their education and their problems. Deacon expositions that in the ’80s, West Dillon got developed, got a mall and a hotel, and East Dillon was left behind to fester. Which contradicts the impression we got in season 1 of Dillon as a town that was all but abandoned when the oil ran dry. But before we can worry too much about continuity, Buddy shows up! As Friend of the ‘Faux Jeremy would say, Instant party!

Dillon’s Only Gay Bar. Julie is pouring out her man problems to Devin, which mainly consist of “Matt and I are growing up and drifting apart WHY CRUEL WORLD IS MY HAIR SO PRETTY,” rather than being a proper winglady for Devin. But Devin doesn’t seem to need the help; she’s making eyes at a Kristen Stewart–looking girl across the bar. Also across the bar, playing pool: HOLY SHIT IT’S TOURETTES-Y COACH STAN. Julie locks eyes with him and Stan decides he’ll turn into a pumpkin if he doesn’t get back in his closet by 10 p.m. and hauls ass.

Coach has to go spring Vince and Luke from the pokey. Since Luke doesn’t have a record, he’s free to go, but the cops tell Coach that it’s juvie for Vince. Coach begs for a second chance, but it appears that Vince might just be on chance #47 or something. So in the cell, in a scene eerily reminiscent of the time Matt, Julie, and Landry all got pinched at the Landing Strip, Coach tells Luke he’s going to take 100% of the blame. In the car, Coach gives them one of those clenched-jaw speeches and then boots them out onto the side of the road in the middle of the night. Because walking like seven miles home builds character the Eric Taylor way. Hey, it got Tim Riggins laid that one time.

Speaking of that one time, out in the woods somewhere, Tim and Matt are blundering about. It’s screamingly obvious Matt hasn’t been hunting since his dad took him trap shooting when he was seven, because he’s jumping at his shadow and shooting mice and things. It’s a miracle he doesn’t shoot Tim all Cheney-style, especially since neither of them is wearing that don’t-shoot-me orange and, as Tim reminded us, it’s hunting season. Later, around a cozy campfire, they discuss their stuck-in-neutral lives and Tim confesses that he misses Lyla. Well, she certainly provided more opportunities for Tim to take his clothes off, so I guess on some level I miss her too. But I hear she’s doing fine. Her boyfriend just won the World Series.

Jess is herding her mob of little brothers to the school bus, and I swear to Bill Cosby one of them is named Theo, which is great. Virgil hands them their lunches, and never have I coveted a brown bag more. I bet there is some mean pulled pork and coleslaw in those buggers. Jess expositions that her brothers love football and so does she, so why has her dad completely cut it out of his life? She wheedles him about having the pep rally at Ray’s, and he just brusquely shoos her off to the bus.

But then he caves! Because now there’s a pep rally with a band and a dance team and brisket and all that. Yes, this lousy football program merits a dance team. Landry is drooling over Jess’s hot ass into his brisket. Dude, her dad is right there. Coach introduces the members of the 1983 championship team, which is pretty awesome. Julie tries to talk to Coach Stan about how she won’t tell anyone that he caught The Gay, but he plays dumb, like he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Deacon blesses the pep rally: “We ask you, Lord, what is a group of lions? It is a pride. And we stand before You today, Lord, Your pride. We need pride in this world. And what do we have here? I said, what do we have here?” The crowd roars, “Pride!” Deacon finishes, “We are the Lions, and we stand together.” Somewhere, Matthew McConaughey feels his ears itching and immediately takes his shirt off. The 1983 team holds the championship trophy aloft while the crowd call-and-responses “Who are we?” “Lions!” It’s not quite “Clear eyes, full hearts,” but it’ll do for now.

Landry is helping Jess clean up. Earlier, they had kind of an uncomfortable discussion after Vince confronted Landry to ask if he was Jess’s boyfriend. And Landry’s all, no. Jess, am I your boyfriend? And she’s all, no. Glad we have that straightened out. At Ray’s, Landry just lays one on her, and it’s a lovely, normal little detail that she’s still wearing her plastic food-prep gloves. They make out a little and then decide they are totally not boyfriend and girlfriend. Landry leaves with a bit of swagger. It’s so great that Tyra took the trouble to make a man out of him.

Matt’s mom is back! Oh, that’s good. I was worried he’d set a bowl of food out for Grandma and left the sink tap running, like my parents do to entertain the cats sometimes. There’s a knock at the door, but it’s not Matt coming home from hunting. It’s a military casualty notification unit. Matt’s father has been killed. Tim drops Matt off at the Taylors’, where a stricken Julie has to tell this boy who’s barely a man that his father is dead. And I want to cry and scream at the writers to just take it easy on poor goddamn Matt Saracen, because the utter, blank grief on Zach Gilford‘s face is killing me.

See you next week, sports fans. Maybe I’ll have stopped sobbing by then.


  • 1. Marie  |  November 19th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Wow! What an epi. I feel horrible for Matt. I almost cried when I saw previous of next week. Glad Jess blew off Vince-he’s kinda cocky and his side-kick Calvin is starting to rub me the wrong way! Can’t wait till next epi!

  • 2. Juan  |  November 20th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Dude, she did look like Kristen Stewart. HAWT. glad to hear they’re bringing her on as a principle character to be Devin’s girlfriend. What a fantasy- lesbians and football!

  • 3. Keeper  |  November 21st, 2009 at 8:32 am

    what song was playing when the military ppl show up at seracen’s grandma’s?


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