Friday Night Lights: “Keeping Up Appearances”

I was mocked tonight for tearing up near the end of this episode. I can’t help it, as I’ve got much love for Billy Riggins. Every time I see that dumb lug bust his ass to help out his ungrateful little brother, I get to thinking maybe there’s hope for humanity after all. I know he’s a fictional character, but he’s also very real. If someone like Billy – filled with contradictions, prone to screw up, abandoned and unloved by his parents – can find enough love to do what he does for Tim, maybe the rest of us have a chance. ((In the short-term, it means I won’t be working on my orbital death ray tonight. Long-term? Don’t cut me off in traffic and you might all survive.))

Taylor Kitsch, who’s grown so much as an actor he’s hardly recognizable as the same performer from season one, gives away his big secret with the smallest of looks: he has no interest in college. Billy’s efforts, Lyla’s efforts, Jason’s efforts are all or naught. Too long has he played the role of tragic loser. Now he doesn’t know how to break out of the cage he’s built himself.

On the house-flipping front, “two idiots and a couple of cripples” were able to put Buddy’s house back together better than before. ((Presumably bidet-less.)) And with uber-negotiator Jason “Six” Street on the job, they were able to sell it sans broker fees for a tidy sum. That boy could sell ice to Sarah Palin. Well, he could if he marked it up a lot and sold it at Neiman Marcus. But still.

Jason’s victory lap is playing out just like Smash’s. With hard work, some sacrifice, a few setbacks, and a little assist from Coach, Jason’s going to move out and up in the world. As a Dillon Panther, his life looks to remain tied to football, but it still informs him and fills his heart. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I just hope when he gets to New York, he isn’t given the brush off. I at least hope the Westerby super-agent points Jason in the direction of a good sports management or pre-law program.

On other fronts, we got a slight twist to the expected shooting down of Landry. Honestly? I didn’t see her going all Lindsay Lohan on him; ((Or actually being gay.)) I figured she’d just say she wasn’t interested in him “that way.” ((That hurts more, actually.)) Since you all know I’ve got a little crush on Tyra (and some weird ‘shipper thing with her and Landry) I was glad to see what our boy missed. Tyra’s fine with just being friends with Landry…as long as he’s still available to her. Hearing that he’d met someone, premature and incorrect as that was, was a little knife in her heart.

The relationship between JD and his father is showing further signs of cracking, in sharp contrast to Jamarcus and his father. While both relationships are strained, one is unhealthy and headed for a bad end. Jarmarcus’ father doesn’t want his son to play football, but he and his wife listened, remained openminded, and found a way to appreciate what their son could do, and what Coach could do for their son. Joe McCoy has no appreciation for his son, for Coach, or for anyone but himself. His sad attempts at living through JD will frustrate him more and more as JD becomes more and more his own young man.

One story went unmentioned this week: Matt and Julie. On Twitter, Dan Fienberg expressed surprise that there was no followup on that. Personally, I think that’s the way it should be. In the same way the young lovers consummated their passion off-screen, just like real life, the consequences of it were personal and minimal, just like real life. I don’t need to see the continuing aftermath of an event that happens every day. It’s not unusual for teenagers to have sex or lose their virginity. Happens all the time. We’ve just been programmed by Afterschool Specials and Very Special Episodes to believe there are always consequences. I’ll be thrilled if there are none.

Other thoughts:

  • I was ecstatic to hear Devin, and later Crucifictorious, sing “She Don’t Use Jelly”. I’m a big fan of The Flaming Lips and think that’s about the perfect, weird song for those kids. And then I wondered if the Norman, OK-based band was chosen because of Tim’s recruitment letter from OU.
  • I liked Devin’s mockery of benchwarmer Landry. Put their friendship on solid ground.
  • So, Jason’s got FCP on his computer? Or did he use Adobe Premiere? I’m confused. Unless I’m seriously underestimating the power of consumer-level video editing software, there’s no way he got those highlights looking that good without access to something a bit pricier.
  • Just how cheap *was* Buddy’s house? Or did the boys put very little actual money into their renovations? It looked to me like Jason bought several hundred dollars worth of lumber last week, and that would have required sheetrock, probably some plumbing work, electrical. Not only don’t I think that group of misfits could do the work, I don’t think they could have afforded the materials.
  • Uh, placecards for a dinner party of four people? Who else thinks Joe doesn’t just scream at JD in the privacy of his home?
  • Tami…how I love thee. Did you see how sweetly she put Coach up on that pedestal at Jamarcus’ house? I’d open her door, too.
  • I feel bad for Coach right now, though. If he weren’t dealing with such a fragile ego, he could have pulled JD out and let Matt finish off the game, or at least finish the first half. But he’s rolled his dice; there’s no way he can bench JD now. He’s got to ride him to state and hope he doesn’t shatter from the pressure.

What did everyone else think?