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I often see the excuse that teenagers do stupid things because they are teenagers . I am coming to love this show because it is taking these typical high school melodrama storylines (cheating, drugs, alcohol, popularity) and establish the very real pressures on each of each of them. While the show isn’t endorsing these choices, it makes it possible to empathize with the characters. I can still like the characters while being upset about the choices they make because they feel like real people instead of stereotypes. I would normally not be terribly sympathetic to a character that takes steroids, but because the show has done such a good job of establishing why Smash has come to the choice I am able to understand his decision even if I don’t think it’s a good one. And until this episode I wasn’t a fan of either Billy or Tim Riggins and this episode made me cry because of their relationship. And I went from being super angry about the way that Tim was betraying Jason with Lyla to being emotionally destroyed for both Tim and Jason when Jason punches him in the face . I currently love all of these characters (except for Buddy Garrity) and don’t want to stop watching! But I also have never taken the time to really think about a show episode by episode and I think it gives me a chance to better appreciate the show.
- Wait, Matt has another friend? I thought his only friend was Landry?
- What? Tatum I understood you a little, but then you were an asshole
- Ahahahahaha, this is so typical for a school board meeting, decisions are always made later so they can be put off until the next meeting.
- People still care too much about football.
- Oh, Tyra and Tami these are my favorite two characters. Wait, algebra for a semester? And what grade is she in? I am so confused. Matt was taking pre-calc as a sophomore and Tyra does not seem like a freshman. The actors all look so much older than the age they are supposed to playing so I am constantly wondering what grade they are supposed to be in. I know this is pretty typical, but now that I actually work with high school students it’s super noticeable.
- Thank god that the show has indicated that Lyla is good at math, because the combination of pretty girl and bad at math is awful. The stigma towards girls being bad at math is still pretty prevalent, so I hate that combination coming from a guidance counselor.
- Tyra, I get the point, but why wouldn’t you want to be Tami? She’s pretty awesome.
- It’s nice to see Jason so happy. We didn’t even see that much in the first episode.
- I like Lyla being so honest with Tim. I like her a lot more than I did at the beginning.
- Oh, Tyra, you visiting Tim is not going to end well. (I don’t really understand her role in the episode. Maybe this will be more important later?)
- AUGH, Buddy Garrity you are the worst person ever. You did something awful, and now you want to lie about it?
- Jason finally tells Tim how he feels. Tim you totally deserved this, now be a good friend.
- Seriously, this is how we are going to start to talk about race on this show? The first clear instance of racism and the person of color is lying. Oh, and they also have have a temper problem and an arrest record.
- And the Straight-A student wouldn’t say racist things? I really like Tami, but that is some bullshit right there. This reminds me of when I was in high school and a “nice, straight-A” student wrote an article about how the “good kids” should be allowed privileges that other students weren’t and that you could always tell who the good kids were. She was allowed to publish this crap in the school newspaper and used my name in the article. This ended up being the first instance of me actually shaking with rage.
- High school coaches DO actually do this shit a lot. Even in areas with less of an influence than football. We have a continuing problem that runners are frequently recruited to another city high school with varying excuses. That team has been state champions or runners up for most of the last 20 years or so in both cross country and track because of these athletes. There are NCAA rules and district rules to stop this, but as long as the better team is recruiting it’s ignored.
- This is so local politics. Even in a bigger city, it really is about who you know, not about actually following the rules. If you know the right people, it doesn’t matter how many rules you break.
-How is nobody from the rehab center noticing Jason leaving? They aren’t exactly subtle.
- I love that Lyla and Tim are working together to make sure Jason has a good day, but now I am dreading the horrible new thing that will happen later. They are being happy, that can't last for long.
- I’m really glad that Matt ended up going with his conscience and not defending his teammate over what he knew was wrong. Team loyalty can be a powerful thing, with Penn State and Steubenville being recent examples. And it’s not restricted to sports as rape is incredibly high in the US armed forces.
- Seriously, they couldn’t have tackled this particular storyline without the racism?
-Ugh, Buddy Garrity go away. Two losses do not end a season and this is your own fault. Fuck you, Buddy Garrity.
- Are Lyla and Tim finally done? I will be so very happy. Don’t do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let go and move on. NONONONONONONO!
- Well, shit. I KNEW SOMETHING BAD WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!
So this episode gave me so many feelings about the characters. It is now getting hard to stop watching before Netflix autoplays the next episode.
Lyla - Lyla has never thought about what she wants for herself. It was obvious before that her plans for her life revolved around Jason, but in this episode it becomes clear just how much. She had no dreams and plans for herself. So when Jason was hurt she lost her entire identity, which is why she tried to hold on so tight to the idea that Jason would miraculously recover. And now, she is finally doing things for herself - including making what she knows is a bad decision about Tim Riggins. And although I still know that this is a terrible decision because she is going to end up hurting Jason, I am somewhat glad that she does actually decide to something for herself and hope that in the future she ends up being able to make goals based on her own desires without causing someone else pain.
Tim - I still have no idea to think about him. While he still obviously still cares about Jason, he only went to see Jason because the team went. I want him to step up and be a good friend and it is painful to watch him make decisions that he knows will end up hurting someone he cares about.
Tatum - I was not expecting to empathize with his character so much. He is consistently awful to the coach and depends only on himself, refusing to be part of the team. But why should he? He is completely honest with Coach, he has no reason to care about this team. Katrina destroyed what he had and everyone is treating this like it’s a great opportunity for him to come and play, as if they are doing him a favor. But he knows that he is actually not welcomed by the team and that his role is simply to win them games. The team is not looking to include him, and he knows that he was forced in against most of their wishes. His behavior is a reflection of that.
Matt - Yay! Something good happened to Matt. He stepped up and was an awesome leader for his team. This is why even though I hate a lot of the culture surrounding sports, I still love them. I am high school coach and the best part about coaching is when your athlete realizes how capable they are. That moment between Coach and Matt before he goes onto to win the game is worth more than the actual win. Here’s hoping that win isn’t stripped away.
Tyra - I am very glad to see more of Tyra. I think she might currently be my favorite. I like that she speaks her mind and tries to be honest. Unfortunately, it was easy to predict the result of her going to hotel room. I think she knew going in what would probably happen even if she still allowed herself a little hope otherwise. Watching her lie about having a boyfriend to save face is heartbreaking because it the opposite of what we have seen from her so far.
- I love the mayor, every episode she has one amazing line.
- Oh look, more people are taking football too seriously.
- Jason is not doing as well after moving out of the hospital. I know that he was sick of false hope, particularly from Lyla, but a physical therapist telling you that gaining back use of your arms is different from Lyla looking up miracle stories.
- This whole “prank” war is going to end so badly.
- AUGH! Buddy Garrity you are the worst.
- Seriously coach, you are just going to let your wife handle this party alone? And just the team? Ahahaha the team is huge! Poor Tami is super underprepared for this type of thing,
- Poor Matt, I just want something nice to happen to you. I do wonder how aware his father was before this incident. I know that there isn’t much Matt’s father can do at the moment, but he does need a little more support. In this small town why don’t the Saracens have more people helping them out? Having never lived in a small town I don’t know what the expectation is here.
- I still really like Tyra. I would like to see more of her.
- Holy shit! Someone just threw a rock through the window! Did they know there was a party? And this is still over a football game! And now they are definitely going to retaliate. Which is a BAD PLAN.
- I love you, Tami. Totally calling out Coach on his bullshit. And then when he actually realizes what she’s been doing and actually apologizes, she forgives him. And then they are adorable.
- Tim snuck into Lyla’s room. Gross. Don’t be like Edward Cullen, Tim, that is a poor life choice. And you made it worse! You won’t even go see your best friend in the hospital, but you will make out with his girlfriend. I know you are dealing with your own problems but you are being a shitty friend.
This week has been exhausting, so I just wrote down my thoughts while watching.
- So they’re picking up exactly where they left off? I wonder if this is going to be standard.
- NOOOOOOOO! Matt was so close! I may be more invested in the football part of the show than I realized.
- Jason Street must have been an awesome captain. He honestly wants Matt to succeed because his team is more important than just his own role. No wonder the team is having a hard time without him.
- Good job Lyla, I like that she is trying to get Riggins to visit Jason, even though she is having a hard time coping on her own. But at the same time, OMG, Lyla STOP! You need to stop pretending that everything can be fixed.
- Why are you so horrible to Coach’s daughter, random person? This is one game! Right? I didn’t miss something? Is losing one game a good enough reason to be an asshole?
- AUGH! Smash! Stop undermining your coach and your quarterback! This only divides your team. You may have a point, but this is not helping.
- Don’t you dare get a new quarterback! Matt has had two games! He has skills, obviously, give him more than one full game dammit! It was’t even his fault that they lost, it was that the team couldn’t get their shit together. How will a new quarterback even resolve that issue?
- What? The last guidance counselor killed herself? I feel bad but the delivery of that line was hilarious.
- Tim Riggins, you are so mean. What do you care about? (Apparently, Jason.)
- I like Tyra, she is honest and straightforward. She was also the one who yelled at the girl crying about Jason in the last episode right?
- No, don’t drop PreCalculus Matt! Math is fun! Also, what grade is Matt in? I have no idea. In fact, I don’t think I picked up on the actual grades of anyone in high school. Did I miss it or have they not said?
- This is why Coach Taylor did not want Tami to work at the same school - potential conflict of interest. She probably has some reservations about letting him drop the course, but is not saying anything. I do think that Tami is showing that she is going to be an awesome counselor so far.
- Ah! So gross, using a horrible event to pretend to be sympathetic so you can recruit a good player. OMG, you don’t even come off as actually having emotions. I would love for this family to get help but this is so creepy because it’s to get a football player after a one game loss.
- I think Coach Taylor could seriously benefit from listening to his wife, but his control of the situation is so far gone that he feels he can’t do that.
- Smash!!!! Stop! It’s not just the coach you are affecting. Stop destroying your own team.
- The actual wind sprints - Torn between they totally needed the chance to bond as a team again and how the hell is Coach Taylor not fired for this.
- FINALLY! Jason has reached the end of his rope and Lyla has to face reality. I’m glad Jason said something even if what he said was a little harsh.
- Oh, Lyla. You needed to realize that you can’t just continue to think nothing will change, but I’m so sorry.
I'm not at the point where I can't stop watching, but I am definitely enjoying this show.
In terms of reciprocation via sexual favors, do you mean that the girls are getting sexual favors for supporting the boys on the team? Or that part of the services the rally girls would provide are sexual favors? The whole dynamics of the rally girl/football player are completely new to me here, but the amount of slutshaming that still regularly goes on at the high school level (at least where I work) suggests to me that the benefit to the girl would be somewhat mitigated by the social politics of high school. (Although that's not to say that these girls should be ashamed, but that in a small community this might be an important consideration.)
So based on the first couple of episodes, Friday Night Lights seems to be about identity in large part to.
Jason - So many athletes define themselves so completely by their sport that when they are injured or hit a setback it just becomes soul crushing. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone like Jason to have been playing football for his entire life to have this taken away. The one thing that is made explicitly clear in the pilot is that Jason Street is the best football player in the country. So now, not only the future he planned for himself gone, but that defining feature that made him “Jason Street” in the eyes of the town is gone as well. And yet, it appears that Jason is the only one that is prepared to move on. His demand to know the truth about his situation without false hope is in stark contrast with how the rest of the town reacts, in particular Lyla who looks up stories of miraculous recoveries and continues to speak as if this is a minor setback that will not affect their planned future. The identity of the entire town is rooted in football and Jason was the cornerstone. Taking that away is not going to just affect Jason, but if they lose their championship team it affects all of these people because of how much of their own sense of community revolves around football.
Matt - In contrast, nobody has ever seemed to pay attention to Matt Saracen. Seriously, he was the second string quarterback and he wasn’t prepared to play. (Question: Are the second string players in football just players normally on the JV team or are there multiple players in each position on the varsity team?) So when he says to the reporter, “Who am I?” it’s a question full of potential. Being in the spotlight will bring incredible pressure, but also allows for the chance for him to define himself within the community rather than being the outsider he was before. While in the pilot episode we only see him regularly interact with his grandmother and his friend Landry. His grandmother specifically says something along the lines of, “You need a better friend.” She seems well aware that this is his only friend, but now he has other people paying attention to him.
Coach Taylor - He earned his position as coach through his work with Jason now has to redefine his relationship with the quarterback. The rapport he had with Jason and his understanding of how to get the best performance from his athlete is gone. A large part of successful coaching is not just knowing the sport, but also being able to figure out what methods work for getting the best performance out of their athletes. Matt’s difficulty at the beginning of the episode is both a product of his inexperience and the inability for Coach Taylor and him to effectively communicate. When the coach shows up at his house later it’s their chance to start fresh. It’s not going to make Matt Saracen the best quarterback ever immediately, but it’s the beginning of a relationship that could make both of them better.
I had never heard of a Rally Girl before. The idea that not only are there cheerleaders, but girls who specifically bake for the football team solely because they are football players is rage inducing. I fully approve of supporting athletic teams, but to put young women in the role of supporting these young men with no reciprocation infuriates me.
The scene where Coach Taylor visited Jason in the hospital and Jason apologized for disappointing him broke me. We are on the second episode and I am already emotionally devastated.
I’m not completely in love with this show yet, but I am liking it much more than I expected. I think I will enjoy the football games and the coaching aspect of the show although I think I am going to be regularly angered by the culture surrounding football. If the show continues to examine the characters in the same way it has in this second episode, I will continue to be on board. Great characters are worth far more to me that great plot. I can forgive plot if I love the characters enough.
I do think that most high school coaches are generally teachers at or near schools. I don't know how prevalent it is for a coaching position to be a completely full time job. Most of the coaching jobs go to teachers because they "get out of work" at the same time as students. However, there are still probably four paid football coaching positions compared to one or two for all other sports.