Friday Night Lights: “How The Other Half Lives”

by | February 2, 2009 at 6:39 AM | Friday Night Lights

At practice, Eric assures Matt he’s QB1.  JD’s parents hire a private coach, Wade, for him.  His Dad, Joe, lobbies Eric, saying that JD’s trained in the spread offense they might use for this tough game. Tami grumbles about getting stuck throwing a huge party for the team at their house.  She runs into JD’s Mom Katie at the grocery store.  She shares Tami’s interest in improving the school, offering to host the barbecue.  Eric is peeved that “his” barbecue is happening at someone else’s house. He worries they’ll be indebted to the McCoys.  Matt underperforms at practice.

Tim and Billy argue about how broke they are.  Lila makes Tim study, planning their future at nearby colleges.  Lila cracks up when Mindy earnestly shares her planned wedding vows, a quote from Finding Nemo.  Ha! The Collettes think she’s a snob. Mama Collette makes biting remarks.  This is such a subtle, layered scene given that she had an affair with Buddy which led to Lila’s parents divorce.  Billy tells Tim he plans to steal copper wire from an abandoned power plant. Tim offers him good advice about evading the cops. He wants Tim to help.  Tim refuses, saying he has to go to the team barbecue the night of the robbery, but we all know he never refuses Billy.

Smash prepares for his try out.  He learns his mother is taking a second job to pay for his college education. I guess if he makes the team as a walk on he won’t get a scholarship, though I’d hope he’d qualify for financial aid.  An Alamo freeze exec offers him a regional manager position that includes a big raise and a car.  He tells his Mom he’s going to take his job instead of the walk-on so he can help the family.  He heartbreakingly tells her he did everything right and it’s still not enough.  She awesomely tells him he’s going to the tryout and that it’s her job to help him.  It’s nice to see teenagers on TV who care about their family and worry about money.

The McCoys live in a McMansion that’s about ten times fancier than any other house we’ve seen in Dillon.   Matt jokes to Julie that his house is bigger, growing more insecure by the second.  They find a giant tophy room full of JD’s awards.  JD overhears them mocking it.  His joke that his parents bronzed his diaper doesn’t land.  It’s a nice scene because you feel terrible for both guys.  Eric tells the boosters he doesn’t want to run the spread.  He doesn’t know JD’s skills as well as he knows Matt.  Joe suggets this is the perfect time for him to get to know JD.  I like that after being a surrogate father to boys with screwed up family’s, Eric has trouble getting along with the one supportive, if overbearing, father.

Buddy brings Lila since Tim is “doing something with his brother.” Uh-oh.  Buddy is still on the anti-Tim train.  Lila ironically insists he isn’t who Buddy thinks he is as he and Billy load the wire into the truck.  Billy persuades him to get three more difficult bales of wire, saying this is his only chance at a decent life.  Tim never makes it to the barbecue.  When he apologizes Lila begs him not to make a fool out of her.  Billy hides the wire under cement at the bottom of a swimming pool.  It makes a huge lump.  This may be the most hilariously pathetic crime in television history.

At the game, the Panthers are down three on the final play. Matt loses grip on the ball as he dives onto the goal line. The Panthers lose.  Matt is crushed.  Julie sweetly waits for him after the game.  The Taylors come home to find For Sale signs on their lawn — for losing a close game to a tough opponent due to a freak glitch.  If I didn’t have friends from Texas who assured me that people really take high school football this seriously there I wouldn’t believe it.