Happy Birthday to Me! Seriously, today is my birthday, and I can't imagine a better birthday present than my beloved show being back on regular television.
Things have been happening in Dillon. Tami Taylor is now the principal, there's a new hotshot freshman quarterback in Dillon vying for Saracen's spot, Smash is rehabilitating his busted knee, Tyra's college dreams are being dashed by her crappy new guidance counselor, and Julie wants an after school job. Now, am I forgetting anything? Hmmmm, anything? Oh, right, Lyla has traded Jesus in her heart for Tim Riggins in her pants!
Tami looks great in all her cute Hot for Principal fitted blazers and pencil skirts, but the job is a shitshow. There's barely any money for chalk, but Buddy Garrity is handing her personal checks to buy a Jumbotron for the football stadium and she's realizing that somehow her husband, the coach, has a new computer and air conditioning in his office while the rest of the teachers make do with sweating and abacus. It turns out that the new quarterback in town is there because his dad moved the whole family down from Dallas specifically so Coach Taylor could make his son great. Coach Taylor, it should not surprise you, does not take well to fancy Dallas talk about "greatness."
Smash, realizing his knee won't ever be the same after the injury, gives up on his football dreams, telling Coach that he needs to learn how to be Brian. Tyra tells the crappy guidance counselor to shove it, informing him that she's not going to give up on her college dreams.
And then, of course, there's the football. Not looking so good in pre-season, the Panthers bring it during their first game. Saracen and Riggins do so well that Coach decides to give the freshman phenom a few pity plays. So basically, Coach takes Saracen's heart out of his chest and stomps on it, because this new kid can throw a damn ball. Which Coach is none too pleased about, and he goes and finds Smash and sort of aggressively tells this kid -- who, it seems to me, is making a reasonable choice to give up on football -- that if Smash wants it, he won't stop until he gets him into college playing football again. Why, Smash asks. Coach tells him that it's because he "needs something good to happen" and my heart breaks because things aren't going so well for any of Coach's boys and I'm not sure if he's making it any better right now.
Check out our gallery of the best and worst plays this show has made. Come back next Thursday for the full detailed recap of this episode.
And we're back! So, I somehow remained completely innocent of what has been happening this season as the show has aired on DirecTV all fall. And it paid off. Because I did fall off the couch a few times during this episode.
We open with beautiful Texas landscape shots and Slammin' Sammy Meade's radio show mulling over Coach Taylor. A nice return to classic FNL form. People are calling in and, like always, complaining about Coach, and also filling us in on something that happened during the writer's strike that we never knew about: Smash injured his knee. Meanwhile, the Taylors are bickering, piling in the car, and on their way to school. Julie wants to take a different English class so she can leave school earlier to get to an after-school job. Tami doesn't like this plan. Coach tells Tami, "Principal Taylor, you look hot." Principal Taylor!!!
Early morning press conference at school. Reporters grill Coach on how the team imploded in the playoffs last year when Smash injured his knee. They wonder how the team will win anything this year now that Smash has graduated. Coach avers that the team is solid. Cut to jokey field montage of how jiggly the team really is. Then the reporters want to know if Tim Riggins is really focused this year. Cut to jokey montage of Tim Riggins drunk as hell in a variety of different locales, doing things like puking out the sliding glass door at the Playgirl Ranch. Reporters want to know how Riggins and Saracen are "gelling." Coach says they're like brothers; montage tells us that these two are no such thing. Final question to Coach is about the new freshman quarterback in town, J.D. McCoy. Coach informs them all that McCoy is just a freshman and that Saracen is still his guy, the boy can handle anything. Cut to Saracen muckle-mouthing about not being able to get a knot out of his shoelaces.
Matt, Landry, and Tyra walk to school; Landry and Tyra have either "broken up" (Tyra's explanation) or are "taking a break" (Landry's). Tyra has apparently gotten a really bad perm. They walk by McCoy practicing before school and Saracen gets depressed.
Pep rally. Buddy tells Coach over the roar of the crowd not to worry about "that two game rumor." Coach doubletakes. The roar dies down, Coach takes the microphone. He addresses the rapt crowd, "I just want to ask all of you one question." Perfectly timed pause. "You ready for Friday night?" Everyone goes nuts. The team walks in, and we're treated to the perfect dissonance of a crowd going wild, melancholy and weighty instrumental music over top, calling all that good cheer into question.