Smash arrives at The University of College at Partytown and gets taken around the weight room. Smash is acting like the eager little date rapist the football players were all hoping to recruit. The boys stroke one another's egos (egos I said!) until a huge dude gets off his machine and tells them all to shut up and let him work out. Smash apologizes and tries to shake his hand, but the guy refuses. The other guys excuse him saying it's just Latrell. Smash asks, under his breath, "Latrell Kennedy?" When they confirm, Smash charms them by editorializing with a knowing nod, "Big, dumb, and ugly."
Tim feeds a man's ferrets, which seems as urgent a description of America's lost rural youth as any. The man appears in the doorway, a hulking figure wearing nothing but tightie-whities, and I am immediately launched onto the internet by the sheer force of this actor's terrible charisma. Turns out Ferret Guy is played by Dallas actor and comedian Joey Ogelsby, who caused a stir last January by creating a character named Donnie Davies, an "ex-gay" pastor who had his fifteen-minutes of fame with the "is this for real?" spot-on evangelical tone-deafness of his song "God Hates Fags." So here he is, in his tightie-whities telling Tim Riggins that he has an old soul, a conclusion he's come to because his ferrets have never let anyone else feed them by hand. He shimmies his heft through the cramped apartment to go fix Tim a smoothie and listen to the younger boy's woes. Deadpan, Ferret Guy grabs a bottle of whisky and pours a good measure in with the mixed berries. Meanwhile, Tim tells his odd new friend how much he misses football, all the adrenaline. Ferret Guy tells Tim that he hasn't lived enough yet, that there's a lot more to life than football. For example, whisky-spiked smoothies (and I am not being sarcastic in my underscoring of such experiences). Ferret Guy declares that they are going hunting tomorrow. "You need to kill yourself some dinner, dude."
School (where Tim is apparently not). Noah runs into Julie in the hallway. She is breathless, no doubt because it's like a creative writing workshop in her pants, returning the book Noah lent her, The World According to Garp. Which, thankfully, I've never read. John Irving is like the Pottery Barn of American literature. ["I have read it, and 'like a creative writing workshop in your pants' is actually a pretty good description of it." -- Joe R] Julie wonders aloud whether Irving is a genius or what; she doesn't know how anyone can write that well. Noah is like a middling cultural capital's own personal Amazon.com when he replies that if Julie liked this book, she'll "love A Prayer for Owen Meany," and then -- then! -- Julie returns the José Gonzalez CD that he lent her. It's a regular Borders employee lunch break up in there! Meanwhile, Tami watches all this go down from a distance. I need to pause before we get into Tami's meltdown to note how pitch-perfect this English teacher plot is. I don't think another show would be as direct in addressing the undeniable libidinal energy in this particular relationship, the intellectual crush, which to turn into anything useful for the kid I think has to be at least a bit sexual in nature. When else in your life will you get so turned on by John Irving? Hope to God never, but also hope to God at least a little when you are sixteen. And the crush is never really about the literature, or even about the person that opens your eyes but instead about your imagination of a different way of living. When you grow up, you realize that that English teacher was a sad man with sad desires who always ate his dinner alone in front of the TV. But for a little while, you imagine him going home, dropping the needle on a Miles Davis record, pouring a glass of wine and sitting down to read a novel. That's a powerful imagined world for any kid; it's a world I imagine for myself and fail to live up to every day still.