‘Friday Night Lights’: Finally, a Good-Looking High-School Quarterback Gets Some Action

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

At long last, it is raining babes for Matt Saracen, also known as “QB1,” which is Texan for “starting quarterback.” Julie is dragging her broken heart around, wondering why she ever pushed him away ('cause he’s dull and predictable, that’s why, Julie). The two of them are destined to get back on the love train, though — the straight-arrow QB1 and hot but sweet daughter of the coach are too perfect a match. In the meantime, Matt is smooching away in the hallway with the new cheerleader girl, who is going to prove much too calculating for him. Which leaves Carlotta, the Latina nurse who’s taking care of Matt’s loopy grandma. She’s also hot and sweet and was kind enough to teach him how to dance. They subsequently enjoyed a meeting of the mouths after he successfully strutted his stuff at a football-team rally.

Julie’s not only sobbing — she's also discovered journalism and started looking into (can you believe it?) the dominance of the football team in athletic-department funding. Naturally, Dad the football coach is not exactly beaming with pride. Why can’t she be a cheerleader like all the other cute girls in school? More ominously, the student newspaper’s faculty adviser is a completely skeezy new teacher, who is too old for Julie but probably too young to know better. Don’t stand so close to him, Julie! How long can it be before Mr. Fledgling Schoolteacher is getting a major knuckle sandwich from Tami or Coach? Or possibly they’ll tag-team him, while Julie screams for them to stop.

There was even less football than usual this week — no game and just a bit of practice. This may be improving the show’s appeal to women, but it does make the show more generic. Football function as a very useful kind of punctuation, and when there’s almost none of it, the show starts to slide toward The O.C. territory.

Not that it ever gets too close. Smash had his first significant story line of the year, as college recruiters started buzzing around him. His mom was horrified when Smash rebuffed a representative of a black college, and Coach Taylor was none too pleased to find his star running back out to dinner with a recruiter. Coach then delivered quite a fine mini-speech to Smash about how he wouldn’t smother him but was there to help sort things out, if he was needed. As good as the kids are in this show, it’s the adults like Coach, as well as Tami and Smash’s mom who delivered a first-rate performance this week, who make sure that Friday Night Lights, in the end, keeps a good, safe distance from all the dumb-ass teen dramas. Though they’re hardly infallible, parents matter in this show.

Speaking of parents, Buddy is rediscovering fatherhood as Santiago, the ex-juvie kid on track to be Dillon’s next football hero, moved in with him because, it turns out, his parents were deported and his uncle has gone missing. Tami went over to inspect Buddy’s bachelor apartment — not enough veggies in the fridge, dude! — and Coach Taylor made Santiago’s bed, which he said would be the last time he’d ever do that for him.

Landry basically took the week off, only appearing long enough to confide in Tyra that he and his dad burned up the car. We learned from the previews that he’s going to crack under the strain and confess to killing her stalker. Sure, this probably means implicating his dad, but at least it'll reignite his romance with Tyra — she'll have to stand by her man. —Hugo Lindgren