‘Friday Night Lights’: Has Everyone Forsaken Small-Town Values?

Friday Night Lights

Bad Ideas
Season 2 Episode 2
The gloves are off (metaphorically speaking).

Okay, so after overblown season debut — in which Landry kills the stalker who tried to rape Tyra last season — it was time to restore peace to Dillon in episode two. As peaceful as things ever get anyway. The seeds are now in the ground for a season’s worth of blowups, heartaches, and wounds that can only be mended by winning football games. First of all, Landry and Tyra, in the afterglow of his heroism, got it on, a budding romance that, like all teenage romances, is surely doomed. Given that this is Friday Night Lights, doom will take some especially crushing form, no doubt related to poor decisions, on the part of both the characters and the writers, to dispose of the body and cover up the death.

Meanwhile, Landry’s pal Matt Saracen, the brooding backup QB, was dumped unceremoniously by Coach Taylor’s daughter Julie. Who didn’t see this coming? How a cutie like her ever went for such a sad sack we’ll never understand. Fortunately, a new love interest arrived on the scene for Matt in the person of the Latina caring for his doddering grandma. At least, we’re pretty sure she’s going to be his love interest because she’s hot (naturally) and has already busted his balls. While scolding him on the disheveled state of his bedroom, she reached under his mattress and pulled out his porno mags, the sine qua non of teenage-boy humiliation. “Haven’t you heard of the Internet?” she taunted him. Matt is going to fall for her hard. The only question is whether it will be mutual, and here’s betting the answer is no. That kid is going to have to get his ass off the bench and play some serious football to find love this season.

Finally, there is the megadrama that figures to drive the entire season — Coach Taylor, who took the big assistant-coach gig at far-off Texas Methodist University, is clearly chafing at the distance from his wife and newborn child, as well as at the inhumanity of the whole big-time operation. After helping prevent an arrogant star player from losing his college eligibility, Taylor goes to see the TMU head coach and is told, as a form of thanks, that he must have been a helluva high-school coach. Right you are, sir! One way or another, Taylor will choose family life and small-town values over careerism and return to Dillon this season. There’s no time to waste, now that Julie, having forsaken Matt, is succumbing to the charms of the van-driving dude from the pool who doesn’t give a shit about football. High-school girls in Texas are supposed to know better than that!

A note about the music: A lovely bit of Big Star’s “September Gurls” livened up a montage of kids returning to school. Nice! Then the episode closed with a tune from cheeseball eighties revivalists the Bravery. More Big Star, please. —Hugo Lindgren

‘Friday Night Lights’: Has Everyone Forsaken Small-Town Values?