In the eighth episode of the second season of Friday Night Lights, THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.
TOO MUCH. THERE IS TOO MUCH GOING ON. I’m getting a serious soap opera vibe from season two of this show, but it’s honestly not bothering me at all? Everything we see here is grounded in something, even if some of the most ridiculous things this show has ever given us are all in “Seeing Other People.” Can we talk about this?
I’m really not at all surprised by what we see depicted here when Smash visits a college that’s trying to recruit him. It shows us that the culture surrounding college ball is even more garish and over-the-top than what Smash is used to. And that’s the important thing here: Ultimately, even Smash is out of his element in this context, and he doesn’t exactly have the experience he wants. Initially, though, it’s everything he’s desired: fame. Notoriety. Attention from attractive women. The promise of a lifestyle that will get him to the NFL. But what does that mean for Smash when he’s still the outsider?
I realize I’m writing very seriously regarding what amounts to Smash getting chased out of a prospective college in his underwear by a righteously jealous football player, but there’s a point! Smash is still very young, and he’s looking to jump into a world full of people who are older, willing to take advantage of him, willing to manipulate him, and willing to not give a single fuck who he is. It’s scary to watch this because it could so easily end in total disaster.
I will say that this is also worth it to see Smash and Matt get along. To an extent. Which I address in Matt’s section in a bit!
Let me first state that I find Mr. Barnett’s behavior suspicious and inappropriate, and the fact that this is sort of ignored after Tami messes things up with Julie is really weird to me because… well, I still don’t trust his intentions just yet. That being said! It is entirely fascinating to see this show take the moral core and then give us a story where she has messed up. As I said before, I’m so happy that the writers are giving Connie Britton consistently meaty material, and she knocks it out of the park here. Again. Her overreaction to both her daughter’s friendship with Mr. Barnett and her husbands jealousy manages to alienate both of them. It’s a moment where Tami acts uncharacteristic of herself out of stress and panic, and because of this, she’s unable to do what she normally does: act rationally and fairly. The way in which she confronted Mr. Barnett really was a problem, especially since she did it loudly and without closing the door. When her husband expresses a very obvious jealousy, she dismisses him and belittles him, which isn’t like the Tami Taylor we know. And I think in another context, this could be a serious writing problem, but here, the writers give us the narrative information to convey the serious stress and fear that she operates under.
And in the midst of this, she messes up. She drives her daughter away instead of taking the time to talk to her about why this makes us uncomfortable. She upsets her husband instead of taking the time to talk to him about why his jealousy is unfounded. Do you get the theme? For one day, Tami forgets that she is really fucking good at talking to people. When she does this with Eric at the end of the episode, they finally come to terms with their own feelings about their relationship. God, it’s so powerful to me to see these two just tell one another that they miss their significant other. IT SPEAKS TO ME. I love it.
So, is Tami going to try to repair things with Julie in the next episode?
Oh my god. OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, MATT? I still think that both Matt and Julie are on these eerily parallel paths. Both of them are doing things they normally wouldn’t do because they have such an intense desire to curtail their own loneliness. (The irony in this, of course, is that both of them consciously and subconsciously desire one another, and yet they’re doing nothing about that. I predict that at some point in the future, and maybe not even in this season, Matt and Julie will find happiness for a while in each other.) Julie wants Matt, cannot have him, and cannot feel connected to her family or her peers. It’s been fascinating to see Aimee Teegarden so faithfully portray a teenager in flux, a massive ball of emotions and hormones and fear and desire, because she does it perfectly. And the show gives us this character who is sincere about what she wants and what she feels, and that’s why I don’t have a problem with how “dramatic” season two feels. I don’t get the feeling that the writers are doing things to heighten the tension at the expense of the characterization, you know?
In Matt’s case, his desire for approval and validation, combined with his own loneliness and a healthy dose of hormones, leads him to do something so utterly foolish that I don’t even know how he’s going to get out of this. HE KISSED CARLOTTA. And it made me endlessly uncomfortable to watch Carlotta continually refuse his advances after this for days because Matt refused to get the message. NO. STOP. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. That doesn’t mean I exonerate Carlotta for deciding to initiate a physical relationship with Matt, but it’s unsettling to see Matt’s persistence in this case. This is, of course, even worse once you consider the context of this whole situation: He asked Lauren to be in an open relationship. In high school. Okay, dude, are you seriously taking dating advice from Smash? Didn’t you just pick him up in his underwear underneath a goddamn bridge? That should have been forty red flags at once. HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT.
Things that will end in disaster: THIS PLOT.
Normally, Tami is the one person who other characters go to when they’re upset and need advice, but given how preoccupied she was with everything happening to her, I was pleased to see Lyla reach out to Landry. This is what being a good Christian is all about, and it’s awesome to see this portrayal on the show. She’s genuine, she cares about others, and, as Jason said earlier, she has found a way to change who she is for the better. I just really like Lyla, okay?
It’s Lyla’s plain advice that inspires Landry to let his demons go. I stared at my computer screen in abject shock as he walked into that police station because I know there is no way he can walk back out of that place as the kid he was before. I don’t know, I just started crying because I am so full of feelings for this dude who means well, who wants to be a good son and a good boyfriend, because I know his life is going to be forever changed because of this. And what is his father going to do now? Will Landry admit that they both destroyed evidence? I’m so scared, y’all, and I have no idea where this is going.
Mark Links Stuff
– The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
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