Mark Watches ‘Friday Night Lights’: S03E06 – It Ain’t Easy Being J.D. McCoy

In the sixth episode of the third season of Friday Night Lights, Tim is tasked with countering the team’s hazing of J.D., only to discover there’s another force in J.D.’s life that’s worse than the hazing. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Friday Night Lights.

Trigger Warning: I bring up abuse, specifically mental/emotional abuse by a parent, at the end of the review.

Oh god, there were HAPPY THINGS in this episode! A lot of them! And one REALLY UNHAPPY THING.


People are having positive experiences! Landry is faced with moving on! AND DEVIN. SHE IS SO ADORABLE. I WANT TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH HER. I love that she waltzes in, is better than all the boys, is able to sing better than Landry, and then very matter-of-factly informs Landry that he has to move on from Tyra or he’ll never escape the one-note pattern of his music. BAM. LIKE THAT. She’s awesome. Oh god, please don’t let her go away forever. This show has a pattern of introducing consistently awesome side characters (Waverly, for example), and then abandoning them with no rhyme or reason. Unfair. 🙁


Oh god, I want so badly for this to work out. I really do! I love seeing Tyra happy, but it’s hard for me to expect something good from this. Look, it’s not that Cash’s story about Aly is impossible. It isn’t! People do some messed up shit, and women are capable of pulling some awful stuff on men. Historically, however, this just isn’t a thing, not on the same level as it is for men who abandon their pregnant girlfriends, wives, hook-ups, etc. So I suppose that it’s possible that Cash is telling the truth, but I’m still going to worry that he’s not. I’m proud of Tyra standing up for herself and for continuing to pursue her dream of going to college, and I love that she appears to be able to balance that with her own desire for companionship.

Cash, I swear, don’t mess this up. I will… well, I won’t do anything because you’re a fictional character. I will just sit here and be upset.


Hahaha DID YOU HEAR MY HEART BREAKING A MILLION TIMES. Jason’s story this season is very much a Friday Night Lights type of story. He’s trying to do the best he can with what little he has. Obviously, he’s frustrated by Erin leaving town, and that manifests in a furious sort of desperation that comes out around Herc, Tim, and Billy. Flipping that house is vital to Jason’s perception of himself as a father, and it’s related to Billy’s need to be a certain type of husband to Mindy. We’ve seen a similar behavior from Jason in the past, too. He often courts with denial to cope with difficult situations until he’s forced to admit the uncomfortable truth about his life. In this case, he lies to Coach Taylor about what he’s doing, but then has a dramatic breakdown after Coach Taylor sees the actual progress on the house.

So, leave it up to Coach Taylor to give Jason the best advice he could have heard at that moment and help him around the house. WHAT A GREAT HUMAN BEING. And Coach Taylor is right. Just because Jason took a risk doesn’t mean he should see his reward for this immediately. They all just started work on the house; it’s not going to look immaculate in the first couple days.

However, it’s that scene at the end where Jason sings to his son that pretty much ends me. Oh, Jason, I really don’t think you’ll be a deadbeat dad. I don’t think you have that in you. You’re clearly an adorable father. I just hope that this works out for him.


This is quite relevant to my previous Friday Night Lights review! In “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Matt discovered a silver lining to his “demotion” to QB2: He got to spend more time with his mother. Here, though, Matt finds out another benefit to being benched for an entire game. He gets to spend his Saturday’s free from the stress and worry of football! No worrying about what he did in the previous night’s game at all. And so he chooses to spend that Saturday with Julie, and they’re endlessly adorable, and they kiss, and y’all, I’m just so into this. It’s wonderful. A GOOD, HAPPY THING OCCURRED ON THIS SHOW, AND IT IS SO LOVELY.

J.D. McCoy

So, I’m going to start this off by spelling it out:

I think Joe McCoy is abusing his son.

I don’t think it’s physical, but there are so many signs I recognized from experience that point to the fact that there is something deeply, deeply wrong with the way Joe treats J.D. The more I watch that man interact with anyone, the worse I feel. You have to understand that I’m coming at this as a son who dealt with parents who were so overprotective that they tried to control who I made friends with. If they discovered someone “undesirable” as a potential friend, they’d invite them over and terrify them. Or my mom would show up at school to yell at teachers, to embarrass me, to humiliate me as punishment in front of classmates or teammates, or to make my choices for me. My mother was legendary at my high school, and to this day, I don’t think she’s aware of how many people knew about her. I mean, she started a rumor (perhaps unintentionally) that one of my teachers was showing an interest in me for Mock Trial and Speech Club specifically because she wanted to have sex with me. First of all, I couldn’t even tell her why that was ludicrous, but that’s not the point. She controlled nearly every aspect of my life, and my father went along with it.

I get that Joe is an overenthusiastic parent, that he’s living vicariously through J.D., and that a lot of parents who have talented children in sports may do some of the same things. But there’s one particular scene that really hit me the wrong way. It’s when Joe forces J.D. to apologize to Coach Taylor at church for drinking. This doesn’t happen solely because Joe is concerned about his son’s alcohol use, because I’d understand if any parent was worried about their child going behind their back to break their rules. But Coach Taylor never needed to know what J.D. had done. It affected nothing at all. Joe does it to control J.D. I know this because that’s why my mother did it to me. She was demonstrating that she was in charge, and that at any given moment, she could make things miserable to me. Which she did once I ran away from home! She stopped every effort of mine to participate in sports, to go to school functions, to do anything off campus… all those threats she’d made became real.

I just remembered that line in the opening where Joe remarks that J.D. has no time for girls. Oh my god, YOU ARE SUCH A CREEPY FATHER. Given how we’ve seen him act towards Coach Taylor, I don’t trust him at all. He’s clearly got his own interests and ego at work here, even if he does want the best for his son.


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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