Hanna, I felt the same way about Becky. When she asks Tim if he has a broken heart, I wanted to bash her over the head or hug her, not sure which. But the assistant coach character drives me a bit crazy. He just seems too dunderheaded—the comedy's a bit thick.
When it comes to Tim in his trailer and his few possessions—well, his is not necessarily a bad life. But FNL certainly does shy away from showing us the hard side of being a guy who used to be a football star in a small town with few options for going forward. Riggins' good looks and inarticulate-but-sensitive drawl only make that trailer look all the more cozy. The lack of realism in this thread of the show was brought home to me when I watched Breaking Away last week—a winning movie about four friends just out of high school in Bloomington, Ind. Dennis Quaid's character, a former star quarterback, delivers a pointed soliloquy, as they're all watching the new crop of high school students play, about how there'll always be a younger team of kids to replace the old stars. He's bitter. FNL doesn't fully dig into that level of regret, does it? For all the sense of loss it gauzily evokes, when Matt and Riggins say "Texas forever," it's poignant but not claustrophobic.
Emily, thanks for sharing those playlists. I think the show generally does a good job with the music: "September Gurls" is one of the all-time great songs. And I like how Peter Berg and the production team try to use a lot of Texas bands—mostly Austin, it seems. (My bit of Saturday night quarterbacking: I think next season they should use some more singer-songerwriters from West Texas, and I plug Ross Cashiola, who lives in Marfa, Texas, and his band Hotel Brotherhood; the songs are textured and full of sentiment without being sentimental and they happen, I think, to fit the show's aesthetic. Add one to your iPod list and see what you think.) Meanwhile, Emily, I do think sometimes you feel hope in your heart for the ones who don't leave. At least, I don't want America to become a land only of big cities. But I agree: There's no way Lyla was gonna be one of those people who stick around. Or Matt.