Friday Night Lights, Season 5

I Love Buddy Jr.
Talking television.
Nov. 17 2010 10:09 PM

Friday Night Lights, Season 5

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"Nature already has meat. It's called a cow."

What's better than one Buddy Garrity?

Two Buddy Garritys!

A big Texas howdy-do to Buddy Jr., who helped make this episode one of my favorites in a long, long time. I've been waiting for Season 5 to get funny, and this week it finally happened, thanks to the hilarious repartee between Buddy and Buddy Jr.—as well as between Luke and Becky, Eric and Tami, and Mindy and Billy. I especially liked Mindy's warning to Billy: "If you ever accidentally bump into her in the shower, I'll cut your face off."

David Plotz David Plotz

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

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How far can you go to intervene in the life of a loved one? A couple of weeks ago, Emily, you noted that FNLwas giving us a series of different kinds of interventions and hinting that they might meet different levels of success. This episode does the same thing. Buddy's tough love finally seems to crack his son's low-affect shell ("How can I help you, son?" The answer, of course, is "football.") Vince first drives away his father, then confronts him and makes him promise to keep Mom clean. Mindy brawls with Becky's stepmom, then brings Becky back under her roof. And Tami agonizes over how to save irritating Epyck—yes, that's how they spell it, according to IMDB—while losing track of her own lost daughter, who needs Tami's fierce love more than anyone.

I can hear all you Mad Men fans sighing that this is all so corny. I embrace your derision! I delight in your mockery! This episode served up a Hallmark moment in practically every scene, sometimes multiple ones. ("You gotta promise me you won't let Mom ever touch that stuff again"; "Who are you?" "Your Dad!") So what! As long as FNL offers a joke for every tear, and a Garrity in every other scene, it won't get any complaints from me.

I owe our readers an apology. In the comments section, Chosen Folks doubts my assumption that Julie is attending Boston University. Chosen Folks writes:

Why do our commentators think that Julie's "2000 miles away" at Boston University? Yes, I know that last year she visited there, and that somebody on this list spotted a "BU" shirt somewhere, but that's not where she is. In the first scene in a college lecture hall last week, there was a banner on the wall that said "Burleson University." There's no such school, actually, but it's clearly meant to be somewhere in Texas: there is a Burleson, Texas. Let's not forget that Julie drove herself to school alone. Does anybody really think that Coach would have let her just pull casually out of the driveway and drive off 2000 miles to New England all by herself? And in yesterday's episode, I'm pretty sure we learned that the TA/child molester has a wife on sabbatical in Boston, so clearly that's not where he is too. That guy's behavior all by itself, by the way, explains why they'd choose to send her to Fictional U instead of to UT: UT has lawyers.

You're surely right, Chosen Folks. First of all, the weather at FNL's BU is warm enough for Julie to wear sundresses, which is barely possible during the Boston summer and would be suicidal during the Boston fall. Second, BU's flora looks very Texan—the trees are much greener than they would be in October New England. Third, as Chosen Folks points out, FNL wouldn't take the risk of attacking a real university. When FNL needs to show dubious behavior in a college football program, it takes us to fictional TMU, rather than a real university. (As they did again this week: Luke's recruiting trip was primarily a smokescreen so that TMU's sleazeball coaches could score private time with their real target, Vince.) Similarly, the only safe way to give Julie a slimeball TA is to locate him in an imaginary university.

Is it wrong for me to note that Buddy Jr. was right about one thing? Tami does have a really nice …

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