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'Friday Night Lights' recap: Poor Matt Saracen

Season 1 | Episode 11 | “Nevermind” | Aired Jan 3, 2007

Life isn’t going well for Matt Saracen. (And not only because he lost to Tim Riggins in this poll.) Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like things were actually looking up for our QB1. He finally managed to establish a relationship with Julie and find success starting for the Panthers. Sure, he could use a little help taking care of his grandmother, who continues to fall deeper and deeper into dementia, but he’s resigned himself to making things work until his dad is able to come home from Iraq. He is certain that if he can just hold out until his dad gets home, everything will be okay.

So it should be great news that Mr. Saracen surprises his family and shows up back in Dillon on a two-week leave. Matt is ecstatic to see him, and confident that now they will be able to find a good solution to help his grandmother. Unfortunately for Matt, his father does not have the answers—at least not the answers Matt’s looking for.

Matt’s hope is to get an aide in the house, someone who can help his grandmother with tasks like taking her medication and preparing her food. They don’t have the money to cover this plan, though, so Matt’s dad wants to put her in a home. Matt is not a fan of this idea, even before he realizes it would mean he’d be left without a guardian. But when his father suggests that Matt would move to Oklahoma to live with his aunt, he pretty much loses it.

Poor Matt goes from thinking he’s finally getting a break to having his very fragile life completely collapse on him. He’d been holding everything together with the strength of Scotch tape, and instead of bringing reinforcement, his father knocks the whole structure down. Matt is left with nothing but anger, not just that his father is forcing him to leave Dillon—and the team and girl who matter so much to him—but also that his dad failed to provide the support that Matt has been yearning for. This solution is a devastating one for Matt to contemplate. In addition to that, he has to deal with his intensely negative feelings toward his father. All of this is to say that it’s not exactly a surprise when Matt snaps, tells his father to go to hell, and heads to the Taylors’ after the game. (It also explains why he has a terrible game, a fact that just adds crappiness to an already crappy situation.)

Matt is not the only one dealing with disappointment. Jason and Lyla have begun spending time together again, and Jason is thrilled with the opportunity to finally be normal again. He takes Lyla back to his house, only to discover that he can’t maintain an erection. He asks Herc for advice on how to have sex with this new, less functional body, and Herc basically tells him that there’s more to life than sex. So much for being normal.

As things are falling apart all over Dillon, Tami Taylor comes in to give us some comic relief. She recognizes that Tim has been skating by in all of his classes because the rally girls are doing his homework for him. She takes a personal interest in him, explaining to Tim, and later to Eric, that they are doing him a great disservice sending him out into the world ignorant and dumb. Coach, of course, agrees with her because he’s the best, and he reminds Tim that he’s serious about the “no pass, no play” rule. The comedy comes in when Tami suggests that Landry tutor Tim—an unlikely duo who are surprisingly enjoyable together. After some difficulty, Landry is able to get Tim to relate to the material in Of Mice and Men, and he pulls off a B- on his oral report. Perhaps it was Landry’s speech in which he points out to Tim that the book is about two friends who have a dream that gets crushed. There must be something in there that Tim can relate to. *sob*

Over at the Taylors’, Eric and Tami are having an adorable fight over taking out the garbage when Coach gets a phone call. Whatever irritation Tami felt when he knocked the trash onto their front lawn vanishes instantly when he tells her that the call was from University of Texas, asking if he is interested in a position as quarterback coach. The pride Tami feels for her husband’s success is very clear and very special.

Will Coach take a job in Austin? What will that mean for the family? Will both Julie and Matt be leaving Dillon? Tune in next week and we’ll find out!

Loose Ends

  • A nice contrast to Matt’s problems with his dad is his developing relationship with Coach Taylor. When Matt’s father gives Matt the world’s most backhanded compliment (“I didn’t know he had it in him”), Coach immediately steps in to say the things one would hope a father would have said in the first place.


Matt introduces his dad to Coach Taylor, they talk about Matt’s performance as QB:
Mr. Saracen: I didn’t know he had it in him.
Coach Taylor: He’s got plenty in him. He’s been a good team leader out here. I’ll tell you what, you can be proud of your son.

Tami proves her hunch that Tim hasn’t been doing his own work:
Tami: What’s The Scarlet Letter about?
Tim: It’s about a gal named Scarlet, obviously.

Lyla trying to convince Jason that they can find a way to successfully have sex:
Jason: It’s not about sex.
Lyla: A lot of couples have very good luck in the shower.
Jason: You want to get laid that bad, call Riggins. [Ouuuuuuch!]

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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