Last night's episode of Friday Night Lights was really a showcase on parenting, and what a father should or should not be like.
We'll begin with Mr. Buddy Garrity, the owner of one of Dillon, Texas' most prosperous businesses, and a real big-shot around the town (or at least he'd like to think so). As a past "high school football hero", he is involved with the Dillon Panthers, and he is like a little birdie sitting on Coach Taylor's shoulder, chirping in his ear all the time about what is right for the team. His daughter, Lyla, is also a cheerleader for the Panthers.
A few weeks ago, he hired Tyra's mom as a receptionist at this car dealership, and since then began an affair with her. However, Buddy's conscience got the best of him, and he confessed his sins to the Coach, who ordered him to end the relationship with Tyra's mom and do what's best for his family, which Buddy promptly did by apologetically firing the mom and wooing his wife with kisses and flowers. What Buddy wasn't counting on, though, was Tyra's mom showing up as he and his family left church on Sunday morning, and she stomped right up to him and smacked him across the face, making a real big scene. Judging from the sneak peek at next week, poor Buddy's got some serious ass-kissin' to do with the Missus!
Definitely not the perfect family man all of Dillon, Texas believes him to be...
That brings us to Mr. Riggins, the father of Tim Riggins, who recently appeared on the scene after Tim sought him out and did some quality bonding time with his estranged dad. Now this guy just had trouble written all over him. First of all, he shirked his responsibilities by abandoning his sons and barely made contact with them for years. Tim had to jump from place to place before he even found someone who could tell him where to find him. When Mr. Riggins first showed up in Dillon, it seemed he was ready to try being a dad again, but he apparently just wanted to make Tim his drinking buddy and he used him to hustle some grizzly looking dudes in a game of pool.
Things got a little sticky when Coach Taylor had to ask Mr. Riggins to step back onto the sidelines at football practice, and then accused him of stealing a $3000.00 camera from the AV room at the school. Tim was clearly upset that the coach would make such accusations, and defended his father to the hilt. However, when he found the camera hidden in a cabinet, Tim was crushed. He demanded that his father leave, and as Mr. Riggins walked out the door, he said, "Just watch. Watch how easy this is for me." That's gotta hurt a guy like Tim, who makes out he's all tough and strong, but really he just needs someone to love him. Tim then went to the bar where he and his father had hustled the grizzly pool players, and pretty much let them gather around and kick his ass until Tyra and Billy showed up to save him.
Mr. Riggins = the definition of scum bucket.
Last, but not least, we have Coach Eric Taylor, the fearless leader of the Dillon Panthers, and dear daddy to sweet little Julie Taylor. Coach Taylor and his wife (and darn it, I have no idea what her name is) are good parents. Really good parents. They are hard on Julie when they have to be, but they clearly love her with all their hearts, and they have raised her well. Even when Julie goes down a wrong path, she quickly rights herself, and takes her parents warnings and advice into consideration at all times. Julie's a good kid, no doubt about it.
However, when Mrs. Taylor caught Julie's boyfriend Matt buying condoms, all hell broke loose. She chose to deal with Julie on her own without involving the Coach. However, Julie decided to go ahead with her plans to have sex with Matt, so the two of them had a rendez-vous at one of Matt's teammates' hunt camp. Matt quickly realized that Julie wasn't ready, so they ended up just hanging out and eventually fell asleep, resulting in Julie missing her curfew. Big time. So, as you can imagine, Coach and Mrs. Taylor were frantic, wondering where there daughter was, sitting in tense silence waiting for her to get home. And you know what Coach Taylor said, the second Julie walked through the door? He didn't say, "You little shit, get to your room" or "Where the hell have you been?" or "That's it, you're grounded, young lady!" He said: "Are you okay? Are you okay??"
Thumbs up to Coach Taylor for being a Grade-A Dad.
And an honourable mention to Mrs. Taylor for handling Julie's situation incredibly well on her own. The speech she gave Julie when she confronted her about seeing Matt buying condoms brought tears to my eyes, and it clearly had an effect on Julie's decision to not go through with it. And it also scared the heck out of me to think of how difficult it must be to deal with a teenage daughter. I hope I have all boys!
Have a great day, gang!