Movies, dinner, get her in the backseat of your car, I don’t care, whatever.

With all the speculation about a Frday Night Lights movie (based on the TV series this time, unlike the one based on the book), I’m in the mood for FNL nostalgia. Specifically, Coach Eric Taylor and Matt Saracen. But not Coach Taylor as Matt’s coach and mentor, but as his girlfriend’s father.

C: You got a girlfriend?
M: Ahh … no sir.
C: You have someone you’re interested in?
M: Sort of … kind of.
C: Sort of. Well forget about sort of. You know what? Take her out, you understand me?
M: Sir?
C: Movies, dinner, get her in the backseat of you car, whatever. But I’m telling you, you need to get loose out there, you’re wound up tighter than a rubber band, son.
M: Yes sir.
C: So tomorrow, you come to practive loose and focus.
M: Loose and focus, yes sir.

Hah! If only Coach knew which girl Matt is sort of, kind of interested in.

C: What?
M: I just need to talk to you for a minute.
C: Go ahead.
M: Look, I don’t want this whole thing to be awkward.
C: You don’t want what to be awkward?
M: This whole thing between Julie and I.
C: Julie and me.
M: Huh?
C: It’s “Julie and me”. It’s a common mistake. Go ahead.
M: Right. It’s just … I’m kinda sensing that … I’m sensing that you have a problem with it.
C: You’re sensing right.
M: We’re both interested in each other, okay. And I’m not going to stop seeing her because of you or because of anybody else … (gets cut off by Coach)
C: Saracen, stop right there. If I don’t want you seeing my daughter, you’re not gonna see my daughter.
M: No, you don’t understand, coach.
C: You can go now.
M: No, I don’t think you heard what I said.
C: You can go now.
M: But I …
C: You can go now.

Oh Eric, playing the grammar police to intimidate the poor kid! How coild you stoop so low? I’m torn between admiring Matt for his bravado here, or going “you silly, foolish boy! You just started dating her, it’s too early for the man-to-man talk with her father.”

C: What are you doing up? It’s past your bedcheck.
M: I was with your daughter.
C: I understand if you’re pissed at me. That I took the job, that I won’t be here next season, that I’m taking Julie away. All I can say is I’m sorry. But let me tell you this and don’t forget what I say. If you’re ever lucky to have family, like I do, I promise you, you will understand.
M: See you at the game.

This is one pep-talk that fell really, really flat.

C: How come you haven’t come over and see Gracie?
M: Because I …. Julie’s been telling me about it.
C: How are you and Julie doing?
M: Good. Why? I mean, did she say that we … did she say anything to you?
C: No, she didn’t say anything. She’s supposed to say something? There’s something I’m supposed to know?
M: No, I just didn’t know …
C: Just come over and see the kid.
M: I was gonna come and see. It was just, you know, a lot of football, and she’s been lifeguarding, so … you know … I didn’t want to just stop by.
C: All right.
M: All right.
C: Hey (shakes Matt’s hand and held it for a while). Don’t just stand by and watch it happen. You know what I’m saying?
M: Yeah, I do. Thanks, coach.
C: Hey, take care.
M: All right.

Oyyy, this is painful, with all the “you know”s, “I mean”s and “all right”s. When your girlfriend’s father is giving you relationship advice, it’s time to really panic.

M: Coach? How it’s going?
C: Come here. (Long, long pause). I know your father’s in Iraq, but if he was here, we’d agree on one thing, he and I, the both of us. And that is, women ought to be respected.
M: Yes sir.
C: (Cleans up the grill noisily and aggressively) That is my daughter!
M: Yes sir.

I feel for Eric here. He’s trying to thread two different needles. First, he’s the traumatized father who just saw his teenage daughter in bed with with her boyfriend (Really, Matt and Julie? Couldn’t you have locked the door? What if Grandma Saracen had walked in?) But then he must also be thinking that this boyfriend is also one of his players, whose parents are not around, and is probably in need of some parental guidance himself. There’s the protecting daughter instinct, and then there’s the responsibility to┬ábe almost like a surrogate father to some of his players. (I’m thinking of something Smash’s mother said to Coach Taylor, something like – I’m not asking you to be a father to this boy, I’m just reminding you that he doesn’t have one).

M: Sir, I’ve known your daughter for a very long time now. And I know … you’ve known me for a long time, too, since I was young. Not that I’m old … I’mnot old now … but … I’m very mature for my age. I’d like your permission to marry your daughter, sir.
C: (Laugh) You … what? Say that again?
M: I would like to marry Julie. I love her completely, and I’m gonna take care of her for the rest of her life. So I just really want your blessing to ask her to marry me. (Long pause) Sir.
C: Matt how old are you?
M: 19.
C: You’re only 19 years old.
M: Yes sir.
C: Matt, how old is my daughter?
M: 18.
C: She’s 18.
M: Yes sir. I’ve … I’ve got a job up in Chicago, I’ve already had two promotions.
C: The answer to your question is no. And the answer to your question is going to be no today, it’s gonna be no tomorrow, and it’ll probably be no until the sun burns out. Is that clear?
M: Well, the thing is sir, we don’t actually need your permission.
C: You damn well do need my permission.
M: No … we … we actually don’t. I already asked her and she already said yes, so, you know, it’s really just a courtesy. Just hoping for your blessing.
C: Let me do you the courtesy of telling you that my daughter’s answer to you is No.

Boy, he really thought Matt was kidding, no? It will be no until the sun burns out? Ouchh. That’s very harsh. I understand not wanting Matt and Julie to marry now since they’re so young, but saying it will always be “no” is an overreaction, surely? Matt didn’t do so well either, saying all that stuff about not needing Eric’s permission and asking permission is just courtesy – obviously he’s right, but that’s not really going to convince the coach to give his blessing, is it?

A few Matt and Julie squeee moments. I know a lot of people are not really into them as a couple (mostly due to Julie), but I thought Julie was a pretty good girlfriend to Matt. Sure, she can be really irritating and annoying in her interactions with her parents, in her other relationships etc etc, but she was really good to Matt (discounting The Swede incident, of course). Supportive, understanding, didn’t freak out about Matt’s complicated family life and all the family drama, was there for him during difficult times, even when they weren’t dating. Sometimes I feel like the writers forgot all about this Julie when they’re writing other Julie storylines.