Friday Night Lights: “It Ain’t Easy Being J.D. McCoy”


Q: What does Panther Freshman Quarterback J.D. McCoy have in common with Sharon Stone, star of the naught-awaited sequel Basic Instinct 2?

A: Both look their age while nude.

It’s time for the freshman naked mile. Riggins — throned on the tailgate of a pickup — swigs beer and smirks upon his un-uniformed underlings. McCoy, visible from the waist up, looks like the fifteen year-old that he is: nervous and hairless. As QB1, they make him run all the way to the field house. There he encounters coach Taylor, who gazes pitiably upon the skinny specimen of a quarterback. McCoy covers himself with an old team photo. “Please don’t tell my dad.”

“Son,” coach replies, “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

Jason Street, near tears, holds tightly to Noah, his bald and beautiful progeny. He kisses the boy’s forehead. Baby Mama interrupts. They have to get on the road before sundown. She maneuvers Noah into the back seat of her car, drives off. Jason is left alone. His face is a map of sadness.

Remember Landry’s short-lived metal band Crucifixtorious from season 1? No? Well, they’re breaking up. Landry’s been writing too many balls-less ballads, and the other members aren’t pleased. Also, they want to change the band name. Not a bad idea, but Landry is stubborn. The bassist and drummer walk out and they’re not coming back. Can Landry land as a solo act? The prospects are grim…

Tyra is in better shape. Cash turns out to be a sugar daddy, not surprising for a guy named Cash. Apparently rodeo riders aren’t affected by the economic downturn. He slips Tyra a few Benjie Franklins to pay for her college apps. Tyra refuses to accept the money then changes her mind.

Coach is not pleased about the hazing. The team must stand behind its quarterback, and it’s Riggins’ job to make sure that happens. In a gesture of goodwill Riggins gives J.D. the Riggins tour of Dillon: The Landing Strip Gentelmen’s Club —”You are not ready for that son” (Riggins is the 3rd character this episode to refer to J.D. as son); a hamburger stand populated by the “real” rally girls, who lounge leggily from the tails of rusted-out muscle cars; Smitty’s, a bar whose clientele knows Riggins as Toby, 2-time Iraq vet. This is where he goes to, “Get away from it from it all.” They pass a half-lit residential street. “Lisa lives down this road.” “Who?” “You’ll know,” Riggins explains. “She’s good times.”

Saracen and Julie Taylor bump into each other at the grocery store. Smiling ensues. Now that Saracen’s been demoted he has time for extra-curriculars. The pair embark on an excursion to a secluded lake. They frolic, they build a fire, they make out. And they lay, starlit and salaciously entwined. Sometimes it’s good to be QB2.

This Old House: Dillon Edition is a certified disaster. Why has Tim Riggins spent $1700 on a toilet with a bidet? Who gave Billy Riggins a nail gun? Luckily, coach continues his Jesus impersonation: he helps with the carpentry and gives an inspiring speech. Shocking.

A knock on Tyra’s door. It’s a woman with a baby. She’s looking for Cash, both the person and the currency. Cash is a deadbeat dad. He incurs the wrath of Tyra.

Panthers win thanks to McCoy. Riggins proposes a celebration, but J.D.’s dad has other plans — the fam is taking young J.D. to Applebees. Golly gosh. Everyone is embarrassed. The next night Riggins gets his chance to corrupt McCoy. They go to a party where J.D. gets predictably inebriated and — Gasp! — actually has fun. People take pictures on their camera phones. These photos will come back to haunt him.

Landry’s band tries out bass players. None are good until a nose-ringed, pixie-haired freshman shows up. She can play and she can sing. Landry might get over Tyra yet.

Cash claims the baby’s not his and Tyra believes him. He’s too pretty to lie. They kiss. Good luck Tyra…

Morning after, and the whole gang’s in church. The sun breaks softly through the stained glass. A repentant sinner arrives at coach’s side: it’s J.D. McCoy, sent by his father to apologize his aforementioned alcohol consumption. Coach is annoyed, not at J.D., but at his overbearing father.

Final scene: Jason Street is going for Dillon’s Male Sensitivity Award. The other nominees are Coach Eric Taylor (the favorite) and Tim Riggins (the dark horse.) Baby Mama calls from the road. Jason wants to speak to his son; he sings softly into the phone, a tender-rendition of the lost classic, “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza.” His voice is a wave of love. Riggins looks at Jason like he’s wearing panties on his head, but Jason doesn’t notice. He’s too busy being a real man.