Tuesday, May 25, 2010
'Friday Night Lights:' Coach Taylor Lies to His Wife
One of the things I really admire about Coach Eric Taylor’s character on Friday Night Lights is the fact that he’s been a really good, down-to-earth husband. Certainly he's not been perfect, and Tami Taylor’s certainly not a perfect wife, but Eric’s been a supportive husband and father throughout the series, a role model of sorts, albeit one who doesn't like to talk much.
However the latest episode, “In the Skin of a Lion” hints at larger problems that may challenge the Taylors’ marriage this season with Eric coaching the East Dillon High School football team, and Tami serving as principal at the West Dillon High School, both of whom have targets on their backs, Tami more so than Eric at this point.
In a recent episode, Tami was put smack-dab in the middle of local politics when she learned that Eric kind-of-knew-but-didn’t-really-want-any-details about a mailbox the West Dillon Panthers had been using for years as a sham address for players who lived in other school districts but who’d claim they lived in West Dillon territory in order to play Panther football. The address was for a mailbox in front of an empty lot in West Dillon. The Panters had been using it for a star player, Luke Cafferty who lived in East Dillon territory.
At first, Tami asked Eric whether he knew about this when he was the West Dillon coach, as she was the one who had to pull Luke Cafferty off the Panthers because one of Eric's friends -- the one who erected the mailbox in the first place -- told Eric that Luke was supposed to be on his football team. When confronted by his wife, Eric argued and tried to turn it around on Tami as though she were the one making trouble. Although she sagely and gaemly played politics with the West Dillion football boosters, who threatened to tarnish Eric's previous state championship, the entire situation left her feeling vulnerable, particularly when she was booed by the student body.
During the latest episode, it was Eric who found himself in a jam. Sure, that big fire he lit in the center of the football field and into which Eric had encouraged his players to pitch their jerseys proved inspirational to fledgling team, symbolic of their fresh start. But there was one small catch. It left them without uniforms. And without more financial support from the cash-strapped high school – which barely has enough cash for academics – Eric had to turn to other means.
He staged that fundraiser where he had the players push a car through town and collect money from residents. While I thought it was sweet that Eric gave Tim Riggins some cash to spread around to the crowd to give to the players so they’d feel supported by their community, I wondered if Tami knew about it.
Then the bill for the new jerseys came due. And Eric had to write a hefty check, a personal check, from his and Tami’s account in oreder to get the gear in time for their game. When Tami asked Eric about it, he lied and said the check was for $45 for dry cleaning. Near the end of the episode, he came home after one too many beers and told Tami the truth, that he’d written a $3,000 check and hoped to raise the money and replace it. "We don’t have $3,000 in our checking account!” Tami shouted.
I expect that this dust-up – combined with a Panther football booster boasting that Joe McCoy will “figure out a way to get that bitch out of there” (meaning Tami as principal) – won’t be the last big tests for the Taylor marriage this season.