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Friday Night Lights “I Think We Should Have Sex” Review (1×17)

9 Feb

Friday Night Lights“You and I have the exact same amount of experience being parents.”
-Tami Taylor, Piece of Wisdom #12,532

A nuanced and compelling take on sex isn’t something you see everyday on television, but FNL delivers just that with “I Think We Should Have Sex”. The great thing about this episode is that it not only explores the experiences of Matt and Julie, but also the relationship between Julie and her parents. It perfectly encapsulates the awkwardness, the hilarity, the fear…everything that leads up to and results from a first-time high school sexual experience.

Let’s start with Matt and Julie. First of all, it’s great to see Julie be the one who takes charge and decides that not only does she want to have sex, but later that she doesn’t want to do it just yet. You can tell she isn’t ready–Teegarden does a nice job conveying that sense of trepidation throughout–but the show does something admirable here: instead of outlining a situation in which her boyfriend pressures her into doing something she doesn’t want to do, it’s her that initiates the discussion due to a curiosity, a curiosity that is due in large part to societal pressures. Now, peer pressure isn’t anything new, but the way it’s handled here is subtler than we see elsewhere.

The fantastic thing about the balance struck here between peer pressure and individual choices is the lack of shaming. Usually, especially when it involves sex, some element of that is found, whether it be “virgin-shaming” or “slut-shaming”. Yet, Julie, Tyra, and Lyla all make their own choices to do what they do, and the show respects each of them for it. I’m glad we get to see someone who just isn’t ready for sex not have sex, and that extends to Matt Saracen as well. He’s understanding, respectful, and caring, and he reads the signs; he realizes that his girlfriend is uncomfortable, so he stops. You can give your verbal consent, but body language certainly plays a part.

Now, as cheesy as it may sound, the experience just reaffirms their love for each other. That’s the focal point, not sex, not “one body part going into another”.

On to Julie and her parents. First of all, give them all some Emmys. Chandler and Britton are fantastic throughout, whether it be when they’re waiting for Julie to get home or when they’re interacting with her. Oh, and that Tami-Julie talk. That talk. Raw and genuine. Connie Britton gives a tour de force performance here, conveying just how nervous she is to have this conversation, how afraid she is of Julie venturing out of her field of protection. Being a parent is rewarding, but it’s also extremely difficult; Tami gets that across to her daughter, and her daughter understands it. She doesn’t lie. She doesn’t avoid her. She listens. She even comforts. This right here is a family.

GRADE: A

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-This storyline is also really hilarious, especially with Matt’s interactions with his friends prior to the (planned) sex. I especially like his scene with Smash. Also, condom stuff.
-Coach and Mrs. Coach at church with the death stares at Matt.
-Britton also does a great job when she sees Landry buying the condoms; you can see a ton of emotions cross her face in a short reaction shot.
-Deers have been known to be harsh judges.
-*After the episode finishes* Mrs. Coach: You know, those panties actually were mine. Coach: Nice. Let’s do it right here in the kitchen.
-Matt and the socks. He knows what’s up.
-Once again, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton prove that you don’t need dialogue to say something.
-Okay, so the sex storyline isn’t all that happens here. In fact, all around this central plot, everything’s fairly depressing: Tim gets himself beaten up due to anger at himself over standing up for his father, Angela confronts Buddy at church, and Jason starts to get close to a Suzie.

Photo credit: NBC, Friday Night Lights

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