Even though the plot with Carlotta was very predictable, I felt for poor Matt. Of course he fell head over heels for her, and of course it was doomed. The trouble is that he really has no-one else to turn to emotionally. His grandma, while she's a dear soul, needs his care, and Matt's really hitting the limitations of typical male friendship with Landry.
Matt and Tim are in similar situations in this episode--both of them head over heels for a girl who is out of reach. Both will wind up feeling they've been fools, feeling stupid and lonely and heartbroken and maybe a little angry. While they're very different personalities, both of them have this added pressure and expectation with the women they fall for seriously that comes with them having so few other close relationships. Tim has Jason and Matt has Landry, but both lack parental figures. And both struggle to find direction in their lives. It's easy, in those circumstances, to let a woman become the direction.
Is it terrible that I like Lyla a lot better as a born-again Christian than as a cheerleader? I have atheist guilt about this! But seriously, I'm really enjoying her this season and I thought her radio show seemed genuinely selfless. I used to feel she helped others only to make herself feel virtuous, but I now think that's a really naive reading. When she went round to confront Tim about his pranking, she was far less whiny than she once might have been--instead she called him out on his behaviour fairly. I'm not surprised that made Tim love her even more.
And ow, that sequence of Tim dumping the roses and Matt getting the farewell note?! *sniffles*
I really felt for Santiago as well--and I hadn't expected to. And I came the closest to liking Garrity that I ever had. He avoided saying anything truly moronic to Santiago when he found him all beat up, and his efforts to have Santiago's friends over were cringe-enducing, but in a misguided way, rather an a bigoted way. Refreshing! Santiago's largely unspoken angst about his friends trashing Garrity's place really got to me. He's another fragile lost boy.
And Smash! Oh, no! Just when I thought things were happy again in the Williams household. I am so incredibly naive, do you know that until this episode it hadn't actually occurred to me that Smash's girlfriend was white. *headdesk* I was too busy thinking of her as annoyingly peppy about those college contracts! So I guess all those first season complaints about the lack of mixed-race couples were listened to after all... The dinner came as a real shock to me as I didn't think that's where they were going. I was tuning in to the class differences, rather than thinking of it as a racial issue. And I guess it's not that easy to disentangle the two. But I'd be really interested to know how realistic US viewers found that plot. Because to me it seemed like it belonged in the 1960s. And why was Corrina also uncomfortable with the relationship? Was that because of the wealth disparity? Because that part of the plot I could really empathise with--not that I'd ever stop a child of mine dating someone more wealthy, but as a parent I would feel very self-conscious about the class difference--especially if I was invited to dinner at such a posh house.
The movie scene was really dreadful (in an 'omg, I hate stupid bigots' way)--I was totally fine with Smash punching that little shit out. How young is Smash's sister meant to be? Because she seemed really upset and yeah, what happened sucked, but it wasn't really Smash's fault--she could just as easily have been hassled by boys when she was out with her girlfriends.
And as if that wasn't enough heartbreak, there was poor Tami having to take Gracie to childcare. That was hard for me to watch because I know it's the reality of parenting today and something friends and colleagues of mine have to deal with. I could certainly relate to Tami's desire to run away from there. And I was so sad for her that she might have to give up her job. But question! What does Coach DO all day? Because it seems like there is training in the morning and after school, but what does he do during the day? I've kind of assumed he had to act as a PE teacher or something, but it would be good to know that for sure. Because otherwise I really don't see why he can't mind the bub during school hours. *frowns*
I don't mean to sound overly critical of the show though--I love it dearly and loved the episode and all the characters this week--but it would be good to know they were getting the realism right.