Lyla, Tyra, Smash, Jason ... I miss them a great deal. I am very grateful that we've at least got some familiar faces around. I'm not sure how they're going to keep Matt's plot integrated with the rest of the show, but I'm very glad he's there. And I'm happy Tim chucked in college and is helping Coach. I remember being in the minority about this, but I don't think college would have suited Tim and I certainly don't think it will be any use to him unless he is personally motivated. I find Billy to be a presumptuous ass about that, so I kind of took delight in Tim hurling his books out the window. I think Tim will find his own way, and it may even involve higher study down the track, in his own time, and that that's far healthier. Meanwhile, we get to keep him on the show. ;)
Although I want to know what happened with Tyra (they broke up when she headed to college?), I do still like having Landry around--its certainly important in the new East Dillon set up to have someone from Coach's old team. I can see they're sewing the seeds of a new ship for him and despite my loyalty to Tyra, I like the new chick a lot. It was cool that she taught him how to punt (aside: American football seems really dumb if they don't at least practise kicking occasionally! are they just really not into multiskilling? Yet Coach is always moving people around. *confused*).
Thankfully I'm able to say honestly that I like both Vince and Luke a lot so far. Luke seems like a good kid--I particularly liked the scene where he was told he had to go to East Dillon. He warred with his emotions and despite his grief, apologised to Tami. I think he does feel guilty and we can see that he's trying to put the lying in the past. I like Tim working with him, and I'm glad Coach encouraged him to lead. However, I wonder what that's going to do to Vince. Vince brought the team back, he's been the leader, however unofficially, so far. He's got a lot rougher life than Luke and he screws up more, but clearly he's talented and determined. More importantly he seems to have sway with his schoolmates. That will make for interesting television but some rough politics. ;)
I wasn't sure about Jess to begin with. Something in her uber-chipper attitude annoyed me. (I was pretty much with Tim's 'you've got to be kidding me!' stare.) But she's kind of winning me over slowly. She makes a nice contrast to Tim, and the whole renting-a-caravan-off-her-mum scenario amuses me well enough so far.
Most significantly, I am really 'in' Coach's journey this season. Most of the time I used to feel quite disconnected from him. It was easy to take him for granted at Dillon High, but the risks are far greater at East Dillon and I'm appreciating that. Yeah, he's done some dick-y things (don't ever lie to Tami!) but I like that he admits it later and I also like that he's really in over his head here. It was a good way to reinvent the show, I think.
I think episode 2 was my favourite so far. Coach's reaction to the crazy at the gas station really cracked me up. I also liked seeing that his interventionist approaches to families didn't work so well in a place with different demographics. I feel like he's going to have to reinvent himself a bit. I also really loved that they picked up on something that hasn't been textualised that much before and made it a concrete problem: the fact that in the past he's turned a blind eye to Buddy's nefarious dealings, but he's kind of known stuff was going on. That's been hinted at several times over the years and it was good to see that actually raised as something that could undo him. Of course, it also facilitated Tami's glorious slapdown of McCoy, so all round it was great value. :)
The Taylors are the closest I get to a functional family, so I'm always fascinated with how they deal with tension and I greatly enjoyed seeing Tami and Coach scream at each other. I love that I feel secure when they do so--knowing they will overcome it some how. I also love Tami's 'don't you raise your voice at me!' LOL, she is such a mum. Less comfortable with her discomfort about Julie's budding atheism (psst, Julie, embrace it!). However, I recognise that family churchgoing is something I know very little about. It's hard for me to understand why anyone would want someone to go to church who didn't really believe... but I guess it really is just a custom for some people.
Matt's plot has been somewhat cliched--the asshole artist makes him do all sorts of menial work and doesn't appear to be teaching him anything but then turns out to have insight after all. However, despite the cliche I'm interested to see where it goes for Matt. I did laugh at 'this bit doesn't make me want to puke'. Poor Matty! And hey, I do think he could do better than Julie but I didn't like the guilt trip the artist gave her. I did, however, like the strength of the message about selfishness. Matt is often defined by his selflessness (even if he whines about stuff)--so the contrast is interesting.
I am so, SO glad that the uniforms became a big problem, because my first thought when Coach went to burn them was 'er... can they afford to do that?' I love that Coach's grand gestures come with a price tag. :p And yet, it still seemed worth it when we saw the new uniforms and the morale boost they gave. I'm really glad they're writing it as near impossible to get any sponsors too. I'm sure the turnaround will come, but it's details like this in the beginning that help with suspending disbelief.
They've got a long way to go though.
In other news, signed up for festivids and am excited to get my assignment! :)