Hanna, yes, Tim is like a wife, but of the rare sort who knows when it’s time to be an ex-wife. Like Lyla in the previous episode, he is helping Jason by letting him go. His mush face is what it feels like to watch an old, irreplaceable friend walk away from you. For the first time, the show is recognizing that these teenagers have to grow up. Meghan, I can totally see Tyra gone bad at 20, swinging around a Landing Strip pole. When I was ruing her decision to ditch school, my husband pointed out that what the show got right was why. In her FNL world, it’s a choice that makes sense. Tyra’s mom is the ultimate underminer: She is constantly upping the man-pressure and tearing down college. Tami is there for Tyra, but in this episode, she was a realist about the results of that college interview at a moment when Tyra needed a cheerleader. Then there was the interview itself. Am I being an adult scold here, or did Tyra blow it the minute she kept the college counselor waiting by saying she had to take a call on her cell phone (from Cash, natch)? Big forces, little choices—they add up to more than Tyra can push up the hill.
Meanwhile, Julie. A friend of mine has been ranting that she’s a “whiny self-indulgent twit.” Hanna, you make her part of your girl-talky-talk trope for telling Eric to let Matt try wide receiver. But I like Julie this season. In that dinner-table scene, I thought she pulled off assertive rather than whiny or petulant. Plus, she’s right. Eric’s brusqueness was too brusque. He needed his women to reel him back from the brink of unreasonable. OK, maybe the male-female power dynamic wasn’t quite even-steven this episode. But if you take Tyra out of the picture for a sec, it’s close.