We last left the little town of Dillon, Texas with a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions. Would the Panthers make it to playoffs without the help of suspended star running back Smash Williams and if so would they repeat as State Champions? Would Big Tim Riggins win over Lyla Garrity's heart by attending weekly church services? Will Julie still be a little skank and continue falling for douchebags like "The Swede" and that creep teacher? Will Street finally walk? Will that crazy girl who likes Landry kill Tyra in a fit of jealous rage?! Will Bradley, the constantly referenced but rarely heard (except for a smart ass comment every now and then) red haired lineman, finally get an episode of his own? You get the point. Lots of unanswered questions.
And thanks to the writer's strike, we never get to see them get answered. Instead of picking up where season two left off, the show's writers are going to start with the following school year. For me, this poses many problems. For one, instead of seeing how the events of season 2 play out, we're most likely going to have to hear about it through subtle references by the characters, or even worse, through flashbacks. FNL has never been a caught me as a show with flashbacks so I doubt that's an option and to me, the character references seem like just a waste of time. Why say something when you can show it? The other problem is that Smash is supposed to have graduated by this time. Riggins probably should have as well but judging by his past grades he'll probably be in high school another five years. But anyway, how can they keep Smash an active part of the show?
The answer is fairly simple: A statewide teachers strike.
Sure it's unrealistic but anymore unrealistic than Landry banging Tyra? Here's how it goes down.
A few days after the events of the season 2 finale, all the teachers in Texas go on strike. With no end in sight, school officials reluctantly cancel the rest of the school year including all athletics. Therefore, there is no state championship in Texas this year.
Since there is no more school, Smash can't graduate and the following year, when the strike is settled, he is granted another season of eligbility. Sure, he's suspended the first three games for punching Whitey in the movie theater but the show would get to keep Smash in high school for one more season. This would also allow the writers to keep everyone else at Dillon High in school for an extra year since nobody would be able to advance to the next grade.
So What happens in the first episode of Season 3? I'll tell you what!
Episode 301- Strikes Over
The episode starts out with Coach Taylor and his family enjoying a nice family breakfast. The TV in the background discusses the end of the ugly teacher' strike and how it affected students. Julie bitches about having to stay in school another year, Tammy is thrilled about the idea, and Gracie poops. Tammy also comments to Coach Taylor about how he must be happy to have Smash on the team again this year. Coach replies with something about Smash getting his head on straight and how he'll have him over for some of his famous chili to talk about it. All of a sudden the cable goes out again, and Coach Taylor is pissed!
"That's it," he shouts. "I'm getting Direct TV."
Enter the newest character on the show, thanks to NBC's deal with Direct TV to keep FNL on the air, Tommy Johnson. Tommy is the Taylor's Direct TV technician and will show up every now and then to give the residents of Dillon some friendly advice as well as great deals on cable.
Back at Dillon High, everything seems to be just as we left it. Smash, Saracen, Riggins, and the rest of the gang are all happy to be back to playing football. They all talk about their summers. Saracen visited Carlotta in Guatemala, Smash became manager at that Ice Cream place he and Saracen worked at, and Riggins got drunk and had sex with old ladies.
Meanwhile, Street still can't walk.
I don't want to give away the whole plot of the season premiere but this should be enough to hold you over for now. Go Panthers!