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Throughout the first season of "Friday Night Lights," it is assumed that most of the main teenage characters (Jason Street, Tim Riggins, Lyla Garrity, Tyra Collette) are seniors. Specifically Tyra, who has an entire subplot with guidance counselor Tami Taylor devoted to turning her grades around in her last semester so she can apply for colleges and get out of Dillon, Texas. Then...Tyra's on the show for two more years and this subplot is more or less repeated in season 3, which is her actual senior year.

As a sophomore, why was Tyra acting like she only had one more semester left to change her GPA? I personally chalk this up to the writing staff not expecting to get more than one season of the show and then de-aging them after season 1, but I would like to know if there's ever been a clear, concrete explanation given for this that is in-canon.

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Look who is asking questions about tv-series now, tee hee ^.^ –  phwd Jan 19 '12 at 15:55
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I always stated I love television way more than movies, along with my arguments that the two should be kept separate. Plus these FNL questions have been BURNING IN MY BRAIN. –  Brett White Jan 19 '12 at 16:03
    
Without having seen it, my assumption would be: teenager drama. –  DForck42 Jun 29 '12 at 20:55
    
So Lyla, Tim, Matt, Julie, and Tyra are sophomore in season one?! Yeah right, and Jason was the senior and Smash was a junior. Dumb writers. –  user7182 Dec 16 '13 at 20:44

3 Answers 3

Two of my daughters have graduated high school and both times I heard strong emphasis from guidance counselors that the 11th grade is the time to start researching and selecting colleges. Somewhere I picked up that colleges look at your GPA from the 10th grade on. I'm sure it depends on the college and on the high school, but both of these underscore the importance of 10th grade grades.

Your speculation about season strategies rings true. But as a parent who has been through this at least obliquely it does not strike me as feasible at all to expect to get into a great school based only on senior-year grades.

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My memory of some of the details is a bit fuzzy, but I'll give it a shot.

During season 2 or 3, we're told that Tyra had a 1.9 GPA after her freshman year. Yet her goal was to attend a 4 year college - not a community or junior college - which would look at more than just GPA. It follows that:

  1. Tyra had to make huge and immediate improvements in her grades to achieve an acceptable overall GPA.

  2. Tyra was apparently intelligent/academically capable, so her poor grades were ostensibly the result of years of inadequate effort. As a sophomore, she thus lacked some of the skills needed to achieve her desired grades, further impeding her efforts.

  3. To improve her grades, she had to make lifestyle changes: less partying and less skipping school.

  4. Tyra had to accomplish this without initial support from her mom (her mom originally told her that she wouldn't be able to afford college) and without a father of any sort. This environment had produced an underachieving teenager with low self-esteem.

  5. Tyra needed extracurricular activities to improve her college application: physics club (season 1?), volleyball (season 2?) & student body president (season 3?).

  6. In season 2 or 3, (I believe) we're told that she failed to meet her GPA goals Sophomore year (season 1), which would make her need to improve her grades/extracurriculars in seasons 2 & 3 increasingly desperate and helps to explain the continuation of this subplot for two more seasons.

Still, OP's observation about de-aging seems accurate. During season 1, I assumed that Tyra was a senior.

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One of the more annoying/irritating things about the show was how it, and presumably the writers played around with the characters ages and what grades they were in. For instance Landry it turns out was a freshman in season one, yet he apparently is old enough to have a drivers license, since he has regular access to a car from the very first episode. Honestly the ages and various grades of the students area rabbit hole that you don't go into without a heater and some smelling salts.

That being said, I was never under the impression that anyone of the characters with the exception of Jason Street were seniors in season one, and in Street's case that was very clearly stated.

As for Tyra, I seriously don't know where you get the idea that she was a senior in season one. She never talked about being a senior, not even to Mrs. T And it wasn't her (Tyra's) desire/decision to try and bring her grades up in the first season, it was Tami, who told Tyra to come by and see her at school so they could look things over and make a plan. Tyra

Overall, Tyra wasn't worried about college in season one as much as she was worried about being stuck in Dillon for the rest of her life. It was Tami who started pushing the idea of college on her.

As for real life, my understanding is that colleges look at both your overall GPA and your grades from all four years of high school as well as extracurriculars and letters of recommendation.

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