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‘All American’ series premiere recap: 1×01, “Pilot”

All American series premiere recap: Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”

All American finally premiered this Wednesday night and we all felt the vibes of a good teen drama in the works. Not to say the pilot was perfect, because none are (although I can make a strong argument about the Pretty Little Liars pilot). But it set up high stakes, good music, social commentary, and of course, a love triangle. Maybe even multiple love triangles.


all american

Alas, we open with a football game. Spencer James is anticipating plays and scoring touchdowns to everyones delight. The crowd is cheering in the familiar glow of Friday night lights when all of a sudden, we hear the pop pop pop of gunshots. Cheers turn into screams as everyone scatters. Except Spencer. He stands there, looking at a car driving off and a lifeless body on the sidewalk.

We don’t get to know if that person survived, or why they were shot, but that’s the point. That’s the reality Spencer and the people of Crenshaw live in. And if they don’t know specifically why, they know why. 

As Spencer is walking home, he is approached by Coach Billy Baker. Coach Baker is a former NFL star and wants Spencer to play for him in Beverly Hills. Spencer refuses because a) it’s against the rules to recruit and he will get a three month probation (even though Coach Baker claims he can get around that), and b) he’s happy where he’s at.

Back at school, he tells his friend Coop about Coach Baker’s offer. She’s simultaneously shocked and thrilled for him as she hits on a girl passing by. Apparently, this is a no-no because she’s one of “Shawn’s girls.” Next, we find Spencer getting an A+ on his test and Shawn getting in Coop’s face. Spencer defends her and gets in trouble for fighting as a result.

At home, his mom is waiting for him with Coach Baker. Grace (Spencer’s mom) wants him to seize this opportunity for a safer and better education and questions if the reason he doesn’t want to go is because of his dad. We learn that Spencer’s dad went to go play college football in Nevada and never returned. There is a familiarity in the way Grace and Coach Baker interact, as if they have known each other for a long time. Collectively, they persuade Spencer to play for Beverly Hills High.

Welcome to Beverly Hills

Photo: Ray Mickshaw/The CW

There’s a few ground rules if Spencer is going to stay. The first: keep grades up. The second: no fighting. One fight, and he’s out.

Olivia starts to show Spencer around with some cute banter when all the sudden he’s Shook™ by the beautiful girl in front of him. She’s walking towards him in slow motion, the music picks up, and he has the dumbest look on his face. Her name’s Leila, she’s Beverly Hills Resident Sweetheart, a daughter of successful record producer, a Thanksgiving eater with the Obama’s, and even a pot taker with Malia. Impressive.

The quarterback, Jordan, interrupts to introduce himself to Spencer and his friends, it is revealed that Jordan and Olivia are not only siblings, but Coach Baker’s kids. Spencer’s introduction to everyone is brief because Asher (another boy on the team, played by Cody Christian of Teen Wolf) asks him, ‘Crips or Bloods’? Leila quickly goes over to apologize for her boyfriend and they flirt over Spencer’s ability to read people. He’s got her all figured out as a confident, lonely girl, and she seems to be into it. I admit he does have game, but personally, I would be rolling my eyes to the back of my skull.

Spencer hangs out with Coop and they have another heart to heart.

Black, white, plaid, it doesn’t matter. You just got to do you.

First football practice! Spencer is showing off, which pisses off a lot of people, including Coach Baker. He changes Spencer’s position and he’s not happy about it. They all go to Jordan’s house, and we meet Mrs. Baker, and she’s very welcoming towards him.

Jordan gets jealous when he overhears his dad on the phone talking about how Spencer’s the best he’s seen. Then, Asher gets jealous when he sees Leila and Spencer talking, so they plan to sabotage him. We learn more about Olivia when she tells Spencer about her stint in rehab, and we also get a hint of romantic vibes between them. Leila interrupts and invites Spencer to a party tonight. At the party, they convince Spencer to drink even though they know boosters will be at football practice tomorrow, and at practice he’s hungover and inevitably messes up in front of the boosters and embarrasses him.

Beverly Hills Eagles

First football game at Beverly Hills! Spencer subs in for Asher and is able to block a player so Jordan can get a touchdown. Yay! Spencer’s a hero and everyone goes over to congratulate him. Coach Baker calls him “son,” while Jordan gives them side-eye, and Leila and Spencer decide to become friends while Olivia gives them side-eye.


Photo: Ray Mickshaw/The CW

Spencer is now popular, but there’s a problem with his transfer and the only way to fix it is for Spencer to move in with Coach Baker and his family. His mom agrees, wanting him to have his best chance. Meanwhile, it looks like Coop has joined Shawn’s crew now that Spencer’s gone.

In the final moments of the episode, Coach Baker shows up at Grace’s doorstep saying, “we have to tell Spencer the truth.” What could that mean? Is he Spencer’s father?!

Find out with an all new All American Wednesday’s at 9 PM.


Lynsey Neill

Lynsey is a Gryffindor Primary and a Hufflepuff Secondary. Find her watching anything from BoJack Horseman to Grey's Anatomy. She loves to read... especially if it features dragons and a good cry. If you ask her what she's doing she will most likely respond "I probably should be writing." Find her on Twitter, to theorize, geek out, and to obsess about Olicity.

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