My interest in football may be limited, but my interest in the drama brewing on The CW's latest football-centric series All American is vast. Like any good teen drama, All American — which is based on the life of real athlete Spencer Paysinger — has oodles of love triangles, tensions between cliques, and sizzling sexual tension between will-they-won't-they characters. It also may have one other teen show trope: daddy issues.
Specifically, I'm talking about whether or not Coach Baker (Taye Diggs) is actually the biological father of Spencer (Daniel Ezra).
All American is about Spencer, a football player from South L.A. who is recruited to play for a posh public school in Beverly Hills by Billy Baker, a coach who wants Spencer to make something of himself outside his gang-ridden neighborhood.
When Coach Baker and Spencer first meet at Spencer's home, it doesn't seem like Spencer's mother Grace (Karimah Westbrook) knows Coach Baker at all. She simply agrees to let Spencer go to school in Beverly Hills because it's a great opportunity.
That's why the last few moments of All American are totally surprising. After Spencer moves in with Coach Baker and his family, during the final moments of the premiere episode, we see Coach Baker pay a late-night visit to Spencer's mother's house.
"We have to tell Spencer the truth," Coach Baker tells Grace.
So... what is this "truth" that Coach Baker is talking about? Right now, well... we have no idea. What we do know, however, could provide some clues.
The first thing we know is that Spencer's father left the family to coach college football in Arizona, apparently without so much as a goodbye. The second is that Coach Baker did live in Spencer's neighborhood, and is probably around the same age as Spencer's mother.
So, is it possible that Spencer's mom and Coach Baker had a relationship before Spencer was born, making Spencer's new high school coach his biological dad? Could finding out the truth be the reason why Spencer's dad headed east without his children?
Absolutely. It's like, Teen Drama 101.
Still, I can't help but think there are a few problems with this theory. For one thing — it's a little bit obvious. If it is true, why not tell us that Baker is definitively Spencer's dad? It would raise the stakes for the audience, as we know exactly why the coach needs to keep this monumental secret from everyone in his life: It would destroy his family, as he has a son Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) who is just about Spencer's age. (This is also the basic premise of The CW's One Tree Hill.)
Then there's the whole Olivia (Samantha Logan) thing. The show heavily implies that Olivia — Coach Baker's daughter — has a crush on Spencer. If the series does not reveal Spencer's secret parentage, but it turns out to be canon, what's stopping brother and sister from making out? This is The CW, where all the teenagers make out, and it isn't Riverdale, where incest is treated far too casually. Siblings hooking up on All American just seems like a problem.
So, if Coach Baker fathering Spencer isn't the Big Secret on All American... what is? Maybe Coach Baker is the reason why Spencer's dad left for Arizona in the first place. We haven't seen any indication that Baker cheated on his wife Laura (Monet Mazur) but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. It's possible that the coach and Grace rekindled a previous affair, leading to Spencer's father ditching the family for a college job when he found out.
Or maybe we're totally off base here. Maybe Coach Baker and Grace didn't have a romance at all, and Baker just knows something about Grace or Spencer's family that the high schooler should know but doesn't. Maybe whatever the thing is, it was the reason Spencer had to leave the neighborhood — his football skills just an excuse.
Guess we'll have to watch more episodes of All American to learn the truth. One thing's certain though: No football game has ever been this juicy.
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