All American Shows The Importance of Connection and Communication

All American -- “Now That We’ve Found Love” -- Image Number: ALA520a_0747r -- Pictured (L - R): Daniel Ezra as Spencer James and Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker -- Photo: Troy Harvey/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
All American -- “Now That We’ve Found Love” -- Image Number: ALA520a_0747r -- Pictured (L - R): Daniel Ezra as Spencer James and Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker -- Photo: Troy Harvey/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Although All American's sixth season has been heavily focused on football and the quickly approaching NFL Draft, its subplots of the Vortex's relationships in season six have been all about the significance of connection and communication, especially in two of its most recent episodes, "Connection" and "Passin' Me By."

Spencer and Olivia's decision to get to know another again after spending over a year apart in England and California respectively, had been going well, except for the part where they walk on eggshells around each other.

Olivia and Spencer's issues continued to build after discovering that Olivia's British best friend Ashley was actually a man, and that Olivia had never mentioned that or corrected anyone's assumptions that Ashley was a woman.

The conflict appears strongly in "Connection," as Spencer forces Olivia to confront the fact that she knew that leaving out such a poignant detail about Ashley's identity had been purposeful. It does not help that Spencer and Olivia leave each other off of their priority lists, which seemingly confirms they have not been speaking as neither knew about important future steps the other was taking, such as Spencer's decision to graduate college early and Olivia's desire to return to England.

Although All American does suggest there is a resolution to Spencer and Olivia's troubles at the end of "Connection," the following episode, "Passin' Me By," actually shows those changes in action when Olivia is confronted by Ashley's want to sketch her before he leaves California.

With open eyes, Olivia recognizes that Ashley's seemingly nice and innocent gesture is actually pressing on the boundary line that Olivia and Spencer have drawn, and Olivia tells Ashley not to move forward with the drawing.

Olivia's decision here shows that she heard Spencer's concerns about how close she had gotten with Ashley, and how Olivia is taking steps to avoid following the same pattern of behavior. Except, that is not the end of this issue, as Ashley appears later on to give Olivia the sketch she had asked him not to make.

Ashley's actions here are wildly inappropriate. Ashley is appearing at Spencer's house, knowing that his appearance with a personal gift could cause discomfort and a rift between Spencer and Olivia. But, rather than allow Ashley to overstep Olivia's already established boundaries, she makes sure to not let him off the hook for it, directly turning Ashley's romantic advances down and making it clear that she does not seem him in any way other than platonically.

Spencer does well here, too. Although his initial reaction is to confront Ashley, Spencer listens to Olivia when she tells him that she will handle the situation. He does not overstep and cause a scene or throw a punch. Instead, he backs off and trusts Olivia to handle the situation. Even if they are not yet perfectly in sync, they are working back toward having a stronger bond by respecting the other's boundaries.

Communication has also been an interesting obstacle for All American's engaged couple Jordan and Layla. As Layla works toward figuring out what works for her in terms of getting off her medication, she has also had to handle the aftermath of her lounge's vandalism. The wreck and destruction has put a pin in Layla's discussion with her doctor, and Jordan's desperation to be able to help threatens to put a wedge between them.

Except, at no point in Jordan's screen time is he trying to take the decision away from Layla, force her to move faster, or make a choice for her. Instead, Jordan is running around in the dark, not knowing how to help Layla because of the reality that Jordan can not personally understand what Layla is going through, as he has never had to deal with it himself.

He is constantly apologizing in fear of overstepping, and he directly states that he does not understand. Initially, Layla is honest about being overwhelmed or triggered by Jordan's way of confronting her. But, here is where "Passin' Me By" also makes an integral decision.

This may be Jordan and Layla's relationship, but neither of them are alone in working through the best way to go about this. Each of them lean on their friendships with Spencer and Olivia to work through the best way to communicate what they are feeling, and how it could be best explained when talking to each other.

Jordan is so concerned about Layla that it shows in his playing, and it is Spencer and Olivia's advice that helps him see a different way of going about trying to help Layla. Meanwhile, Layla seems to see that Jordan is completely set to go on this journey with her, and plans to be there every step of the way.

All American does not keep any obstacle they hit going for episodes at a time, having them constantly undergo break-ups and make-ups throughout the season. Instead, the show acknowledges that life is not easy, but that they can overcome any hurdle that has been thrown their way.

Asher and Jaymee hit an obstacle in "Passin' Me By" as well, when Jaymee sees Asher playing football during drills. Asher's heart condition has kept him out of the game for years, but with his heart improving, and getting the word that he could play at half-speed, Asher thinks it is okay to step back onto the field, at least until Jaymee sees him.

Considering Asher has been lying about which cardiologist he has been seeing, it is not surprising that it eventually blows up in his face. But, allowing Asher and Jaymee to discuss the situation as a couple raising a baby, rather than just having them fight about it and wait for them to talk in future episodes, shows them in a good light, even if Asher does not appear entirely happy about once again giving up football.

All American also addressed how the combined efforts of Coop and Preach helped bring Patience back to her center, rather than going through on an action she could never take back.

Patience has been going through a character assassination in preparation for the upcoming trial, and she is exhausted of it. Instead of stepping away from the internet, Patience is practically obsessed with Miko's social media presence and how she is being judged online. To stop it, Patience goes over to Miko's house with Layla's gun.

Patience seems to have a half-thought-out plan that forces Coop and Preach to put Patience in the perspective of the law and the amount of jail time she would get for pre-meditated plans. Recognizing all of the details of the situation, Patience agrees not to go through with her plan.

Keeping connections and communication have played a role in the foundation of the relationships with All American's sixth season, as everyone has tried to step up in being more forthcoming with their feelings to avoid conflict or drama that could run on for too long.

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