Today, on a whim, I re-watched the series premier of “Friday Night Lights”, an under-appreciated (and under-performing) series that began its life on NBC and was later moved to DirecTV for the remainder of its run, a run that lasted five seasons. I tried to get my ex to watch it a few times, but I’m afraid that I improperly sold it as a show about football, which it’s not, really. It’s a show about people that just happens to revolve around the compelling world of Texas high school football.
While many dismissed it based on this setting, or the perceived abundance of CW-style high school angst, I will always evangelize FNL as a show about how small-town people latching their hopes onto something bigger than themselves, using football to lift up their own meager lives in the hopes of achieving something more meaningful. So often, we ignore the importance of sports in our day-to-day lives, and the impact it can have on small towns and big cities alike. FNL was a show that understood the people who devote themselves to these pursuits, and the fact that those people had complicated lives that were made more manageable by rules, regulations, and the purity of competition that arises from a Friday night game.
It is also a show about marriage. I’m of course referring to Coach Eric Taylor and his wife, Tammy. Never have I witnessed a more accurate or honest depiction of marriage and the trials and tribulations associated with it. Their honest and heartfelt dialogue with each other, their ability to work together to solve the problems facing them by working as partners, and their undying faith in one another was truly inspiring. It is romance the most honest sense of the word: born out of love, tested by hardship, and made stronger by faith in the one you love.
I beg each and every one of you to give this wonderful series an honest shot. Simply watch the pilot (available both on Netflix Instant and various internet streaming services such as Hulu) and try not to be affected by it. There is simply nothing else on television like it, and there will likely be nothing after. It may seem trivial, but I assure you, it’s just about the most honest thing ever put on television.
Except that whole thing in the second season with the murder sub-plot. That shit was awful…at least they fixed it before it got really bad.
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