Friday Night Lights

I don’t have cable and tend to only watch television shows the DVDs of which my friends pass along. Since perhaps 4 years ago, I have not found anything worthwhile, preferring instead to geek it out inside of novels. For this reason, I rarely come across a television show which devastates me. Friday Night Lights is, undoubtedly, the most devastating of shows I have been an audience to in 30 years.

The family values, relationship and community values which this show speaks to are heartbreaking and hilarious and exactly where I wish to be.

Let me immediately get out of the way that: this is the best written, best directed and best acted show I have ever watched.

In all technical incarnations, it is simply brilliant, filled with characters, each of whom is beautifully flawed and therefor more real than any famewh*re found in reality television; Friday Night Lights is a welcome slice of home-made pound cake.

Additionally, there are no god-awful metrosexuals on this show; it is unapologetically a show where men are men and women are women (without falling into the stereotypical gender boundaries other television shows inevitably flop and default to because their writing team is a composite of idiots).

Also, I am usually a crying mess at least once during every episode…

The characters
Let me get something out of the way: this is a show of man meat. Man Meat for which you will be grateful.

Granmaw Saracen, who reminds me of my mama looks-wise and who I wish to hug every time she graces my screen. I love her so and hope the writers never take her off the show. Ever. And if they must, then that they would please write a new show called Tiara, Pie & Eye Wear Shopping With Granmaw Saracen. She breaks my heart every time and I love her as much as I love her fictional grandson…
Mattew Saracen, the sweetest kid in the world and what every momma should want as her daughter’s first boyfriend; note, for our daughters not us, because we tend to be foolish and reckless and are instead drawn to the likes of…
Tim Riggins, not nearly as pretty as I am. Troubled boy with a sick retarded body; the stripper with a heart of gold, only he’s not a stripper (why not, Writers?!). Perfect to look at, but not built for long-term situations; just let your imaginations run rip shod over the topography of his body and stop. Thirty-three also has a sort of mini-me, his brother…
Billy Riggins, who could always use more chap-stick and who is all kinds of redneck funny and probably a lady killer, much like Tim, when he had more hair. (Writers! Please tell us more about Tim and Billy and their drunk dad.)

There’s also THE SMASH, who has the world’s greatest smile and who is cocksure and arrogant and sexy and still scared of…
THE SMASH MOMMA, one of the prettiest ladies I have ever seen and on whose very large breasts I would like to be comforted and maybe take a nap, please. (Don’t judge me until you’ve seen how comfortable everyone looks when she hugs them.)
A special shout out here to Nonni, THE SMASH SISTER, and an exquisite little actress.

Landry, hilarious geek who is the long-lost-cousin of Matt Damon, hopelessly in love with…
Tyra, whose character development has been fascinating, though predictable. I guess the alternative would have been the crackwhore in Fame, and I’m happier with this sort of a Tyra, who far outdoes…
Layla who, though am sure she is a really lovely girl in real life, I wish would just stop her Nose-Whisper-Talking, please. But while you’re still there, why don’t you – on behalf of the sisterhood, that is – cup Riggins’ bum more often? And undo his shirt? And tousle his hair? And kiss his eyelids? And lick his neck? And bite his chin?
Anyway. Layla is the daughter of…
Buddy who I hated during season one and then sort of felt sorry for and started to love in season two. He is a sloppy sort of character who clearly eats much too much steak and chicken-fried-chicken and chicken-fried-steak, but for whom you can’t help but cheer in the darker recesses of your mind. (GO! BUDDY! GO!)

Jason Street, maybe the first major character in a show who happens to be a quadriplegic. Good for you FNL! Bravo indeed. Jason is an amazing character, so innocent and sweet and honest and loyal and all kinds of good even though he looks like Ray Liotta who is capable of much evil in character. Even when six is angry, he is adorable.
His other quad friend, who is mean, but only because he really loves Jason (this sentence makes me sound as a 7 year old). I have forgotten his character’s name; no matter, he is brilliant like the rest.

Julie Taylor, the perfect moon-faced teenager, angry, frustrated, irritated, bratty, in love with Mattew Saracen and daughter of…
Tammy Taylor, she of the greatest breasts on telly. Among the strongest female characters to ever hit the screen, with the perfect lines, always the perfect lines (e.g. “I gotta pump and dump, baby. I love you. Don’t touch me.”).

Sidebar: Tammy should have a 1-800 number to which I can call in my problems and she can tell me what to do.

This character is the perfect mix and balance of femininity, strength, devotion and loyalty without loss of self. The actress who plays Tammy is simply gorgeous and the chemistry between Tammy and her husband is palpable.

Prey, who then, is her husband?

The one man with whom I have fallen in love: Coach Eric Taylor. A man of very few but always intelligent words. (Dear Writer: Marry me?) I understand that I should be ogling the younger Man Meat, but I am much more turned on by this more mature male, it would seem (suspect it’s Riggins that the Writers wish for us to be eyesexing, but his boyishness can’t hold its own against the complete manliness of Coach).

Coach Taylor, with his angry hair and eyebrows, biting-of-his-inner-bottom-lip, and adorable man shorts makes me weak at the knees. Especially when he doesn’t know what to say, or is so frustrated all he can do is a sexy nose twitch in his terribly ugly sports sunglasses (which, by the way, ought to be outlawed and men only allowed to wear aviators).

This fictional character is, in my head and imagination, how a real man behaves. A man who fiercely loves and is devoted to his family and his team and his community; a man who really truly understands morality and does his absolute utmost to always maintain the fabric of that morality even while he knows he may be failing because he is, at the end of the day, only human.

(Is it a surprise that he is fictional? Honest question, this…)

My favourite lines uttered by Coach Taylor: “Women are to be respected.”
“You’re wrong. You are dead wrong.”
I. Love. Coach.

My favourite scene, driving home the strength of this fictional character: When Tammy tells him she slapped Julie (who, let’s face it, deserved a solid beat down in that moment, because who dates an Elvin man-child, anyway?).

Why aren’t you watching this show yet?
Please watch this show; it shall make your life a better place. Promise. (Don’t thieve download it, though; make sure you are making your viewing count, or it shall vanish to The Cemetery of Excellent Writing, Acting & Directing All But For A Crap Audience.)