Thursday, October 26, 2006

Friday Night Lights

I've been meaning to post about how good Friday Night Lights is (full episode online here), but I keep putting it off. Now that Sarah H. has done so, I guess I might as well take my shot at describing what makes the show so good.

The biggest hurdle for many viewers is that Friday Night Lights is ostensibly about football, and people like you and me, we don't care about football. In high school, I went to maybe two or three football games, tops, and even then, it was only to hang out. I don't think I ever once paid attention to what was happening on the field.

But Friday Night Lights is about more than just football. It is about people who are under incredible pressure, who care about something deeply, and that is the essence of drama. It is quiet, subtle, oddly beautiful and achingly real. It captures the verve and spirit of a certain kind of American small town and its inhabitants with breathless intensity and authenticity. It does this without the sheen of Hollywood melodrama that coats the small town inhabitants of Jericho, and without sinking to the hamfisted stereotypes and condescending "sympathy" of Studio 60's take on the midwest. It is about small town life without looking down on small town life. This show finds real drama on a human scale, and makes you feel it; it makes it matter. Don't care about football? When the game rolls around on this show, you will.

I'm always a little reluctant to hit play on the TiVo, since I really have to brace myself to be absorbed into the show's world, but every time, it is exhilaratingly worth it.

Aw, heck. I like how Sarah puts it:

Here is what “Friday Night Lights” is like: it’s like some scientists took a gigantic bottle of Awesome into the lab and turned it into a TV show. I know what you’re thinking: it’s about football. And teenagers. Yes, but no. Not really. If you have eyes and ears and a heart not made of concrete, you should be watching this show. Actually, you should be watching it especially if you have a concrete heart, because it will BREAK IT AND REPLACE IT WITH A REAL ONE. That is how good it is.


crystal said...

Wow! So, Sarah and Rosie O'donnell are the same person? Your site truly is on the cutting edge.

Sarah said...


Anonymous said...

Rosie gushes pretty much the exact same way several days a week on the view. Including saying it would give heartless people hearts... don't play dumb!

Akela said...

Did you just diss "Jericho?" and was it deserved? (I cannot honestly answer that, just in case Big Brother is watching;)

I too am in love with FNL and I hope it gets picked up for a full season. The last episode hit home for me why I like the show so much; I grew up with these people (not Texans mind you, but that southern mentality) and their reaction to certain situations are how *real* people would act (*ahem*) and they take the time to show a decline in Jason's look (*cough*) unlike "some" shows where people still look like they just came out of a makeup trailer after a freakin' apocolypse. But I'm getting myself into trouble...

Also, Tami and the Coach act like my parents. When Coach realized he'd instructed the second string QB to get his daughter in the "back seat of a car" it was priceless. And the under the table argument while Tami wiped up beer was great, it was exactly what I've seen my mom do when my dad invites people over for family reunions without telling her.