27.5.08

OMFG. Best. Show. Ever. Ever.

My husband went away for a week recently. While he was gone, I fell in love. I haven't told him yet, but my new love is smart, funny, sexy, and I just can't get enough of it. Yes, it.

I fell in love with Friday Night Lights.

When it first aired I thought "A show about football? Nyeh." But writers' group buddies David and Amanda both urged me to watch. And I thank them here and now. I owe them one, really, I do.

Now I'm gonna pay that favor forward. If you haven't seen it, do yourself the biggest damn solid ever and check it out. Every episode is on nbc.com for free, and there's no new TV on the box right now, so you really have no excuse not to.

By 2009 (God, I can't believe we have to wait until 2009!) I hope to have spread the word far and wide enough that FNL's viewing figures have doubled – at least. We owe it to TV to keep this show on the air.

If you trust my taste enough to just go watch, just go watch. If not, keep reading and I will convince you by listing...

A few reasons I crave Friday Night Lights

Coach Taylor
I'm going to do my best not to gush, but gushing is what men like Coach Taylor were made for. Never mind that he's kind of an ideal husband, father, and coach. Never mind that he's eye-poppingly well-played by Kyle Chandler. Never mind that he looks so good in blue (and green, and burgundy, and...). 

The thing that really gets me right here about Coach Taylor is how wonderfully true the character is, to himself and his ideals. No matter what madness is happening around him, he's tough, he's steady, he's moral -- but he's not perfect. He gets jealous when he shouldn't get jealous, he loses his temper and knocks people (even students) around now and again, he makes bad decisions, and he says the wrong thing sometimes. But he always makes it right in the end, and that's why I keep on loving him. I know I'm supposed to want to marry Coach Taylor, but really, I'd just love to write for this guy.

Spy-cam
When you watch FNL, everything feels real. It's the opposite of the surreality of an Ugly Betty or a Pushing Daisies (both of which, incidentally, I love, but not nearly as much as I love FNL). Of course, the reality has a lot to do with the writing and the acting and the directing and the filming on location in Texas. But it owes its warmth and truth to the shaky spy-cam shooting. It makes you feel like you're listening in on a conversation you shouldn't be hearing, which, if you have a voyeuristic bone in your body, just makes you want to know more and more.

No super-heroes, spaceships, or mysterious smoke-monsters
Don't get me wrong. I love Lost. And Battlestar. And Bufy. I even liked Heroes there for a while. But not every show needs to be based in some alternate reality where people can store all of the CIA's greatest secrets in their brain. The world doesn't always need to be ending. Lives don't always have to be in jeopardy. Sometimes, it's nice just to watch a show about people, doing their normal people stuff, in their normal people lives, in some small town somewhere in Texas.

Nerds, jocks, and nerd-jocks
Guess what, jocks and cheerleaders are people, too. They're insecure, kinda sweet, and they love their mommas, just like geeks do. These jocks are just like real people, only with more active sex lives. I also adore Landry, FNL's resident geek. He's not some insecure speccy kid with a big brain and a wedgie. Even if no one else knows it, he knows he's really a cool guy and he doesn't give a crap what the 'cool' kids think of him. That's what the geeks who I went to school with were like. That's what I was like. Yay for dispensing with the stupid high-school stereotypes and drawing real, complex characters instead.

Football procedural
I don't like your average procedural. Crime-solving bores me after a while. But I love procedurals based around non-murder things. Like West Wing, a political procedural, or Buffy the Vampire procedural. FNL is a football procedural, pure and simple. Which is what makes it more powerful than, say, My So-Called Life. Instead of just being self-absorbed and kind of annoying (hey, I loved Angela, but she wasn't always that easy to take), everyone on this show either loves or hates football so much that even if they're not literally saving the world each week, that's what it seems like to them.

Snuffy Walden and Explosions in the Sky
A lot of the FNL soundtrack is by an Austin band called Explosions in the Sky. I've never really loved post-rock, but post-rock as atmospheric soundtrack to a brilliant TV show? It just works.

Much of the non-Explosions music is by composer Snuffy Walden. As if it's not cool enough that his name is Snuffy, his credits read like the watch list of my life. West Wing, Studio 60, Thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Sports Night, Huff, and, okay, about a zillion things I've never seen before (but maybe I should). When I hear the theme music to FNL (which sounds like Explosions but is really Snuffy), my heart pounds, I get chills. Chills, baby.

Okay, so, I could go on for days, but I'll have mercy, and stop. Just stop dithering and go watch the show. You can hold me personally responsible if you don't like it. But you will. So when you do, please tell a whole whack of people about it so it doesn't get replaced by something crap.


Next time on FNL gush-fest... I'll opine about FNL's (minute) failings and reveal my simple recipe for getting it back on track.

3 comments:

Maryilee said...

I wish I could say you made a convert, but I've been a huge fan of the show since day one. :-) Great post about it though. It sounds like you are a real writer. I just write fanfic, but I do love to write Coach Taylor.

Amanda said...

You're welcome. :)

Matt said...

I share your love of all things FNL. So much so that last semester I blew up a picture of Coach Taylor's face (and his amazingly gravity-resistant HAIR) and pasted all 16 printer pages of it on my College door. I have a completely heterosexual man-crush on this man.

Also, what you said about the lack of high-school stereotypes reminded me of something Ron Moore said: when he was in high school, he loved Star Trek AND was the quarterback for the football team. In the town he lived in, there really wasn't that divide. You could be a geek and a jock at the same time.

It makes me wonder if Mr. Katim's old friend Ron factored into Landy's character at all...