Monday, April 4, 2011

Comfort TV Part 2....Friday Night Lights

In homage to the final season of Friday Night Lights coming out on DVD soon, I have decided to discuss comfort TV again. I am a football junkie making it not remotely surprising I wanted to get involved with a football show. Add to it the stress of southern football and a town more entranced with muscled up teenagers than education and you had a debate I wanted to get into. I must admit, I watched the first episode of FNL wanting to love it and left feeling super disappointed. It did not take me long to realize that I had entered the showing with the wrong attitude. Much like other TV if you are thinking one thing you can ruin your experience by placing unfair expectations on what you are about to see. I sat down for a second viewing with a much more open mind.

I am not quite sure why I expected something more "Any Given Sunday," but I did. It did not take me long to grow into the complex characters that drew me in and kept me coming back for more. I know some of my friends will slap me for this given their experience with different show runners, but I couldn't help but feel as though I had walked into "Dawson's Creek" with more realistic dialogue. I quickly loved the tone of the show and the way the football brought out an important side of all these characters. Now I was a Creek fan, but this was so much more honest as to what people might face with the added joy of Kyle Chandler as coach. Then it hit me...I've grown up. I don't want to grow up and don't think of myself as a grown up and I definitely don't act like one a majority of the time, but liking this teary, heartfelt type of television more than overly articulated teenage angst, well that's a change. Is it a good one? Probably.

The speeches and lessons these kids learned, especially the hard way, did not feel as though they were being spoken down to. "Dawson's Creek" tried to do that by giving the characters a vocabulary out of their reach, especially lines but a high school failure, what? Instead these moments from family troubles, marriage issues, school funding problems, and even inflated egos were dealt with on a level that seemed genuine and often led to tears. And you do still get to feel a bit like a kid as you are dragged into the minds of the teenagers but you balance it out with well written adult characters. Adults you actually wouldn't mind being. I can't think of a single adult I would want to be on the Creek, they were flat, boring people. Is TV the reason I don't like the word grown-up? I was ecstatic when they found a way to keep the show going for another few seasons with a Direct TV deal, even though it meant I had to wait longer than others to see it.

Now as the series comes to a close I find myself saddened by the fact I won't have the coach to offer me sage advice. I won't have random debates to have with idiot boys who believe the new curly haired girl is just as good as Lila Garrity in different ways. (I call her not-Lila, he calls her Lila 2, as if!) I want the coach to turn the "loser" school into the best football school as a big "in your face" to the jerks now heading the Panthers. I want Tami Taylor to win out and get some funding for books and necessities, proving education does mean something to these kids in the long run.

It is funny how a show becomes associated with a time in your life, how you can be pulled in by the complexity of it as an escape rather than a stress. I am sure it will live on in my collection as one of the things I pull out when I need to hear what coach has to say just as I sometimes need to relapse into pop culture insanity via "Gilmore Girls." The only question that remains, do I lock myself up for 24 hours and have single FNL blow out or do I savor it and force myself to enjoy it slowly? Who am I kidding, I am horrible at self-control, it's gonna be a single all out marathon of television greatness where I hope Riggins and Lila find their way back to one another. Then I will go back to watching "Parenthood," another Jason Katims helmed show that will make you cry. It's not coach but the cast is stellar and the writing impeccable. I am certain I will be writing an ode to it as well someday.


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