Caught the FNL Disease

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For years friends have been telling me to watch Friday Night Lights. And I just never did. I'm not a big TV watcher. And I don't say that in a “I'd rather sip Oolong and read Chaucer” tone. TV and I just lost that loving feeling years ago. Probably sometime around the moment Friends went off the air. But this weekend, I finally, FINALLY popped in the Season One dvd.

Oh shoot, y'all.
It's good.

Okay, so episode one breaks all the writing rules and has no point, no story and is just character set-up. Had I not been completely bored, I would've stopped right there. But I didn't want to vacuum pushed through. And I'm glad I did. I really like this show. I was raised in a very small town, so a lot of this is real to me. Prayers before and after football games, town folk who live and die for Friday night, coaches with their jobs on the line due to wins/losses. I've only watched 7 episodes (in 24 hours, thankyouverymuch), but I've heard it only gets better.

Here is what I like about it:

1. Small town life (Sorta. Except this town isn't too small because they have an Applebee's. You cannot get riblets in a true small town.)
2. Coach Whats-his-name and Tammy. They have one of the best TV marriages since Cliff and Clare Huxtable. I took some mental notes watching Coach's wife. He would screw up majorly, like not tell her 100 people were coming over for dinner, and she would not have a total Kardashian meltdown. Then they would talk about it later. She is uber patient and understanding. I don't really understand those qualities, but maybe by the time I get to Season Two, it will have sunk in.
3. Matt Saracen. There are all these football studs in the series, yet Matt, currently QB1 (a new term for me; I plan to throw it around from time to time, whether it's relevant or not), is an awkward nerd. I keep thinking, “I know this kid. I taught this kid. I went to school with this kid.” He's so…normal. The guy who plays him (was Rory's love interest in Grad School) gives it the total Meryl Streep Special, becoming the character and bringing it alive with all these natural nuances and gestures. It's so teen boy. Unsure teen boy. And his BFF is hilarious.
4. Matt's BFF, What's-His-Name II. He looks like a descendant of Matt Damon. They have to be related by no more than three degrees of separation. He is funny in a dry, not really supposed to be funny sort of way. And he is big on advice. Any time Matt takes his advice, it goes bad. REAL bad. And Matt's BFF always gives this sage advice, then just keeps going. And Matt always says, “What does _______ have to do with_______?” And BFF always says, “That's not important!” Worst advice giver ever. But funny.

Things I don't like about FNL:

1. School inaccuracies. Regular joes do not get to make big decisions about recruiting players. Regular joes, even if on the athletic booster club, do not interact with agencies INVESTIGATING the players you recruited.

2. A coach's job is never secure. That is true. But for a coach to worry about losing his job after one game loss? Not realistic. And for town folk to harass the coach and his daughter after one loss? Not realistic. They usually wait a few games in. Actually a coach in a small town usually has about two years before he's kicked out for a high number of losses. This job instability is the only reason I didn't become a coach myself. Because we all know how much I love any excuse to wear my Nike warmups and yoga pants.

3. Boobies. Okay, can we just button up our shirts, ladies? Here's a little tip for scholastic authenticity, schools have something called DRESS CODES, especially Southern schools. Unless you're at like School of Ho Baits. Or School of Boobies. But Coach Whatshisname and his lady? Not at either of those places. Tammy, the coach's wife, magically becomes the school counselor. And she is all about her some cleavage. Which is totally unrealistic. Because everyone knows you cannot counsel children on their ACTs and home problems if there is cleavage. And Tammy wears jeans. Jeans and a spaghetti strap top. TO WORK. Does Tammy ever wear sleeves? Does Tammy ever wear a turtle neck? I have yet to get to a winter episode, but I'm pretty sure Tams will be in a halter top. And the girl students wear the same thing. Like the kind of tops that get you suspended for a week. And what parents let their kids out with those shirts on? These parents are all up in their kids' business, so it wouldn't be THESE parents. I'm just sorry I didn't see this show earlier, because I would've lent my Authentic Educational Advisement Abilities to FNL. Gladly. For not much money. Just six figures. And a pashmina for Tammy.

4. Riggins. I know I'm about to lose a bunch of readers here, but I'm not a fan of Riggins. I've heard about this guy FOREVER. I knew him and didn't even watch the dang show. But seriously, girls? And seriously fifty year old ladies? RIGGINS? I know he's cute in real life. But on this show, as far as episode seven, he has greasy hair that hasn't been washed in a few weeks, he drinks Miller Lite for breakfast, he gets it on with his newly paralyzed best friend's girl (obviously because she has too much cleavage), and has no personality. And we like him WHY? I just keep seeing this character in five years. He'll be a fry cook at the catfish house, he'll have 2 illegitimate children on welfare he can't pay for and never sees, which he will somehow place the blame on the Baby Mamas, and be living in a pay by week hotel where he chain smokes and harasses little kids into buying his booze and Dollar Menu burgers. How is this sexy? Matt is the guy who has the nerd best friend and takes care of his dementia-plagued grandma. And he washes his hair! And says, “Yes, sir.” And drinks milk for breakfast. And washes his hair.That's the one to pick. Not Riggins. And yeah, I get the bad boy attraction theory, but for that theory to hold, the bad boy has to have some redeeming qualities hidden in there. Like hygiene.

Thank you for letting me get this off my appropriate-shirt-covered chest. Do any of you watch FNL? Do I keep watching? Is Riggins gonna grow on me? Is he ever going to shower?


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 15 comments
Madison Kennemur - September 6, 2011

I just started watching FNL also. I love Matt and Landry (at least in the first season, it gets iffy in the second). I felt sorry for Riggins as the show progressed. The big attraction for this show definatly is the relation to Friday night football.

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Jess - September 6, 2011

I just finished the homecoming espisode today, it has been sitting on my Netflix instant queue for a LONG time! And I like you, have caught the FNL Fever. I totally agree with you about Riggins and Matt and truly my favorite part is Tammy and Coach’s marriage and their relationship with their daughter (although Coach should stop suggesting that Matt get a girl in the backseat of his car and WHY was she at the big kegger party???).
I live in the Seattle area so the whole Friday Night Football phenominom is crazy to me! I had to laugh in the last episode as Julie was telling her dad that she looked up open coaching positions and there was one in Seattle and she then asked if there was indeed football in Seattle! 🙂 I think his response was “Yes there is but it’s not the same!”

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capillya - September 6, 2011

Every time I saw Saracen on the screen, I wanted to go and hug it. I wanted to tell him to stop fiddling with his buzz cut and flicking his ear, and to tell him, “You can do it. You can get the girl. You can beat that team. Because you’re smart. And you work hard. And you take care of your grandma. Stop yes ma’aming me. Just kidding. You can yes ma’am me again if you want. Also can you make me a fudge sundae.” And I swear up and down this is totally appropriate for 2 reasons: a) Saracen is only a year older than me IRL and dos) I may have a big ol’ fictional crush on Saracen but lemme tell ya my husband is probably the biggest fangirl with a crush on RIGGINS.

Yeah, Riggins. I can’t promise you that he washes his hair, but I’ll tell ya that I had the same feeling about him when I was watching season one. The kinda feeling that made me want to wash my hands when I was watching the show. It took until the latter half of season 2 for him to drunkenly crawl his way into my heart. But it happened.

Boobies-baring and drunkenness aside, I’m all about some character-driven stories. I love Coach and (as Saracen calls her) Mrs. Coach. And oh dear goodness if we’re going to get keep you glued onto the Tami Taylor Train you’ve gotta give her name the justice of spelling it Tami. =) I see her fight her battles and say, “Man she inspires me to be a better woman. When is she going to speak at an inspirational conference?!”

I’m really really crossing my fingers no one posts any spoilers on this post! I better not have to play TV police! (We’re a few episodes into season 3) Landry also wins my heart. His wry sense of humor coupled with always wanting to do the right thing makes him one of my favorites, too.

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Ashley - September 6, 2011

I definately recommend you continue watching!! I do not find him attractive on or off the show, but Tim Riggins will grow on you by the end of the last season. He comes across as someone who pretty much doesn’t care about anything in lfe, but you get to see him change and figure out his priorities as the show goes on. I agree with you about Matt Saracen though! I only wish he lived in my small town! 🙂

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GreenBeanTeenQueen - September 6, 2011

OK, I’m sold. I NEED to watch this show. Actually, husband just said the other night we should watch it because I’ve been telling him forever how good it’s supposed to be. And if you’re liking it now, then I HAVE to watch it-we have similar tastes in TV. I have the series on Netflix so I just have to watch it finally huh?

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Erin McFarland - September 6, 2011

I’m crying. I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Amen and Amen to you list.
I had some marathon runs of FNL on Netflix instant streaming myself. I actually gave up sleep to play just one more tiny episode…one or two more and then I promised myself I’d go to bed. And then something HUGE would happen and I would have to have some resolution!!!! So just one more. Oh man it was bad.
Ya know, the high school boys in that show just did NOT look like 16 and 17 year olds. Riggins has a pretty face (and yes nasty hair) but come on, he’s gotta be on like round 4 of senior year to look like that.
Love Coach and Tami.
Boobies ARE everywhere. Figured it was just a TX thing. Or a ratings thing :).
Still haven’t finished the final season…they started losing me at the end of season 4.

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Word Lily - September 7, 2011

I think you’ll feel differently about Riggins in awhile (as in, a season or so, not in a couple episodes). I’m not saying he gets everything together, but as they unveil some of his background, he becomes more of a whole person and thus harder to dismiss.

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Kate - September 7, 2011

YES, keep watching. You’ll have to suspend your (teacher) disbelief at many things (see my note on season 2 below) but there’s always one line or one character’s look that makes each individual show.

I was also annoyed at Riggins in the beginning, but he grows on you because he starts growing up. And that’s the magic of the show — you see folks (even the adults) grow up. I felt the same way about Tyra, but in the end, you are rooting for her.

The biggest draw for me was always the Taylor marriage, and the smoldering death looks that are resolved in usually reasonable ways; however, the writers keep it real and let it get messy and ugly at times.

Not meaning to be a spoiler: there are some weird (ridiculous, unrealistic, even annoying)story lines in the second season. Push through them. The show recovers its rhythm and reality later on. I promise you, it’s worth it. Never has my heart fluttered at a show’s theme music, but FNL does it for me every time.

And yes to the Saracen love. NOTE: Don’t watch the ill-fated “Off The Map” show. My friend and I screamed at the TV in every episode, “YOU ARE NOT MATT SARACEN? WHERE IS MATT?” because his character was such a tool. (And Landry is the name of his best friend. Great character name, if you ask me. What a loveable goof — and he just gets better, too… after the 2nd season detour into what-the-heckness.)

Glad you’re getting into it! Stay with it!

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Dawn - September 7, 2011

So with you, Jenny!! Especially on Riggins. He does get better! Hang in there! Loved Season 1. Love the way Kate put it, “2nd season detour into what-the-heckness.” So true! I admit I had to fast forward through much of Season 2–only stopping when I saw favorite character(s)–Matt! Have Season 3 in my Blockbuster queue, but I keep moving M1-5 discs ahead of FNL.

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Capillya - September 7, 2011

After reading a few of the comments (no spoilers, yay!) I have to remind you: Season 2 = WRITER’S STRIKE. =(

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Mary - September 7, 2011

Hang in there — I’m in Season two (not the best and apparently the time of the writers’ strike). I thought the same thing about Riggins too — didn’t see the attraction, but he grows on you. Like a fungus? Nah, you’ll see through the icky and into the pain he deals with.
and THANK YOU on the boob reference. Seriously, Tami! Cover them up! At least while you’ll doing the counseling gig.
I, too think Landry (Matt’s bff) is one of the best characters — he’s funny & smart, great combo.
Glad you like it — and at the rate you’re watching you’ll catch up with me.

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Jenny B Jones - September 7, 2011

Should I even watch Season Two?
What is M1-5? Is this something else I need to watch?
And I have been surprised how old these actors really are. Like Lila is 32 in real life.
And I know the cleavage and boobage is for ratings and sex appeal, but do we see low cut scrubs on doctor shows?
And I just saw where “Jason” is going to be in a new show this fall. Cannot remember which one. Oh, Heart of Dixie.

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bookwyrm14 - September 7, 2011

Doesn’t sound like my kind of show…I’m more a British sci-fi sort of girl. 🙂

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Sabrina - September 8, 2011

Oh, Jenny! You crack me up. I laughed out loud and my co-worker came arounc the corner and asked what’s up? I just said “Boobies” and then had to tell her about your school of ho-bait comment. Oh my goodness girl, it’s like you should be a writer or something! 😉

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Dawn - September 8, 2011

MI-5–definite must see! BBC series about the British Intelligence Service. With all of our favorite British actors–Matthew McFayden(sp), Rupert Penry Jones, Richard Armitage–through the different Seasons. I think they just finished Season 9. I have caught up to the middle of Season 5.

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