It has been a while since my last post. I could say I’ve been preoccupied with a New Year and setting goals; making plans for how I’m going to be a better human being this year. But that would be a lie.
I’ve been watching Friday Night Lights.
I’m hard-pressed to remember how this latest obsession began. I believe I read on someone’s blog how Friday Night Lights had been one of her favorite shows. The same blogger who has steered me wrong on countless book recommendations, so why I thought to follow her suggestion to watch this television show, about high school football, is beyond me.
But the name stuck with me and once, possibly a few years ago now, when the professor was out of town, I found the show on Netflix [potential New Year’s Resolution #1: stay away from Netflix] and watched the first episode. It occurred to me that the show, being largely constructed around a sport and all, might be something the professor and I could watch together, so I suspended my viewing efforts.
Until a little over a week ago. With nothing to watch while we wait for House of Cards and The Americans to return, and the professor’s continuing lament that nobody shares his love of sport-watching, I suggested we watch Friday Night Lights. And that is essentially what I have been doing ever since.
Sneaking in an episode (or two) before bed. Propping the ipad against a wall while I prep food or wipe my walls clean of who-knows-what, and folding laundry, all to the soundtrack of Coach Taylor yelling ‘clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose’ and Tami Taylor offering wisdom to Dillon’s high school students like ‘there’s no weakness in forgiveness.’
The professor has retained only minimal interest in the show. ‘Call me when they’re playing football,’ he said one night as he walked back to his own laptop, because the actual playing of football comprises roughly two minutes of every episode. Which is probably why I’ve managed to become enslaved to the show. Mostly it is the unfolding of drama, the patching up of drama…..and the wisdom.
I could watch Kyle Chandler’s Coach Taylor and Connie Britton’s Tami Taylor all day. Actually, I kind of am. But, all kidding aside, watching these fictional characters invest in the lives of the youth around them, [overtly] biting their tongues in tense situations and speaking their minds when it’s called for, well it’s entertainment, self-help and inspiration all in one television show.
Now that I think of it, maybe I shouldn’t feel bad about watching this show, it’s more or less the equivalent of reading (a somewhat shallow, reduced to soundbites) book on leadership and parenting and marriage, with a lot of ‘hayel’ (that’s hell in a southern accent) and ‘ayuss’ (that’s ass) thrown in.
Also, watching Coach Taylor end most of his – usually tense – conversations with a strangely old-fashioned ‘say hello to your mother’ is equal parts genius and hilarious. As though, with just the right inflection, this statement brimming with manners could become the ultimate kiss-off.
To be fair, there are some points of contention with the show: the absent parents (two of the main characters are growing up without any parents around), the apparent lack of a legal drinking age in Texas (like, in drinking establishments that presumably have some legal obligations around not serving beer to sixteen year olds) or the fact that the Taylor’s daughter was able to get a tattoo at age 16 without parental consent. There are also 76 episodes in the series, which is going to pose a serious threat to my external obligations for the next few weeks.
But mostly the show makes me want to speak in a southern accent, dismissing anyone who annoys me with a ‘say hello to your mother.’ Hence, next time you see me, if I speak in inspiring soundbites with vaguely Texan colloquialisms, you’ll know why.