And now you have to hear from me...
My journey to Friday Night Lights was an interesting one. It is one that began with a lovely show with cult-like status in the YA community – a show about a pixie sized blonde detective with snarky sensibility and a tongue like a razor....a little piece of heaven called Veronica Mars.
I was in mourning. If my housemates would have let me get away with it, I would have been in a darkened corner rocking back and forth in the foetal position. The third season had limped toward the finish line, there was an open ended conclusion that was fitting but annoying beyond belief and I needed a new fix. I had been hearing about FNL for a year. Television journalists had been extolling the virtues of Veronica Mars for years but when the last season was clearly THE END, they turned their adoration to FNL. Understandably I was pissed. Sure FNL and VM weren’t on the same network, they couldn’t really be compared and I hadn’t seen FNL but I resented this little show about footballers. I hate footballers, even in Australia they act like they own the world.
It wasn’t until I came across Sarah Dessen’s professions of FNL and Riggins love that I thought to give it the benefit of the doubt. In my Veronica Mars grief, I turned to another. I bought season one outright as the show wasn’t screened here in Australia. It arrived and I was still dubious.
Two days later, I had managed to watch the entire first season around my work hours. Quite an achievement you must admit. I fell in love. While Tim Riggins’ values have been extolled by Melissa Walker and Sarah Dessen, Kaz Mahoney’s crushing on the Coach and Trish Doller has a thing for Matt, I fell in deep in love with the Taylors.
Deep, heart breaking, their pain is my pain, LOVE.
I love my mum. I really do but Tami Taylor is awesomely perfect. Perfect in that she makes mistakes, commits to everything with passion, supports her husband and has great hair. I initially felt like I was being disloyal...wanting to replace my mum with Tami but then I realised that they are alike. My mum is short, has kinky hair and has a weird fixation for Twisties but she and Tami are remarkably alike. They are strong, independent women who look out for people. They don’t smother, or condescend, but they are there with advice but ultimately guide you to make your decisions and becoming your own person (a gift that can’t be underestimated). My love for Tami comes from my mum...and Connie Britton, who is simply remarkable. Breathtakingly beautiful, spunky and loveable.
I love Coach too. He’s nothing like my dad, I am not that lucky. Coach is a stand up guy, he’s demonstrates his love for his family all the time in many ways; whether it’s taking a moment to hear Tami’s gripes under a table or listening to Julie’s literary comparisons – he’s there for his family. He often has no idea what his “girls” are talking about, he can be charmingly obtuse at times, but he loves them. It’s Papa Bear love – gruff, sometimes stern, all encompassing and kinda furry (and by that I definitely mean his delightfully mussed hair). His bark is frightfully scary but his silence is even more so. He’s strong, he’s fair and he loves his kids, whether biological or not. He’s flawed but awesome...just like the actor who plays him, Kyle Chandler.
Lastly, Julie Taylor. She’s a pain in the neck, she’s wilful, she’s moody and she’s fierce in all that she does. Unlike many of the teens in Dillon, she’s got two parents that are there for her one hundred percent. She’s loved, fed and cared for and so her moods and actions can come across ungrateful, especially in comparison to Matt Saracen. Yet it’s Julie who really fits the bill of the typical teen experience. She’s fighting to be a grown up, to be independent and yet fearful that she’ll never be like her parents. Or worse yet, that she will be. Aimee Teegarden commits to the brat scenes in a way that is absolutely fearless and you cannot deny that they reason Julie rubs people up the wrong way is that we see our own teen selves in her. Her arguments with her parents and her attempts at manipulation could be word for word from my past. It scares me but in a good way.
I could go through the other characters and how much I adore them (with an exception to Lyla, probably the weak link of the show) but I won’t. This week has been about expressing love for the show and its characters. To hear about the absolute HEART of the show that swells and affects the audience each and every week, a show that squeezes tears out of this cold hearted shrew frequently. It’s a show that I have a huge need to share...thanks for letting me.
If there’s one good thing that came from Veronica Mars’ cancellation, it’s that I found FNL.