I’ve been highly obsessed over my recent albeit delayed discovery of NBC’s television drama, Friday Night Lights. The series began in 2006 and ended in 2011, and it wasn’t until a recent date with my Netflix that lead me to enter the town of Dillon, Texas. Growing up, I watched really corny and cheesy TV shows. I was that girl. I watched The Wonder Years (who doesn’t love Kevin and Winnie?) Beverly Hills 90210 (the original, you know, with Dylan McKay?), Dawson’s Creek (team Pacey forever), Party of Five (I couldn’t resist Scott Baio’s dimples), The OC (Seth, oh Seth), and Grey’s Anatomy (sheer heartbreak all the time). So as shown by my track record, I love shows where growing up is not optional, friends are forever, love is anything but easy, and life’s rather unexpected. These are the themes that have shaped my life along with the people who are valuable entities within it. It’s no surprise that upon the opening scene of the pilot episode, I knew I was done for. I completed all 5 seasons in a short 3 weeks and still think I’m in Texas, for now and likely for always.
Friday Night Lights is about football, but really it is about family ties, first loves, crushed dreams, growing up, moving on, and the people along the way who help shape you to be the person you are. What really impressed me was the writing and the development of each character. Everyone gets a unique story, subplot, conflict, and at the end, sound resolution. In Texas or not, these conflicts are real and undeniably believable. I can write an entire book about everything I love about the show, but for now, I’ll leave with just one.
Lesson #1 I learned from FNL: You will fall, and everyone else around you will fall.
I’m going to take the original starting quarterback Jason Street as an example of this. “QB1″ they called him, equipped with a hot cheerleader girlfriend, ready for his chance to play pro ball and going to one of the best colleges in the country. Then in a dark instance, he gets hit on the field and is paralyzed from waist down. He won’t walk again let alone play football. All his dreams are shattered in an instant and not just his dreams, but his parents and his girlfriend’s dreams, all gone. His character grew on me, not only because of his determination but his unwillingness to back down. Though at times a stretch and unrealistic that he would end up with his dream job in a big city like New York, his depth, spirit, and strength to keep fighting is admirable. Jason Street did not take anything for face value. He dealt with his new life, had new struggles, and remained the good natured and well mannered QB we met during Season 1. He fell, but his journey getting back up is unshakenly something to believe in.
Now if you don’t watch or have never watched the show none of this will mean anything to you. But I urge you to try it.
“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” I’ll be back next week with Lesson #2…