I have decided, after much chewing and thinking and mulling, that Friday Night Lights is the best show ever to be on the television ever. Before Friday Night Lights I would have said Survivor (yes I would too), but it is hardly comparable. I will say at the beginning of this piece that I have not seen The Wire, but doubt highly that it could hold any candle to FNL.
Now, I've been watching TV my whole life, like most of us have, and have cried and laughed at all the same moments most of us have:
When David hit that girl on the Real World.
Sam & Diane
When Jack hacked off that guy's hand on 24
Dr. Nice Eyes (didn't everyone call him that?) on St. Elsewhere, when he lost his wife and her heart was put into a new lady and he listened to it. Gah, remember that?
Dr. Green dying on E.R.
But these are just moments, representations of shows. For a long time I thought St. Elsewhere was the best show on television ever as well...it was really a first of its kind, the medical drama and all that.
But Friday Night Lights is not "new." There is nothing new about it, hell, there was a movie, a book, and a copycat (varsity blues, another one of my favorites but on the guilty pleasures list) movie.
What Friday Night Lights is, is realistic. The teenagers are not stupid kids worrying about facebook and blowjobs. They are smart and intelligent and thoughtful. There is true love, not like Princess Bride love, but real husband/wife love...sometimes painful, sometimes a struggle, sometimes beautiful. The writing is, I don't even know how to explain, they write like people talk, interrupting, talking over, long pauses where no one knows what to say.
There are no crazy soap opera scenarios, the closest we've gotten is Landry killing that guy and we were all so worried, was FNL jumping the shark? Trust is what we need to learn.
Whoever cast this show should get a special prize. The kids are so well cast, they look like actual people, Landry..Saracen.
And I'm not sure how much of this is planned out, but have you ever noticed you never see any of the FNL kids running around in US Magazine? I never hear stories about who they're dating and why, about which restaurant they're going to, about how drunk they got the night before. It's silent on that front. I was completely surprised to see Riggins in Wolverine (yeah, we saw the bootleg) and he is so fully Riggins to me I kept telling John what a good job Riggins was doing in the movie.
And then, there's Coach. Rawr.
I have never been quite so touched by a television show as I am with this one. They have somehow created characters that I can relate to, I can relate to each one of them. Remember that speech Tyra's mom gave her episode before last? About being special and surprising? I remember that speech, I got it from my mother. I remember sobbing and staring at her and wishing with everything that I am that she was telling me the truth and that there was hope. I saw that exact look on Tyra's face, and then I lost it and wept. And that is one tiny moment.
I'm so sad I have to wait another year, so very sad.