This February, I watched all 76 episodes of Friday Night Lights.
Somehow—despite the facts that I live in Texas and loved the movie and care about sports and am obsessed with small-town culture—I never got it together enough to watch it when it was actually on the air. I’m part of the problem of why the critically-acclaimed show long struggled in the ratings and for that I must find a way to forgive myself.
But then there came that one insomnia-ridden night in February when, adrift on Netflix, I clicked on the pilot episode. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Kyle Chandler’s coach Eric had the weight of the world on the shoulders of his blue coach’s jacket and Connie Britton, who plays his magnificent wife, Tami, had this unicorn’s tail for hair and suddenly the quarterback was in the hospital and there was this guy Riggins who had these humongous shoulders and he blamed himself for the accident and he didn’t appear to have any parents and Explosions in the Sky was playing in the background…
And so began a strange couple of weeks in which I’m reasonably sure I showered and my young child was fed. “They’re all my friends and family and nothing makes sense to me when I’m out in the bright of day,” I told somebody who worried over the amount of time I was spending in my Friday Night Lights alternate universe.
Sometimes when I mentioned to people that I was deep into the show they’d make the mistake of saying they were fans too and I’d overwhelm them with overly impassioned play-by-play. How much did your heart swell when Riggins’ dad showed up at the game? Don’t you love it when Coach Eric gets Tami more wine? Aren’t you impressed by how they never drink and drive? Ugh, Julie. Grandma Saracen will be okay, don’t you think? Remember that time Coach Tami told Tyra to spike the volleyball right into Riggins’ throat? Or that time we got every angle of Riggins doing a round of back squats? Would you say your favorite supporting character is Mindy Riggins or Smash’s mother? Can you too recite Tyra’s UT application essay? Ugh, Julie. Panthers or Lions, or is that Sophie’s Choice? Skeeter!
I got used to people backing away from me slowly, saying that it had been a while. And they called themselves fans! READ FULL STORY