Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Texas Forever

Two little words that echo in the hearts of many Texans: TEXAS FOREVER. This famous phrase came from an award-winning show called Friday Night Lights (FNL). The dialogue between two main characters went a little something like this...
Tim: Here's to God and football and, ten years from now, Street, good friends livin' large in Texas. Texas forever, Street.
Jason: Texas forever.
I first started watching FNL after MANY friends recommended this show to me. The show revolves around two main themes - Texas and football. Now, the former I absolutely love and have so much loyalty to; the latter... seemed foreign to me.

But alas, I threw myself wholeheartedly into watching this show one Christmas break. I cannot count all the ways the show has shaped and transformed my perception of the great Lone Star State and the tumultuous tales of Texas football. If you have never watched this show, I encourage you to set aside some time (like a lot of time because the show is 5 seasons long!), and prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster. I will be the first fan to say you don’t have to be a football expert to enjoy the show - heck, you don’t even have to know the rules of the game to enjoy the passion of watching Texas football in such a raw form. My heart was racing after every episode, and thanks to the mockumentary format that the show is presented in, you feel like you are actually there.

If you have never seen, or heard, of this show, you are missing out on one of the finest shows that has ever aired on television. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to the lame time slot they were slotted in, but we won’t go there. FNL’s main premise is focusing on the small (fictional) town of Dillon, Texas. The show zooms in on a group of high school students who are somehow involved with the school’s football team. Of course you have your traditional high school cast of characters - jock, cheerleader, nerd, bad boy, wanna-be, etc., but you also have a family unit in the form of Coach Taylor and his wife. The struggles of teens that he interacts with through the Dillon Panthers Football team became the basis of every episode. Don’t get me wrong -- this show isn’t just about some dramatic teenage angst (though there certainly is enough of that to go around) -- it’s packed with TONS of football that sometimes feels like an ESPN highlight reel. Anyway, don’t trust my (lousy) description of the show to reel you in -- log in to Netflix or check your local listings to see if FNL is airing on a channel near you.

What you get from this show, besides the heart behind the sport, is the courage to overcome adversity and the deep sense of being part of something bigger. The characters portray a part of Texas that most of us are not privy to, but you’ll soon speak of Tim, Street, Lyla, Saracen, Landry, Tyra, Coach Taylor, Tammy Taylor, and the rest of the gang as if they were your best friends. Let’s be honest here -- a lot of us are a far time away from our high school glory days, but there is something about rootin’ for the underdog that never gets old.

I would hardly call myself an avid sports fanatic, but I would confidently say that this show changed the inner fan in me by teaching me about lovin’ what you play and rooting for your team till the bitter end. So join me every so often as I relive and unpack the excitement that is Texas sports through the eyes of Friday Night Lights. TEXAS FOREVER.

Photos courtesy of thefilmstage.com and statravel.com


I've said it before but I'll say it again...

FNL = most underrated show ever.

Great article, Kelly!

Agreed - definitely an underrated show, but I'm glad they were able to get 5 seasons out of it thanks to DirecTV.

I thought that the football action was one of the weaker parts of the show. Some of those championship game/desperation plays were borderline ridiculous, but the show ultimately isn't really about football any way - what made the show great was the drama and the stories about the town and all the fantastic characters/families as Kelley pointed out.

Huge crush on Julie Taylor...

*spoiler alert*

True I definitely agree about the drama and story lines. Only Coach Taylor can make you root for the Panthers with all your heart one season and then for the East Dillon Lions the next.

My bad, Kelley. Misspelled your name. Can't wait for your next article.

Are you serious? She was tolerable in season 1, but in subsequent seasons, she was by far my least favorite character!

In any case, FNL is my all-time favorite show. Blind loyalty to it is reason why I am planning on watching Tim Riggins go to space in what looks to be a truly terrible movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rf55GTEZ_E

Chronicle is pretty good if you like Vince. But yes, <3 Julie Taylor

Looking forward to Battleship too with Tim Riggins AND Landry!!

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