On Friday Night Lights
Sex, Lies, Booze, and the Perfect Marriage
What I Learned from Eric and Tami Taylor
By Jonna Rubin
Like most people who watch Friday Night Lights, I became desperate to convert new viewers. After all, we were constantly reminded by television critics that it was in perpetual grave danger of cancellation. If you’re reading this, you probably share my sentiment that the show was too good to be in any danger, and perhaps you, like me, were wondering desperately what’s wrong with American television viewers that shows like Teen Mom continue in perpetuity while Taylor Kitsch and his alter ego, the delectable Tim Riggins, toil in relative obscurity.
The problem, of course, came when I tried to explain what it was about. Friday Night Lights is hard to describe–is it about football? Uh, not really. Lord knows, I’m no football fan, yet I all but organized a write-in campaign to ensure the show’s safety, year after year. Conversely, my husband insists it’s the football that makes the show, and its emotional underpinnings, palatable for someone like him–the kind of person who would rather gnaw off his own fingers than endure another Mer-Der dramafest in Grey’s Anatomy.
Yet, I will argue–and have argued, after more consideration than is probably healthy–that the very foundation of Friday Night Lights is as emotionally evocative as it gets, and its heart is anything but football. It is, of all things, the marriage of Eric and Tami Taylor. Without them–and their relationship–Friday Night Lights is little more than a house of cards festooned with cute photos of football players.
The cast of students, parents, and ancillary characters …