On Friday Night Lights

Viewers Wanted (Teens Need Not Apply)

By Robin Wasserman

There are, I am told, people out there in the cultural universe who are more than willing to accept–perhaps even encourage–the existence of tastes and proclivities that differ from their own.

Fair warning: I am not one of those people.

When I like something, and I mean really like it, I tend to find it inexplicable when the rest of the world doesn’t feel the same way.1 And suffice it to say, I like Friday Night Lights a lot. So you can imagine I’ve logged more than a few hours trying to figure out why it wasn’t the top-rated show on television, why it didn’t sweep the Emmys on an annual basis, why it wasn’t mandatory viewing for . . . well, everyone with a pulse.

It boggles the mind.

But of all the demographic groups who foolishly insisted on ignoring this show (and alas, they are legion), the one that has always puzzled me the most are the teenagers. After all, Friday Night Lights isn’t just a show about teens–it’s a show about breathtakingly beautiful teens, engaged in the full gamut of thrilling, scandalous, melodramatic, angst-filled teenage activities. The show was hailed by critics for its painfully real depictions of adolescence; it’s got plenty of sex, drugs, and (inspired choices of) rock and roll; it’s got torment and romance, state championships and cheerleading wars, keg parties and pregnancy scares; it’s got–and you’d think this would be enough in itself–Tim Riggins.

Yet the show had no vocal teen following. It lasted less than two months  …

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