Friday Night Lights: Superb Reviews, No Audience, Did They Lose?

(Look at Tim Riggins and his smoldering eyes. Listen to that primal scream. #mancrush #nohomobro #theseironicrunonhashtagsarejustdistractingyoufromthesentimentalityofthispost)

I just finished watching season 1 of Friday Night Lights. I’m sure some of you watched it as well and liked it. It’s a wonderful little show, but that’s not what this post is about. Nor does this post have anything fundamentally to do with the ‘Cac. So if that’s what you’re looking for, stop reading four sentences ago.

The question is, if nobody watches an excellent show (and it is, indeed, widely considered to be one of the best shows of the past decade. At this point, I should probably include a link or two to the A.V. Club or Slate, but I trust the reader to trust me. Which reminds me, just how long and wordy can parenthetical remarks be? Probably about a paragraph or so, right? How do I punctuate the end of this sentence and parenthetical remark?)(?), did the show fail?

Is the goal of network television to make money or to produce good content? It cannot be both, or else shows like iCarly and The Wire would not exist. Clearly, with a show like Friday Night Lights, the writers wanted to send messages about Middle America RE: Stacks drugs, sex, family, etc (who got that strikethrough reference? Who’s going to the show at House of Blues tonight? Colby readers, who’s going to be in Weston tonight?). And for those who watched it, those messages were felt. But was Peter Berg’s vision to create a cult following (is there any word worse for business than “cult?”), or was it to teach these same lessons to a more Grey’s Anatomy-esque audience (I watched the first episode of FNL with my Mom and, upon seeing Coach Taylor, said “Hey, that’s the guy who gets blown up in “Pink Mist” from Grey’s Anatomy. I mean, Thursdays were boring in high school…)(these parenthetical remarks would really be better as footnotes or sidenotes. Make it happen, blame_me). Since the show never caught on with a large audience, does Peter Berg consider the show a failure?

The answer to this has to be, or should be, unequivocally, no. I think I’ve gotten sentimental just once before on this blog, so I’m fine doing it here. When a show makes you identify with a character (and this is especially true for binge watchers like myself) and means everything it says, the character’s hurts and glories are transferred to the watcher. For me, it’s Tim Riggins. I have very little in common with Tim Riggins (other than being really, really, really ridiculously good looking). He has long hair, I do not. He sleeps with women. So do I, but not nearly as often. Tim Riggins’ parents aren’t there, mine are. I should probably identify with Matt Saracen because I am quiet and decidedly not very football looking-y. But when Tim Riggins meets Bo (spoiler alert) and plays brother / father for a few episodes, you think about the way in which kids idolize us 20-somethings. And then you remember that being an older brother and a camp counselor is the best full-time job there could be. So it doesn’t matter that Friday Night Lights didn’t put up big stats. It succeeded because it makes us better people.

Clear eyes, full hearts, didn’t lose.

One thought on “Friday Night Lights: Superb Reviews, No Audience, Did They Lose?

  1. Pingback: Can I have your number? |

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