So Christmas before last – i.e. Christmas 2009 – I was looking on David’s Amazon wishlist for inspiration (yes, we’ve been together for 15 years, but he’s still pretty much of a mystery to me. You know, I know he likes cheese, but you can’t really buy someone cheese for Christmas, can you?) and saw that he wanted the book Friday Night Lights by H G Bissinger. I’d heard good things about the TV series too, so I ordered both, figuring we could watch the series together.
He read and loved the book, but when we sat and watched the pilot episode we were underwhelmed. And a bit depressed. Talk about a total downer (I won’t say why cos I don’t want to be spoilery), but we got to the end and said, “Well. That was a barrel of laughs.” It was not. We didn’t actually discuss never watching it again, we just… never put it on again.
But then I kept seeing it recommended by women – Meg Cabot, Sarra Manning, Abby McDonald, Cat Clarke – I like and know have good taste, and I decided I really must give it another go. David was less keen, but we sat through the pilot again (still depressing, still incredibly mumbly*) and then the next night we watched the next episode. And the next night we watched the next. And I think by the fourth or fifth episode we were getting caught up in the show.
Before much longer, I noticed I was thinking about it (by which I mean Friday Night Lights, but also that fella above, obv.) during the day and looking forward to that night’s episode. And then I was yelling at the characters as I watched (always a good sign). About halfway through Season 1 I suggested we watch two episodes, but David said one was plenty. I think we watched the last eight episodes two at a time and often had to rewind bits we’d missed because me and D were debating something that had just happened.
I don’t know if I can explain what’s so good about it, apart from saying that the acting is amazing and the characters are utterly convincing (particularly Tami Taylor who is a goddess and already one of my all-time favourite TV characters). The various “issues” – again, being vague to avoid spoilers – aren’t simple or straightforward, in almost every case I can see both sides. (In fact, more than once I’ve shouted “That’s exactly it!” at one character before then saying, “But, you know, I can totally see his/her point” about another.)
And don’t be put off by the football aspect. There’s really very little time dedicated to actual games, but while I started off going, “Aw crap, football!” every time we saw them play, by the end of the season I was actually starting to get involved. I still don’t care as much about the football aspect as I probably should (partly because the obsession with high school football is way over the top anyway and I highly doubt I would ever care that much), but I do now watch and enjoy it rather than picking up the paper like I did in the beginning.”
So what I’m trying to say is that for the past few weeks, I’ve basically just been wishing each day away in order to get to the next episode. And now we can start Season 2. Bliss.
* Is it my age or are TV shows in general much quieter and/or more mumbly? We seem to have to have the subtitles on A LOT. And there are no subtitles for FNL. We still occasionally say, “I have no idea what he/she just said” but certainly not as often as we did at the beginning.