Amrie’s Take on TV

friday night lights

When I was in high school, I was in the marching band. I was a proud member, I wore the uniform, the sheiko (that’s the hat), I followed the drill, I conducted the band as drum major. I was, for all intents and purposes, the biggest band geek that you would find.

I was forced each week by our director to stand in the stands for each home and away football game and cheer the Knights on as they played and made the school proud.

In marching band, we were undefeated. We won every single competition we entered into, for three straight years of high school competition.

The football team? They lost more than they won, except for one year where they made it to the playoffs, due mostly in part to the senior Haikee (who, for the record, was completing his second senior year…). I did not get along with a single football player. I would go so far as to say that I absolutely hated almost every single football player.

So by now, you’re thinking “Amrie, why are you spending so much time talking about your high school career?”

I’m just trying to set a background to prove how incredibly ironic it is that Friday Night Lights is my absolute favorite new show of this season! The storylines, I’ve lived them. I’ve seen the school rivalries, and the wounded hero. I’ve seen the team come back in the fourth quarter with the help of the QB2. But never in my few years of high school was I ever able to relate to the people around me, like I feel I can relate to these amazing characters.

Coach Eric Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler, is so great. He makes mistakes. He’s a faulted character, and he doesn’t do everything as perfectly as he should. He has a loving wife, an adorable daughter. He is one of my favorite people on the small screen. The football coaches at North Penn? A bunch of jerks.

When I was a senior, our star quarterback, our QB1, blew out his knee. Sure, it’s no spine crushing injury, but it was an injury, nonetheless. I had to no love for him. I didn’t cry for him like most of the senior class did. I didn’t form prayer circles in the middle of the hallway. Just like Jason Street, he was forced out of the limelight, and into physical therapy. I, however, am absolutely in love with Jason Street. I cry for him on a weekly basis. I am unbelievably moved by his plight and I want nothing more than for him to recover or adapt to his new life.

The new QB2? He was a junior. Blue eyes, gorgeous smile, attitude like no one’s business. He was not humble. He was not generous. He was not Matt Saracen. How much do you absolutely love him? He’s got so much going on his life, what with his dad overseas, his grandma going crazy, and his little crush on Julie Taylor turning him into a puddle of jelly when she’s around. Voodoo comes in and steals his thunder, and he just handles it like the humble pure character that he is. Matt Saracen is my new hero.

The aforementioned Haikee? He was a mouthy jerk who thought he ran the show. ESPN followed him around for 3 weeks, and he wasn’t humbled. He was admittedly more conceited. He was the epitome of a guy like the Panthers’ Smash, but he had no endearing qualities, unlike Smash. Sure, he’s a big jerk, and he doesn’t exactly get along with everyone all the time. He just has this thing about him – you can tell he cares. You can tell football makes him happy, not necessarily because it makes him “famous” but because he enjoys playing.

Our head cheerleader? She was pure evil. Dated the QB, ran all the committees, won homecoming queen. I wouldn’t have felt any compassion towards her if I had to. Lyla Garrity, with her talking through her clenched jaw, and her constant perfect hair dos? I empathize with her. I feel for her character. I want her to get out of the Jason and Riggs mess. I just can’t imagine having feelings of empathy for the cheerleaders I knew back then.

There was a girl like Tyra in our town, too. The one who wanted to get out of Lansdale, the one who slept with anyone that moved, to make herself feel better. She had no friends, and no one really showed her any support. But I want Tyra to find happiness.

The only person on my high school football team that I got along with was a shaggy haired loner named Mark. He’s the Tim Riggins of my life. That outsider, that’s best friends with the quarterback, sleeping with the head cheerleader, and still managing to play a damn good game of football.

Lansdale was like their town. It still is, in fact. Football is life, and nothing matters but the Friday night games. I wish, at times like these, that the characters Peter Berg created were the people that played on the Knights.
Because then maybe I would have enjoyed every game I was forced to attend.

How about you? Did you enjoy football in high school? Was there a Tim Riggins in your life?

In Other News

I have to start the “other news” section once more with my feelings on the phenomenal, and seriously depressing, season of Battlestar Galactica. I love that they made Helo be the true hero of the week, what with his successfully helping to avoid the genocide of the Cylon race. There was certainly not enough Starbuck this week. I love the Baltar storyline. I enjoy EJO and Mary Mac and they’re hanging out in the BSG equivalent of the oval office. It gets better each week, though, like I said, it’s crazy depressing. Hopefully it can’t get any worse!!

Veronica Mars still doesn’t have a full season pickup, though it did get an order for 3 more episodes. Hopefully The CW loves the new scripts and keeps them going for the rest of the season.

Dear new Gilmore Girls writers – I appreciate what you’re trying to do, trying to show that Lorelai needs to experience life with Christopher before she grows up enough to truly be complete with Luke, but I’m certainly not a fan of the storyline, so let’s get this show on the road, speed up this relationship that’s due to end anyway, and get Luke and Lorelai back on track!

I am really enjoying The O.C. so far. I cannot wait for the inevitable Ryan/Taylor hookup. I want Seth and Summer to be happy together, I want Kaitlin to stop speaking. I’m very excited to see where it goes!

I want to commend NBC for their incredible belief in what could be considered fledgling hits, at best. Studio 60, Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock – nothing is a big hit. Nothing is scoring as well as they should be. But NBC has shown a belief in their shows!! Congratulations!

That’s it for this week – what are your thoughts on the current state of TV?

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  • Ash

    I know this has nothing to do with your post but I wanted to let everyone know about this somehow. I was on TV Guide earlier and saw a news blurb about this new pilot called Split the Difference that won best comedy and TV Guide Audience Award at the NY TV Festival. I took the time to watch it and just want to let everyone know it’s one of the best pilots I’ve ever seen. You should all check it out. and then click on Watch the Pilot.

  • Band Geek, really, didn’t see that coming! How often did you use the term, “and last summer, at band camp….” ???

  • As soon as that movie came out, every story we told about band camp (which, for the record, is two weeks from hell, complete with calisthenics, aerobics, strength training, and marching in 100 degree weather from 9AM to 3PM, going home and eating dinner, and then going back for another round from 6PM to 9PM daily…), someone would say “this one time, at band camp” and it never failed to amuse him or her….we ‘band fags’ as we were “affectionately” labelled, didn’t find it funny after 50 times ha!

    luckily, I did have my own personal Tim Riggins to beat some people up for me, so that was nice ha!

  • Sam

    Amrie was a badn geek with a body guard. Funny!

    Seriously, I love FNL like I love Studio 60. Unfortunatley I haven’t been watching them due to my reserving the time the shows are on to finish work around the house or other things I need to catch up on. I didn’t do it on purpose but now it’s become habit and I am doing it on purpose. Somebody please make me stop so I can start watching these two great shows again, lol.

    And why does everyone think Taylor and Ryan will hook up? Granted, I’ll give you that knowing the predictable nature of The O.C., it’s bound to happen. But there have been no signs and if comes out of nowhere like I fear it will, it will totally suck. And I hate Marissa 2. The two actresses are almost the same character on the show and in real life, it’s uncanny.

  • Amrie, i totally concur. Wasn’t a band geek, more like an Arts geek but same dif. yet Friday Night Lights keeps blowing me away by how emotionally involvement I get into it each and every week.

  • As a parent of a 2006 North Penn graduate (who didn’t play football) and a future 2010 graduate (who does), I think you are a little bit off-base to compare Dillon, Texas to Lansdale, Pennsylvania. North Penn has the 2nd largest high school student population in PA, according to the 2005-2007 PIAA survey. They should, and do, dominate in many sports, including swimming and water polo. The emphasis on football, in the school and community, is an order of magnitude less than what you would see in a small or mid-size Texas city.

    The power of FNL is not that it is “true to life.” It’s that the characters portray identifiable archetypes in a powerful, compelling way. We tend to find parallels to these universal characters in our lives, and it helps us connect to the story.

    Bottom line, TV shows this good always get cancelled. Enjoy it while you can.

  • I appreciate your candor – No, the NP area is certainly not as bad as Dillon, but it certainly felt remarkably one-sided in the years I was in high school. I’m not sure what it’s like these days, as I’ve been out for a while, but football was life, and anything else, even the championship water polo and undefeated track teams were pushed aside to celebrate our football team. My point was simply to show that as someone who was completely against high school in football, it’s amazing how a show based in that world has interested me.

    You’re right, good shows tend to get cancelled prematurely, but let’s hope that with a full season pick up, this show keeps going, and it doesn’t get cancelled before it should!