Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose. (or Rigglets!)

I am emotionally spent this morning. I just finished watching the final episode of Friday Night Lights and I cried through 2/3 of it.

We all know this was a fantastic show. I won’t go into that (again), but for a while now I’ve been thinking about the Billy and Mindy characters. They’re kind of the Anti-Taylors. Billy is a disaster. Mindy is a stripper. What counts, in the FNL universe, is how much they love each other.

In most shows, these two would have been the butt of the joke. On FNL, they certainly provide plenty of comic relief — Billy’s “Rigglets” line nearly killed me — but their little family unit gets the same respect as the Taylors’. Mindy’s character really snuck up on me this year. She went from being kind of annoying, to being…well…not quite maternal, but sisterly.

I’ll miss this show. It’s what America is about…or is supposed to be about. It’s egalitarian, community-oriented, and about loving your neighbor. In the age of the Tea Party, it’s no wonder the show never caught on the way it should have. On that note, I’ll leave you the same way FNL did.

Communitarianism

It’s no secret that I love Friday Night Lights, but one of my favorite things about the show is Slate’s TV Club coverage of it. Funnily enough, I often find myself disagreeing with the writers, wishing they’d let me into the club to voice my take on it.

For instance, they’re often talking about how bad they feel for poor Tim Riggins and his inability to get out of Dillon. I want to call them up and point out that Tim loves Dillon. Not everyone is looking to get away from the place they grew up, nor should they. Tim knows what kind of life he wants, he just doesn’t know how to get it. I want to shake them for not realizing this.

But an episode or two ago, the writers started discussing the “politics” of FNL and they decided it’s “communitarian.” This seems kind of obvious. After all, it’s a show about families, teams, and the community they all exist in. The characters that don’t think about other people often find themselves cast out. Today, though, as I was watching one of my other favorite shows on DVD, I realized that I just might be a “communitarian” — not to be confused with communist. Continue reading