Friday Night Lights

I have just finished watching the season 1 finale of FNL and I can tell you it’s great! There are some twists and turns that is not expected, but it will keep you glued to your seats!
There are some unanswered questions left which, if there is going to be a second season, will probably be answered then – otherwise, they are open for interpretation. But you don’t get that “hanging in the air”-feeling like with some other series such as One Tree Hill or The OC (I’m a fan of both by the way!) or even Prison Break.
Enough of that. Go check it out for yourself. What I want to talk about is the way they handle their explicit views on Christianity throughout the season (pun intended!). From the word go the producers made no secret that the townsfolk’s faith and religion is an integral part of the story, even if it is just a constant sub-plot. We see scenes in various churches and we see a lot of pre-match and post-match prayers. There are also some references to the “Christian thing to do” in certain situations and even a Gospel hard rock-band called Crucifictorious (interesting name, by the way!). So you are constantly reminded that this town and its people are (or pretend to be) deeply religious/spiritual.
What are interesting are the statements (or comments, if you will) they make about teen sex and “forbidden” relationships, like Buddy Garrity’s adultery (or, in his own words, “straying outside his marriage”) and Jason and Layla’s relationship and the extensions thereof. Yes, in the case of Julie and Matt, Julie’s mom rant and rave on how dangerous it can be in physical and psychological ways. What scared me was that Julie thought of it as “just one body part going into another body part”, which her mom, thank goodness, corrected. Yet they went ahead, but they weren’t “ready” for it…We never actually see them having sex after that and it is never brought up again, so we are left to think that they kept it tat way. Or aren’t we?
Jason, Layla and Tyra’s case, on the other hand, is a different story. Layla cheats on Jason with his best friend, Tim Riggins, who went out with Tyra before, and end up being called the school skank. A huge rambling is made over it, as if she is the first girl to ever have done something like that in the whole universe. But, as the episode’s title pointed out rightfully, “It’s different for girls”. A guy can get away with something like that, but a girl makes one mistake…Later, it comes back to bite her in the ass yet again when Jason cheats on her with a girl he actually barely knew from the quad-rugby national try-outs (that is a really random sentence!) because “she was so easy to talk to”. Please.
Then there is Buddy Garrity’s “straying” outside his marriage. His excuse? “I’m a sinner. I’m a weak man.” I think he says that about four or five times over two or three episodes. We all know the Buddy Garritys of the town. He is the bigshot, the rich guy that is at all the matches and socializes witht the team and the coahces and he is almost like their patron. He also goes to church every Sunday and is a real family guy. He also pisses us off big time every time you see him and in your heart of hearts you actually wish something bad will happen to him, like an attack of stomach flu or something, just to get that cheesy smirk off his please-hit-me-face. Yet, he is a team player and extremely loyal to the coach and the team and he is the one to screw up eventually, and then it is usually something bigger than just a stomach ache. His marriage fails (we don’t really know why he “strayed”, just that he is a sinner) and his kids suffer the consequences. Their marriage will never be patched up and his wife will hate him till the day she dies.
Another thing is that the one reverend’s daughter is diagnosed with a bipolar disorder – depression. I wished that they would make a little more of that, as well as Smash’s steroid-problem, because that is also problems that high school kids suffer from, not just casual sex.
There are lots more to say about this series and we can get into some serious analyzing later on. What I’m really glad about is that they never made religion or Christianity cheap or a quick fix in a tight spot. Problems can hit anybody, no matter who you are, and it is in your hands to decide how you are going to handle them. Are you going to try on your own, and risk the chance of screwing up big time? Or are you going to open up to other people and let them and God help you to handle the difficult situations in life?
It is only in following his real passions that Jason found healing (coaching Saracen for the last 2 games) and that Coach Taylor made his final decision (I think) to stay in Dillon.
Go watch it. It is great stuff.

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  1. January 2, 2008 at 6:24 am

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