Friday Night Lights is my favorite show on TV right now. I think it’s realistic and I love the depiction of small town life. They have excellent actors, such as Kyle Chandler. FNL is an example of how good dramatic writing can be, and it doesn’t often strike a wrong note.
With all of that said, there are a few holes in the story that I’d like to point out. Perhaps another fan will read this article and be able to answer some of the following questions.
Were the Taylors new to Dillon in season one?
The first episode contradicts itself. At the local burger joint, Landry and Saracen contemplate going over to talk to Julie. When they introduce themselves to her, they act as if they’ve never spoken to her before. Certainly this could not be true if Julie had lived in town for a while. Landry even has to point out that he’s not on the team, and Saracen has to explain his role on the team to her. If she were from Dillon, she would certainly know who the football players are. They have parties and pep rallies for the team like nobody’s business. Also, her dad’s the coach and he constantly talks football at home. So from that scene, we get the idea that Julie and her family are new to town. However, in another scene in the pilot episode, Jason tells a reporter that Coach Taylor has been his coach since the pee-wee football league. Jason’s a senior this year, and if Coach T has been with him since elementary school, then the Taylors have probably been in town about ten years, depending on when Jason began pee-wee league. We’re also told during episode one that this marks Taylor’s first season as head coach. He previously coached the team as an assistant coach for five years.
I suppose the only way to answer the question of the Taylor’s back story would be to assume that Julie is new in town but her father is not. Perhaps they lived in a nearby town and her father commuted into Dillon to coach the football team. Once he became head coach, he decided to move his family closer to the school so that he’d have a shorter commute. That’s the only solution I could come up with, but even that one doesn’t satisfy me because Julie contradicts it near the end of season one. Remember when she tells her father that she’s been moving around her entire life? If Coach has had a steady coaching job as an assistant coach for Jason’s pee-wee team and then worked as an assistant coach for the Panthers for the past five years, then why would he keep jostling his family around from town to town?
Why is Tami Taylor so obnoxiously adored?
Am I am the only one who’s not in love with Tami Taylor? Tami is a sympathetic character, and I know some people will think I’m just being bitchy, but I have to admit that Tami gets on my nerves.
It’s not that I don’t like her, it’s just that everyone else loves her. She’s always right, such as when she stands her ground against the jumbo tron supporters in season three, and when she gives reasonable advice to both Eric and Julie.
I want Tami to be wrong about something. I want her to really screw something up or make an ethical mistake. Every character is flawed, except Tami. Even Matt and Coach fall from time to time. Remember when Coach chose not to report Smash’s drug use so that the Panthers would stand a better chance of having a winning season? That was one ethics test that Coach Taylor failed.
Also, remember when Matt called his teacher the b-word in season two and then cut class to hang out with Riggins? This made sense to me. Matt was having a bad life at that time, and he reacted in a way that showed he’s human. Unlike Tami, Matt’s flawed.
One of the scenes I fast-forward through whenever I watch season one is the Panther’s roast party scene during the episode entitled, “Best Laid Plans.” Tami gives a not-so-motivational talk that is also not clever and not funny. However, she gets hugs and a standing ovation afterward. I half-expected everyone to lick her cowgirl boots. As if that isn’t bad enough, Buddy Garrity comes up to Coach T and says, “You’ve got a good one Coach, a real good one.”
Why is she a good one, Buddy? Because she’s lukewarm at giving sappy speeches? Or is it because she’s supposedly ace at being the school principal even though she doesn’t appear to be qualified for the position?
Tami Taylor reminds me of Elizabeth Wakefield, another goody-goody, whose tail everyone kissed inside a fictional universe. I know every show needs a good character to root for, but I need my sympathetic characters to be flawed, á la Tim Riggins and Meredith Grey.
Why have so many peripheral characters vanished?
Waverly Grady was a significant part of Smash’s life in season one, but then she was suddenly written off the show. Maybe the actress was only supposed to appear in a few episodes, but they could have at least mentioned where she went. Does she still go to Dillon High? Was she forced to leave school because of her bi-polar disorder?
What about Santiago Herrera? I liked him in season two, and then we never saw him again. I know he was only in a few episodes, but granted, he was living with Buddy Garrity. It would have made sense for Buddy to at least mention where he went or why he left. Did he graduate and leave town in season two?
Hopefully some of these questions can be answered by other fans of the show. If you can shed any light on them, please comment. Also, I need to make it clear that this is still my favorite show on TV, and none of the above nitpicks will make me quit watching. I’ve been much more loyal to this show than most other shows, such as American Idol and Lincoln Heights, both of which have pissed me off so badly that I’ve tuned out.