On early February of this year, 2% of America saw its love affair with sports drama television series “Friday Night Lights” end after a five-season run. Although never finding a sustainable audience, FNL was beloved by fans for its realistic portrayal of Middle America and the love affair people have for football. Being from a small Southern city, I was able to relate to many of the characters and their ongoing issues within the show. I will argue with anyone that the football was the worst part of the show.
As a fan of the show, I’m also not afraid to admit that the writers fell victim to a television sickness I like to refer to as, “24 Syndrome.”
24 Syndrome – The tendency of a television show to include completely unrealistic storylines or occurences during the course of its run
Yes, I realize that 24 was not the first show to do something like this. Yes, I understand that television shows aren’t necessarily supposed to be mirrors of “real-life.” But sometimes there are moments when you have to wonder to yourself, “How stupid do the writers think I am?”
As my tribute to one of my personal favorites on the list of shows I have finished, here is my list of the Top 5 least believable storylines of Friday Night Lights:
5. Matt Saracen’s relationship with Carlotta – I understand that Matt Saracen has a tender heart and just needs someone to love, but are we really supposed to believe that he can just hook up with his live-in nurse? Lets look at the math: Matt is probably 16-18 years old while Carlotta has to be at the very least 23. Although she leaves Matt, were we really supposed to believe this girl would fall for Matt Saracen? Even the actor who portrayed Matt, Zach Gilford, thought this sub plot was lame.
4. Coach Taylor replaced as Dillon head coach by Wade Aikman – In an effort to sabotage Coach Taylor and run an offense that would suit his son, Joe McCoy plots to have Taylor replaced with his son’s personal coach, Wade Aikman(I’ll admit his name does sound like a quarterback.) I’m sure there have been similar plots such as this throughout America but how many are successful? Would a school as successful as Dillon fire a state championship-winning coach in favor of a man who may or may not have even had one head coaching job in his career? I don’t think so.
3. Jason Street, Sports Agent – I was a fan of Street the player. But lets get serious, otherwise his character was whiny. I understand he had some unfortunate circumstances and I actually enjoyed most of his recuperation period. Are we really supposed to believe that an 18-year-old kid can seriously convince a big time player to allow him to represent him? I could care less if they were knew each other through Dillon Panther history, no head-strong player would have allowed Jason Street to be his agent. That was the point where Street’s character stepped in the unbelievable zone.
2. Can Coach Taylor have more than two blowouts every 3 years? With all apologies to Joe Montana and John Elway, the real comeback kid is Coach Taylor. I’m 93% positive that Coach Taylor wouldn’t know what to do with himself with a 30-point lead. As hilarious as this is, are we really supposed to believe a constant state championship contending team can’t blow anyone out? The show’s creators have even joked about the close games. With all of their games as close as they are, has no one talked to Gus Johnson about announcing a game or two? The Law of Gus had to have been invented in Dillon, Texas.
1. Landry kills a man – If you’re a fan of FNL, you knew what #1 would be. One of the most ridiculous plot-lines in the history of television. Let’s start with the rapist. How thirsty was this guy? After already coming after Tyra once, he makes another attempt before being thwarted and killed by of all people Landry. Landry. What follows this already unbelievable event are even more unimaginable moves. The kids dump the body and decide to keep the actions of the night a secret. Already a desperate reach for ratings, the story gets even more ridiculous as Landry’s father and police officer decide to burn the vehicle of the rapist. Talk about dirty cops. As a viewer, were you not wondering why Landry couldn’t just use the self-defense line. The victim is his witness! As frustrating as this was for fans, the writers realized they were reaching and quickly finished this story-line and never discussed the murder again, leaving fans forever satisfied.
Friday Night Lights holds a special place in my heart as one of the best shows I have been able to watch. Although it had moments of ridiculousness, all-in-all I would say it was an otherwise realistic show with lots of endearing moments. If we truly sit back and take an unbiased look at any of our favorite television programs, we can all sit back and have a good laugh at some of the low points. In my opinion, that is the real fun of television.