Usually, when people watch TV, they watch it for its entertainment value. But when I watch TV, I watch it because I want it to stir me up, to shake me up inside. I want it to make me feel. I want to connect to the characters; I want to fall in love with them. I want to care about them so desperately that I can't wait till the next episode comes out. Sure, I sometimes watch silly or stupid shows just to put my brain on autopilot, but generally I like to be challenged by the TV I watch.
People have told me how much they like "Friday Night Lights" in the past but I never thought it would be the show for me. A show about football? For me? Seriously?
But then I watched it. And it shook me up inside. It was powerful and moving and raw and gritty and real. It had so much heart. It held so much meaning. And the characters just tore you up and touched you. You wanted them to succeed. You felt their highs and lows; you saw their weaknesses and flaws.
Football is as much of a character in this TV show as any of the people speaking. This show is about the way that football touches the lives of all the players. There's the kid who is desperate to go pro and get a scholarship to a good college. There's the kid who just wants to stand out in some way. There's the kid who was in juvie who has gotten a second chance. There's the partying kid who is always drunk who has got a heart of gold. And there's the coach and his wife and their incredible, impressively strong marriage.
There are some really memorable scenes. For me, those are the scenes between Tim Riggins and Jason Street where Tim tells Jason how much he loves him. The scene where he hands him the football and the other scene where they're on the booze cruise and he tells him he will do whatever it takes to get him back home to Texas safe and sound. But it's also the scenes where Tim Riggins is noble (whether it's with Lyla or Bo or his brother Billy or anybody else). It's the scene where Matt Saracen is in the shower with the water raining down on his face and he's saying how everyone has left him. It's the locker room after the Panthers lose State. There are the good times and the bad times, the high points and the low ones, and it's beautiful because it's real and it's the story of life and why life matters. It's a life-affirming story. And that's why that show makes me feel so much.
It's also why Season 1 of that show is probably some of the best TV I've ever seen. So if you have nothing else to do...and you want a show that makes you think and makes you smile and makes you cry...watch this one.