Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Midweek inspiration: Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

Friday Night Lights currently has me under its spell. I know, I'm about five years late to that party, but I promised Seth I wouldn't proceed any further with Battlestar Galactica without him, and I'm waiting for the third season of Damages to arrive via DVD (is there anything more irritating than getting a "short wait" message from Netflix?)... and I'd heard good things about Friday Night Lights for years, but frankly thought I wouldn't get too far with a show about football. Well, this show has a lot to do with football, but a lot to do with anything and everything else in life BUT football.

(OK, so that opening paragraph makes it sound like I don't do anything but watch the telly. Ha. Not true. Ask my yard. My yard would tell you that it wishes I would stay inside and watch more TV, and quit kicking its butt. And as much as I'm really enjoying the butt kicking of the yard, when I chill, I like the just-one-more-episode obsession encouragement that Netflix enables.)

So, back to Friday Night Lights. I'm not Texan, I don't get football, I'm not really interested in the ins and outs of high school relationships. But. Have you seen this show? It's fabulous. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is a rock star. His wife (Connie Britton) is amazing, and their relationship is fun to watch. One of my favorite scenes has Coach Taylor in his wife's office (she's the guidance counselor at the school where he coaches football) and he needs her advice. First he asks for her input as a guidance counselor, then as his wife, and then as his friend. She answers honestly each time (and it's not necessarily what he wants to hear). As he leaves, Coach Taylor says, "The three of you scare me." Ha. He's a really intense guy, but there is so much to appreciate about how Kyle Chandler has this character fleshed out. There's nothing that doesn't resonate as Coach Taylor. He commands respect on the field, in the locker room, with his fellow coaches (one of which thinks--of course--that he should have the head coach job), and struggles with his relationship with his teenage daughter, naturally.

The rest of the cast is pretty amazing too, from the kids on the team to the parents and other coaches. I especially like Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) who plays the good friend of the new QB, Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford). He's witty and smart and so wary of all things football. So funny. Here's a clip of an interview with Landry, and it gives some extra info about the trajectory of the show (network : Direct TV : back to network).

I'm still in the first season, and I'm hooked. Between the racial issues, the political complexities of coaching football in a football-obsessed town, teen hormones (this is less interesting to me, more frightening!), parenting issues galore, coaching issues, the usual interactions of all the different groups of people (in high school as in life)... it appeals to me on so many levels.

And I guess it just gets better? In looking for a clip to share, I saw that there's a baby that comes along in a future season (16 years after the first!), Coach Taylor apparently coaches another team (not the Dillon Panthers) in another town, and they play against the Panthers... looking forward to it all, for sure.

From the season I'm currently watching:

And from a future season:

The chant of the Dillon Panthers as they go out on the field is: Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. I can't think of a better motto for a bunch of teenage boys, or for me. It's been going through my head all week.


  1. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!!! Love it! When I was a teenager I didn't realize the enormity of those much they would mean to me when I got to be 65.

    Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!!!!

  2. YES YES YES! There's one "wonky" season (I still loved it, but at times, it was a little out-of-left-field) but it's just such an amazing, amazing show. I am so sad it's over. It was one of those shows that I actually feel was COMPLETELY worth the time and emotion I invested in it, and that is SO rare these days.

  3. Oh, and Landry? My favorite! I wish they'd give him a spin off. Seriously. What a GOOD guy.


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