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Friday Night Lights “Expectations” 

Photo Credit: DirecTV

The beginning of the end. I don’t know about you but I’ve been a huge fan of Friday Night Lights since it premiered on NBC in 2006. Not only do I give Kevin Reilly (now at Fox; Thanks for giving Lone Star a try. I really liked it.) huge credit for keeping this severely underrated but critically acclaimed gem on the air but I have to also credit DirecTV for stepping up to the plate to keep this show on the air for the past two years. And I was even happier when both Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were (finally) nominated for Emmys last year. I didn’t think they’d win but I was so happy to see them at the party and on the red carpet. Now that we’ve started the final season, I’d like to talk about what this show isn’t. It isn’t your normal television drama. There isn’t even one character I haven’t come to love and/or empathize with or care about in some way. This show also isn’t about big town problems. It’s refreshing. It’s set in Dillon, where people still work the land and have blue collar jobs. This show isn’t your normal family drama. We see not only the Taylors deal with their children but we see every other parent in town try to help their child make the right decisions – or in some cases encourage them to make the wrong ones. Oh, and this show isn’t about football. Not really. It’s about relying on your teammates for emotional support and physical strength, when needed. It’s about a group of kids who come together around the sport they love. It’s about Coach Taylor’s leadership and the wisdom he passes to these kids as he helps them grow up and deal with the real world. It’s about family – the one at home and the one on the field.

Now I lived in the south for all of my junior high and high school years. I know how important football is there. No matter what your Friday plans were – a date, a movie with friends, the library to study, whatever – if you weren’t at the game it was noticed and commented on. And I have to admit to loving high school football. I’d watch it now. For me there is still something so pure about those kids and their love of the game. But I digress. Let’s talk about last night’s developments.

Julie leaves for college. It’s sweet and sad to see the Taylors have to say goodbye to their baby girl (you know I’m not talking about Grace). Both Coach and Tami tried to make sure to spend time with her before she had to leave and of course that doesn’t go exactly as planned. But I think they did a good job of raising her. She’ll go out in the world and make something of herself.

Landry expects his last night in Dillon to be epic. But of course it isn’t until Julie takes him to a strip club. I’ll miss Landry. As Matt’s grandma says, he’s a good boy. I’ve enjoyed watching him grow up on the show (excluding that awful murder subplot with Tyra a few years back).

Tim Riggins only has three more months in prison. It kinda broke my heart to see him there but he absolutely did the right thing by his family. It’ll be interesting to see just how long his big brother Billy can last as a member of Coach Taylor’s staff. I know he’s trying to redeem himself but I (often) don’t think he goes about it in the right way. It’s always interesting to watch him fail. But now that he’s a father he really does need to grow up. I want him to succeed.

Becky’s living situation gets worse. With both her parents out of town on jobs, Becky’s trying to do what she can to please her stepmom, who she doesn’t want her around. I’m glad Becky feels safe enough to go to Tim’s house and I think she’ll flourish there. She just needs to be somewhere she’s actually wanted – or at least somewhere her presence isn’t resented.

Coach Taylor recruits basketball player Hastings Ruckle. I like this kid. Just the fact that he thinks football is stupid intrigues me and I like that he really has no idea what he’s doing on the football field yet. I sense he’s going to cause trouble between Vince and Jess, but I like that kind of trouble.

The East Dillon Lions upset last year’s state champion. The Panthers should have never fired Coach Taylor and now I’m sure they’re sorry. I’ve enjoyed watching Coach take a rag-tag group of kids and turn them into something. It’s been pretty amazing watching these kids mature and blossom.

In addition to all the normal developments during the season, I’m really looking forward to all the old characters returning to Dillon. I hope to see them all and I will have to call them out – in this blog, on twitter, and wherever possible – if they don’t return. There are no excuses. It’s time to come home.

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