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Friday Nights & Lights

Friday Nights & Lights

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“All right.”_Coach Eric Taylor.

I won’t really talk to you about Julie Taylor. Julie Taylor is The Worst and I won’t bend on this. My BFF told me there was an interview somewhere with Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor) and in it, even he talks about how Julie is The Worst. I haven’t seen this interview, but my BFF has never steered me wrong on fangirly things.

Julie is The Worst because every decision she makes is the wrong one and her parents are ERIC AND TAMI TAYLOR and yet, that’s still not good enough for her. I was a teenage girl once and I am currently raising a pre-teen one. This doesn’t change my mind. Also one time Tim Riggins saved her from a tornado…used his Tim Riggins BODY to shield her from the storm and she still didn’t stand up for him when Coach thought Tim was being inappropriate with her, when actually Tim was just trying to cover for her because she got so drunk at the party. Dudes were trying to be all gross with her but Tim protected her, brought her home, tried to put her in bed quietly so her parents wouldn’t find out. Coach walked in, saw Tim putting her in bed…thought something else was going on and kicked Tim out of the house. Tim had nowhere else to go/sleep. Yeah later, she told the truth BUT TOO LATE JULIE TAYLOR.

I KNOW EXACTLY WHEN IT HAPPENS: Julie finally tells Coach the truth and Coach is all like DAMN, JULIE. DAMN. And literally the entire world is like THANK YOU. Episode 2×11, 27:54

Before I started writing for Real Pants I told Adam and Amy I wasn’t interested in writing about anything controversial. I’m not that writer. I am not a debater, I don’t show up at every argument I’m invited to and I will not entertain them. *cue ain’t nobody got time for that.* Arguing about things is not how I choose to spend my time. This right here is about as argumentative as I will get at Real Pants—my unwillingness to bend on how Julie Taylor is The Worst. (And another one is re: Gilmore Girls…Dean was grossly emotionally abusive to Rory. He was a horrible boyfriend. FACT. I won’t bend on that, either. Ooh ooh and also Dawson’s Creek should’ve been called Pacey’s Creek because Pacey Witter is everything.)

But! I’m not here to talk about all of that (yet) or Julie Taylor. I just had to get it out of the way before I can talk about Friday Night Lights.

And! I am here to talk about Friday Night Lights. I got super-emotionally attached to Friday Night Lights when I was stoned on Vicodin. I’d just had my wisdom teeth taken out. I am a lightweight. I take two licks of Benadryl and I’m out like a light. Two glasses of wine and I’m practically blacked-out drunk. Half a Vicodin and I’m half-asleep/half-giggly telling you everything I’ve ever known. I took a whole Vicodin (they tried to get me to take TWO and I was like MURDERERS! a;slkj Two would kill me dead), I think…and watched the first episode of FNL and that whole weekend I was half-stoned, watching episode after episode and medicine makes me super-emotional and I’m already super-emotional, so crying crying and watching Friday Night Lights and getting like, SO into it…that’s what happened. Since then, I’ve watched the entire series probably four or five times and recently started watching it all the way through again, just because. BECAUSE WHY YOU SAY?

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BECAUSE: I love Coach and Tami’s marriage. Rarely do I see a biblical, sweet marriage on TV, but they have one. Coach and Tami love one another and fight and make-up and don’t always get along but they’re a team. And they never tried to cheat on one another which prettymuch always happens on a show like this and most of the time, they end up on the same page about things, even if it takes them a bit to get there. When Coach is wrong, he apologizes. There is a moment in episode 2×08 when he tells Tami she needs to pay more attention to her family. I don’t like him at all in that moment and sometimes he is the grumpiest. But Coach Taylor is human and flawed and Coach and Tami extend a lot of grace to one another…I have been married for fifteen years and I am #blessed to know how important this is. Coach is always there for his football boys and he’s a father figure for most of them, as well. Read The Pastoral Ministry of Coach Eric Taylor if you love beautiful things.

SIDENOTE: Should probably begin incorporating KYLE CHANDLER-GREEN-EYES GREEN into my stories bc that’s usually what I mean when I say green.

Other reasons why I love FNL.

BECAUSE:
-(Big) TIM RIGGINS.
-How Tim flirts with Mama Smash about pie in episode 2×06, 27:00.
-Billy & Tim Riggins at home. Tim’s black eye. Bag of frozen peas. Sharing a sandwich. Iron & Wine/Calexico in episode 1×08, 40:00.
-When Riggins shows up in the rain at Lyla’s and convinces her to go to the cheerleading thing. Jose Gonzalez, “Storm” in episode 1×10, 39:00.
-When Tim starts laughing at Billy and says “Why don’t you just try selling weed again?” in episode 1×08, 22:36.
-How Lyla was SO MEAN to Tim, but still literally runs as fast as she can to Heartless Bastards, to get to his house for pancakes and hooking up.
-Also when Tim is the only one clapping at the Crucifictorious show. Bless his heart, bless their hearts in episode 1×11, 38:00.
-Also how when Landry was tutoring Tim and reading him Of Mice and Men, when they get to the end how Tim is all like that’s messed instead of that’s messed up.
-When Tim Riggins goes bowling in that thin, barely-plaid button down shirt with his awful dad and just wants his awful dad to love him in episode 1×14, 20:00.
-How Tim is clearly in his late-twenties/early-thirties, but only a sophomore in high school and also Tim’s boots and black Chevy Silverado. I will write a whole thing dedicated to Tim Riggins and Only Tim Riggins later, but yes there are a lot of Tim Riggins feels up in here. The only thing that bugs me about Tim Riggins is that he doesn’t smoke, because Tim Riggins would definitely smoke. So I basically wrote Tim Riggins fanfic and called it “Tim Riggins Would’ve Smoked.”

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BECAUSE: FNL is funny. It is a funny, adorable show. I love how much Tami Taylor loves her wine. And Saracen and Smash working at the Alamo Freeze together. Jason Street and Herc and the Riggins brothers working on/fighting about flipping Buddy Garrity’s old house. Landry Clarke, Grandma Saracen forever. Also, When Saracen had to go pick up Smash from the college because Smash had to run out of that girl’s room in his underwear in episode 2×08, 27:38. Anytime Street and Riggins are in Mexico together. When Tyra and Julie are at Grandma Saracen’s with white wine, nail polish in episode 1×14, 21:50. Riggins and Saracen skipping school, drinking beers, Saracen lifting his glass and greeting Lyla’s new boyfriend with Shalom. And anything Billy Riggins does or talks about. Aaand Buddy Garrity.

BECAUSE: Coach Taylor always says ALL RIGHT. He says All Right instead of Okay and he’s a winker and makes really good chili. Clear eyes full hearts can’t lose and slapping the P before heading out of the lockerroom.

BECAUSE: Mama Smash is perfect.

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During this rewatch, I started writing down the little things I loved so much up until the end of season two. So consider this Friday Nights & Lights PART ONE. Like most things I love so much, I have more to say and will. I can’t get to it all in one essay but this way WE HAVE MORE FNL TO LOOK FORWARD TO, ALWAYS. And until then lets end this one on the gorgeous opening credits.


And the dreamy, Explosions In The Sky soundtrack and how the characters go to church and pray to Jesus and live their lives together and love one another even when it’s not easy. The Gospel of Friday Night Lights. I’m here for it. (And TBQH I truly do believe even love and grace can cover Julie Taylor’s sins but I need some more time, y’all. I need some more time.)

Leesa Cross-Smith

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of Every Kiss a War and the editor of WhiskeyPaper.

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About The Author

Leesa Cross-Smith

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of Every Kiss a War and the editor of WhiskeyPaper.

  • I never realized that Julie is the worst, I guess because in contrast to other students like supposedly very bad Tyra she seems harmless, but I now realize you are so right. And Tyra has so many redemptive moments but there’s very little redemption for Julie, probably because everyone just thinks Julie is pretty good / regular bad. And then we have Becky who loves Riggins even more than you.

    Can’t wait for Part Two.

    Also I would argue that one could argue that Riggins is deep like a Dostoevsky character. I’m just not sure which one.

  • kimberlyannsouthwick

    I also never realized how terrible Julie is– I get what you’re saying, though. I just remember being a shitty unappreciative teenager, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. But it’s okay. Also, I’ve only ever watched the series once. Maybe on a second watch I might see things from your side more clearly? Like when I reread HP1-6 before 7 came out and was like FUCK SNAPE? Hm.

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