Introducing Nota Bene # 1: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS SERIES FINALE

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I have a lot of respect for media studies bloggers who are able to supply a seemingly endless feed of quality content to their blogs. I am also envious of their industriousness. Although I would like to post more frequently to my blog other responsibilities, including: caring for and feeding the pet humans, torturing my students, completing committee work, meeting external writing deadlines, folding endless piles of laundry, caring for and feeding my pet animals, exercising, watching Top Chef: Texas, and occasionally exchanging communicative grunts with my husband (yes, in that order), usually keep me from doing so. Whenever a bright idea for a post (or what I think is a bright idea for a post) comes to mind, I scribble it down on a Post It note and begin mentally composing it as I wipe my toddler’s rear end or fold socks.  But more often than not those Post It note ideas (and the long form posts I compose in my head) end up in the trash when I realize that a week has passed and no one will now care what I thought of the Boardwalk Empire season finale (I thought it was kickass, for the record).

I only put Post It notes on the dog when I run out of space in my office.

So I think I’ve come up with a solution to the workingmotherblogger’s problem. In addition to my regular blog posts, which often range from 1,000 to 2,000 words, I am introducing a new feature to my blog: the Nota Bene. Nota bene is a Latin word meaning “note well.” In legal writing, the term is used to refer to a detail of the document that has been expanded or highlighted. It draws the reader’s attention away from the main topic in order to address a specific issue in greater depth. Very often my frantic Post It scribbles are little details I want to call to the attention of my readers. But during busy times I don’t have several hours to devote to a full-length blog post. So I write nothing. And when I write nothing, I get itchy. Like a sneeze that is about to happen but never does. Or an itch in between my shoulder blades that I just can’t reach. The Nota Bene will be my attempt to scratch those little itches and sneeze those little sneezes. I hope that these shorter, more frequent posts will generate discussion, amusement, or at the very least, a “Bless you, dear!” Below is my first Nota Bene. Consider my itch scratched:

I would become a polygamist if it meant that I could marry Coach and Mrs. Coach.

I know that most die-hard fans of Friday Night Lights, the tear-jerking, sweet-but-never-too-sweet TV series about high school football in Texas, watched the final episode way back in February 2011 when it completed its run on Direct TV. Or they watched it when it completed its run on NBC back in April of 2011. OR, they watched it when the final season was released on DVD, also in April of 2011. But I’ve been busy (see the italicized introduction above for a sampling of my daily schedule). My husband and I finally got around to finishing Season 5 last week. And as my time with Coach Taylor drew to a close, I couldn’t help but think about some of the key truths of the series that were highlighted in the final season:

1. Coach Taylor is always right.

Think Coach Taylor’s 80s-style Oakley sunglasses are stupid? Wrong. They’re awesome. Think you’d rather smoke pot all day and dance to Grateful Dead music around camp fires, Hastings Ruckle? Wrong. You should be playing football for the East Dillon Lions (for more on this see Point 3 below). Think you should get to play in the last big game of the season just because you are the star quarterback of the East Dillon Lions, Vince Howard? Wrong. Sit on the bench and stop showboating. Think you can have sex with busty college freshmen just because you’re the “head TA” for History 101, Derek Bishop? Wrong. Get the hell off of Coach Taylor’s lawn before he does to your face what he just did to your car. And this is just in Season 5. Understand this: Coach is always right. He’s a pillar of moral certainty in an uncertain world. He is my reference point, my anchor. When faced with an ethical issue I ask myself “What would Coach do?” and then I put on my 80s-style Oakley sunglasses, pick up my football, and do the right thing.

2. Mrs. Coach is always up in your business.

Tami Taylor is one busy woman. She has a boy crazy teenage daughter, a toddler, and a husband who is always expecting her to show up to some football booster event in a purty dress and high-heeled cowboy boots. Sometimes she is the principal of a high school and sometimes she is a guidance counselor and sometimes she is a women’s volleyball coach. Eventually, she becomes the Dean of Admissions at FancyPants Liberal Arts College in FancyPants Philadelphia. So you might think that you can smoke cigarettes in the girl’s bathroom and eat Chee-tos for breakfast and have a destined-for-the-pole name like Epic, and Mrs. Coach won’t notice because she is too busy coaching volleyball or breastfeeding little Gracie Bell or making sure her hair always falls in those gorgeous, thick curls. But rest assured, troubled youth, Tami Taylor will find you and she will get up in your business. Don’t fight it. Just be grateful for her attention. She’s awesome.

3. Everyone loves football/ football makes you a better person.

Landry Clarke was a studious nerd who founded an alternarock band called Crucifictorious and mocked his best buddy, Matt Saracen, for trying out for the football team. Vince Howard was a petty criminal with no respect for authority and no discipline. Buddy Junior was a disaffected slacker who thought every activity, other than eating and getting drunk, was stupid (he’s right, by the way). But, if you put a football in the hands of these young men, they are suddenly converted into determined, authority-fearing, irony-deficient soldiers of Taylor. Football is that powerful, people.

4. Jason Street, whether he is on screen for 5 seconds or 50 minutes, will break your heart.

Jason Street was paralyzed in the first episode of Friday Night Lights. He left the series in season 3. But every time he returns for a cameo, however short, I cry. In fact, I teared up just searching for photos of Jason Street on Google. Why, Jason, why did it have to happen to you? You coulda been a contender!

5. Julie Taylor is boy crazy.

Julie Taylor has a loving, no-nonsense Daddy and a Mama who is always up in her business. But she also has giant boobs and very full, pouty lips that make Head TAs go cray-cray. Here’s hoping that boring Matt Saracen and his line drawings of hands and outrageously large studio apartment in Chicago can keep those pouty lips satisfied. But my bet is no. There are loads of horny Head TAs in Chicago.

6. Tim Riggins.

Tim Riggins had sex with his paralyzed best friend’s best girl and you forgave him. Tim Riggins drinks beer for breakfast. Tim Riggins has Daddy issues. Tim Riggins does not tell jokes. Tim Riggins will take you to Mexico for experimental spinal surgery. Tim Riggins squints his eyes and looks off into the middle distance better than any other character on television. Tim Riggins will have sex with older women. Tim Riggins will be a father figure to your fatherless son. Tim Riggins has Mommy issues. Tim Riggins will go to jail so that you can have a better life. Tim Riggins must always be addressed as either “Tim Riggins” or “Riggins.” “Who is Tim?” asks Tim Riggins. Tim Riggins will build his own house. Tim Riggins loves football and Texas. Tim Riggins might just love you if he met you. But Tim Riggins isn’t real. Tim Riggins is a character on Friday Night Lights. Pretend I didn’t just write that. Tim Riggins IS real. And I love Tim Riggins. And Tim Riggins loves me. Now leave me and Tim Riggins alone. We’re having beer for breakfast. Mmmm, Riggins.

So what am I missing? What other key truths have I missed? Discuss below.

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10 thoughts on “Introducing Nota Bene # 1: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS SERIES FINALE

    Jason Mittell said:
    January 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    7. Nothing important happens until the final minute of the game. So basically, you can screw around, playing by the rules but not making much of a difference for 59 minutes. But in that final minute, you just need to do something crazy… but so crazy, that it just might work. And then… slow-motion… disbelieving glares from the sidelines… Explosions in the Sky… slack-jawed fans… announcer-guy says “Can you believe what we just saw, Dillon?”

    Believe.

      princesscowboy responded:
      January 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Wow. See, the only time I “watch football” is when I watch FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS so I actually thought that was the way ALL football games worked.

    michaelddwyer said:
    January 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    8. Don’t kill Cobra’s Beer.
    WHY’D YOU KILL COBRA’S BEER?

      princesscowboy responded:
      January 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      I actually had to Google that one. Nice.

    Marianne Montgomery (@DrMMontgomery) said:
    January 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    8. Grandma Saracen, whether she is on screen for 5 seconds or 50 minutes, will break your heart.

    From the shots of her foot tapping in the pilot to her search for wedding shoes and veil in the finale, Grandma Saracen brought tears to my eyes every single time. Possibly the only thing more important than football in Dillon is family.

      princesscowboy responded:
      January 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      You’re actually #9, Marianne. But yes, Granda Saracen is built for tear-jerkin’.

    Kelli Marshall said:
    January 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out, but there’s NO WAY I should be placed in the same category as @Memles. Remember: my blog’s only been busy lately because (1) I’ve been unemployed for two semesters, (2) I’ve no kids, and (3) I’m procrastinating on my anthology deadline. 🙂

    Always glad to see a new post appear here, no matter when it comes…

    Greeney28 said:
    February 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Buddy Garrett is the best friend you never knew you wanted (and still aren’t sure), but he’s one heck of a guy.

    […] You got: Julie Taylor judgmentalobserver.com […]

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