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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Friday Night Lights Should be Dimmed

Either I’m getting old or NBC’s new series Friday Night Lights is one of the most obnoxious things on television. Offering a dramatic portrayal of high school football in Texas, the show clearly depicts the pedestal an entire team is put on by a small town with shockingly little acknowledgement of the absurdity of it all.

The star quarterback of the high school team is injured in the pilot episode, and is found to be paralyzed in the second. The show offers scenes of the small town in Texas leading up to game night, from a gathering of ladies, breakfast at the local diner, to the cool kids at the local high school, all of the participants of which are obsessed with the football team. Then, of course, there’s the actual team preparing for the game as if it’s life and death.

The truly disturbing thing about the show is that there is almost no sense that there is something wrong in this situation. It’s not a show depicting kids that are in need of getting a grasp on what’s important in life. The new QB is interviewed mid-week by a local television station. The coach admits that his job was tied to the star quarterback. Local businessmen reach out to make sure the coach understands the importance of the team winning to the town.

All of this blends with typical high school drama targeted at young audiences. Girls offering themselves to the young quarterback, the niave girlfriend of the star QB thinking everything will be perfect again, and squabbles among team members trying to fill the leadership void.

Certainly, other shows are more blatantly over the lines of good taste. But considering the target audience and the fact that the show offers no suggestion that its characters have a strange sense of what’s important, the question of what NBC is thinking with Friday Night Lights begs to be asked. Skip it.

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