I can’t help but believe that Jason Street’s plea to his baby-mamma that ended this episode is also intended for viewers and NBC executives. The final new episode aired last night, and according to reports it may have been the last episode ever. NBC is strongly considering not finishing the second season when the Writer’s Strike ends. Speaking quite seriously, our world will be a sadder place without this show. Go to NBC.com and watch the eps from Season Two, buy Season One at Target for $19.98, write an e-mail, do something.
And yes, I did say Jason Street’s baby-mamma! The unexpected pregnancy may be one of the top five clichés on TV, but leave it to FNL to make it exciting and important. Due to Jason’s injury his waitress one-night stand is having his “miracle” baby; all his doctors told him he would not be able to father children. I jumped for joy that Jason is going to be a daddy, because that kid will have one of the best fathers. Network television avoids saying the word “abortion” let alone making it clear a character intends to have one. FNL does not skirt the full reality of the situation; the treatment takes into account both societal norms and respect for life. Jason accepts that ultimately it is her choice, but also speaks up for himself, for his own feelings as the father of her child. (Just an observation: why would you go to someone to tell them you intend to abort his child if you did not want him to talk you out of doing so?) I’m rooting for the miracle baby, and I wonder that anyone could remain unmoved by Jason’s determination and positive attitude.
Balancing all the seriousness is Tim Riggins and his borderline stalking: dragging Billy to church with him, convincing the Christian radio station to give him a talk-show, flirting with the middle-aged church ladies. He is completely serious that he will do “whatever it takes” to win Lyla back. Since she looked unbelievably bored with Jesus-boy’s family, how much could it really take? Tim may be trying to win Lyla, but he is still him. I was gasping laughing when Tim hung-up on the caller who said his long hair made him look like Jesus. His straight-faced claim of innocence when Jesus-boy accuses him of trying to mess with Lyla is priceless. I know that my raving about Taylor Kirsch seems hyperbolic, but I am not exaggerating: this dude is one of the best actors working on television. The friendship between Jason and Tim kind of confused me in the first season. They are supposed to be childhood best friends and it seems weighted on Jason’s side; he is the golden boy who can’t shake the town’s lost puppy. As FNL has gone on we are able to watch the way Jason and Tim respectively address situations, and it emerges that their personal approaches complement each other. Jason makes you believe through his sincerity, Tim through his humor.
Coach Taylor could take a lesson from Tim about disarming your opponent with humor. Coach seemed to be channeling the other side of Riggins by having a drinking competition followed by a brawl with Tami’s ex. Good to know that Coach might be a wonderful man, but he is not a saint. Apparently Mo cheated on Tami, so I’m not sorry that Coach hit him.
Despite his foray into PWT-land, Coach Taylor guided Smash to a second chance. Smash’s particular experience may not be relatable to many viewers, but his more general disappointment should be. College is a huge part of many people’s lives, and to some extent we all glamorize our ideas when we are trying to choose one. Often those ideas are, if not unachievable, at least impractical, and we make a choice to accept what is less than our ideal. Smash’s difficulty in accepting a good thing that is different from what he wanted is one with which we should all recognize and empathize. I can personally empathize with his dislike of the game dogeball. (What Neanderthal with a little-man complex thought up that stupid game? Was this how they picked the victims for the pagan sacrifice?)
I hope that this was not the last episode. I hope that the powers-that-be at NBC, and maybe 10 million more viewers, will come to their senses. If not, so be it. Either way I will still be writing about this show, but it will have to be a part of a feature I’m working on about shows we lost before their time. Please everyone; don’t let Friday Night Lights become the Freaks and Geeks of the 2000’s.
The TV Girl
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- I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.