My embarassing addiction to Friday Night Lights

So, Glendi’s in Guatemala for a month–which is a future post in itself–and I’m alone in the house with a sprained ankle. So this weekend I had very little to do.

I played a whole lot of video games (Tales of Monkey Island and Monster Hunter for the win), and then I started streaming this TV show that my friend Bruin had mentioned, Friday Night Lights. An NBC series about a high school football team in a small, depressed West Texas town? Not for me, I thought. Well, I bought in as soon as the pilot, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I watched all 22 hours of the first season in a day and a half. I was in bed watching the show for 15 HOURS on Saturday. In fact, before I started writing in this blog tonight I was just finishing the 4th episode of the second season!

So what do I like about it? Do I have a political reason? Not really. I just think the stories are good. It’s pretty much about the whole town and people’s lives, not just football. Now, there are layers of politics to explore and the show does explore them–there’s lot’s of stuff about ablism, some about race and class, a little bit about gender so far. But honestly, I don’t think much of it is all that deep (except for the ablism storylines, which I think are compelling and pretty rare for mainstream entertainment), but it’s gripping for me. I wouldn’t actually recommend it to you, necessarily, but it was gripping for me.

One thing that I particularly was struck by, oddly, was the way people set boundaries in the show. There is a whole lot of “get out” “leave and never come back,” “do the right thing or face the consequences,” kind of talk in the show, and it’s sort of the dominant way people make tough choices in the program. A lot of sort of razor-sharp decisiveness, whether it’s about monogamy or reconciliation, or quitting drinking, or confronting injustice. This didn’t strike me as realistic at all, because I’m very indecisive and I’m terrible at setting boundaries…but I think what is intoxicating about the show is watching people make tough choices and growing by leaps and bounds in each hour long episode…and here I am struggling for years just to even maintain an internal dialogue with myself through mediums like this blog! I think I was drawn to the escape into this world where tough situations are so clear and easy to confront and take action on. If only it were so.

It’s almost midnight now on Sunday night, and I have to get up at 6am to go to work and work on a grant with a deadline…but I’m mighty tempted to put on one more episode to fall asleep to.

Why should anyone but me care about my addiction to this silly show? I have no idea, but I think there are more profound things at work here, relating to how I’m feeling about real life in general. Which hopefully I’ll get to soonish.

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-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi