Jan 2, 2012

Latest Addiction

In high school I read Friday Night Lights and it quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. (Summary: small town loves high school football and goes to the extreme to support it [Interesting note, our friend Stacy grew up out there in West Texas. He and even more so his older brother, were high school students at that school during the time the book takes place.]) I was stoked in college when they made a movie of it but was sorely disappointed when I saw it. Such gratuitous teenage sex, drinking, drugs, etc and they totally changed the ending, I mean as dramatic as making the Titanic not sink. I was so disappointed in fact that when they made a TV series, I didn't even bother. I figured it was the same characters from the movie in a "what happens next" sequel style series.

Fast forward many moons to this holiday season. Our new BluRay player is smart and thus we can stream in Netflix. Totally awesome. The Friday Night Lights TV series was filmed here in Austin so locally it's discussed often and many people I know, with varying entertainment interests, have raved about the series. Rave reviews, filmed in my (new) hometown and now free on-demand via Netflix. What the hell. I'll give it a shot.

Well that was three days and 12 episodes ago.

First, the TV series is not an extension of the movie. It's just loosely based around the same familiar story of a small Texas town infatuated with its high school football team and the holy grail of winning state.

Second, the characters are so loveable. The coach with his guidance counselor wife and their daughter who is so over football. The unlucky start QB who suffers a major injury. Then the self-conscious second string QB forced to step up as an underclassmen and who develops a crush on the coach's daughter. It's wonderfully cheesey, dramatic and wholesome.

And finally, the oh-so-familiar scenes. It's like looking into my life at times. In some ways, literally: the game scenes were filmed about a mile from the house at Pflugerville High, which I just confirmed via Wikipedia but which I ran across the house to tell Ross when I recognized the district office building in the back of one game scene. (This makes living in a town with such an absurd name a little better. The realtor should have told us this back in 2009; I would have felt a lot cooler moving to P-ville if she had.) I also recognized the shopping center across from our house with the ridiculous ice cream sundae shaped building. You can't fake that kind of ridiculousness folks. And according to Wikipedia, there's one future episode filmed in Boston, including a segment at BU.

But beyond the neighborhood scenery, the plot has some crazy familiarity. Like the scene where the football players dress in drag as cheerleaders for a pep rally. Oh Friday Night Lights, that was so CLHS circa every year 1999-2003. Or the CheerAmerica Classic which I'm pretty sure I competed at and won my division in back in sophomore year of high school. And while we thankfully didn't have any injuries as severe as the starting QB in this series does, my sophomore homecoming date, starting QB Michael, did break his femur one week before the dance.

So basically take my new home, plus my high school years and add in a little more drama and scandal and you've got Friday Night Lights. It's no wonder I'm addicted. The only thing standing between me and all five seasons is the inability of our internet to stream both Netflix video and Ross' new online computer game addiction.

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