Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the sun always shines on tv

I recently watched Friday Night Lights in its entirety. The verdict is in: I want to be Tami Taylor.

Admittedly, I was deeply reluctant to watch this show. Frankly, anything that is recommended with gusto (i.e. crammed down my throat on the daily) often ends up in the "Definitely Postpone" file. Not because I fancy myself some kind of counter-culture trend bucker, but because it's TOO MUCH PRESSURE. Suddenly I am not just watching a show or listening to a record, I am having THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE, (OMGITOLDYOURIGHT?!).

Also, who are we kidding? My tempo for these matters is on the slow-mo. I just want to lead a calm life of cool, you feel me? I am also the person who takes five separate trips to a store to court any given purchase (shoes, coat, food, jacket) that I know I already want. I just have to make *sure*. You know?

Hence, I am often five years behind schedule on shows to watch, albums to hear, movies to see, convenient stuff to own. I had my first iphone two months ago. For one day. If I am straight with you, it felt like an all-day anxiety dream. My texts looked like ransom notes, my phone spontaneously dialed a million people which is my worst nightmare, and, because I felt like a t-rex operating the touch screen I had to call everyone I needed to contact, resulting in conversations like, "Hi. How R U? I just called to say U R gr8."

I sound like Andy Rooney.

Where was I? Oh, yes, complainbragging. I worked on the first season of The Sopranos and didn't watch that first season until five years later when the pressure for me to love it died down. (As an aside, one of the California Girl expressions my Swedish pals appreciate and say with Scando-Valley affectation is "Do you love it?")

At any rate, I finally got around to watching The Wire this year and really enjoyed it as everyone demanded I would. This despite wanting to give up immediately, mostly because I cannot bear watching people shoot up. It makes me instantly sick and upset. But I soldiered on and really enjoyed the whole shebang. Saying goodbye to the final episode was actually heartbreaking.

After that I wondered, "What next? Will I ever love-said-with-a-Valley-Girl-accent a television show again?" I decided to test drive one episode of Friday Night Lights and, if I am honest with you, going from the inner-city, deeply diverse, "there is no God" chaos of Wire Baltimore to lily-white Christian small-town Texas felt like a huge snooze. Then I got pneumonia the next day and the appeal greatly improved to this bedroom jailbird. I watched, well, the entire five seasons over the next couple of weeks. (I was really sick and useless.) Oh man, I cried so much. What a moving program. I am actually stamping my face with the word "SUCKER" right now. On purpose. I am not ashamed. All the love, the anguish, the triumph against all odds, the agony of defeat, the ache of true love—it all got me right where it counts. Along with a leading lady who officially stole my heart.

Level with me: Can you get any cooler than her aviator glasses, hoop earrings, and social worker sense of patient compassion? Not in my book. And Coach Taylor? Ahem. He deserves a whole other essay. When I was in seventh grade I went to school in New York and they, unlike my Chicago school, had a football team. I informed my mom that if we stayed for two years, the following fall I would bag soccer and take up football. Her face went blank, likely undelighted that her teeny-tiny, three-foot-tall daughter was considering suiting up. We only stayed for one year. But I just KNOW had we remained, Eric Taylor would have been my coach and changed my life FOREVER. [Roll credits set to Emo outro music]

But, yes, I watched the entire five seasons. And let me tell you, the real pay off came in later seasons when suddenly former cast members of The Wire started showing up! I could, in fact, love again! And win football games, again!

I'm not joining the spiral-eyed masses, my friends. Instead, I humbly submit that if you need something great to do while pajama-ed and bedridden for two weeks, this shoved-in-your-face acclaimed program might also be your jam.

What I will say like a spiral-eyed zombie disciple is Coach Taylor's motto: "Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't Lose!"

That is indisputably true.

I am ready for some football.

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