So, that’s that. For five years Austin played host to Dillon, Texas, standing in for the Panhandle, and us fans got to love every minute of the Dillon Panthers, Lions, the drama of Tim Riggins and Jason Street, being oddly mesmerized by Buddy Garrity’s leonine profile (and where did they get the kid to play his son, Buddy Jr, with the same prow-like schnoz?).
Oh Coach Taylor, I will miss you (but I can always see you in Super 8). But most of all, I will miss Tami Taylor. She was wise, funny, the best friend you want to be (or to have), sexy, good and kind. And she had a seriously screwed up daughter, so it wasn’t like she couldn’t mess up. All the more loveable!
For all the missteps the show made and there were plenty, there were things it just got so right. This last season was hit or miss, mostly because they had to wrap things up, but the stuff they got right is what they always got right — the marriage. For all that Friday Night Lights was a show about high school football, it was really a well-written story about a modern marriage. Eric and Tami were the best married couple on television.
With the show filmed in Austin and surrounding towns, it was fun to play “where did they film that?” My daughter had two of my favorite star sightings — one at the bowling alley opposite her high school, where they were filming a scene with Taylor Kitsch. She and her track team were there for a team outing, and Kitsch was gracious enough to come over and talk to the high school kids and have his picture taken with them. (He was in his mid-twenties at the time, and the picture is great — a pretend teen surrounded by real teens). The other sighting was when she got to play in a pickup hockey game with Kitsch (and some local semi-pro players).
Austin might be losing a little of the Hollywood glamour. There don’t seem to be as many movie trailors around. The city is talking about canceling the tax breaks that production companies got, and Louisiana and other states are horning in on the incentives territory. More than anything, even more than Real World, Friday Night Lights was “our” show, with a local crew. I have a couple scripts that a prop guy gave me (he was a hockey dad — we bonded over early morning practices) and when I told him I was a writer he brought me the scripts.
And even if most of the cast has split, Jessie Plemons, who played Landry, is still around. He’s in a local band — I just heard him on Eklektikos on Wednesday. How Austin is that?
Bye, FNL. I’m sad to see you go.
In other news, I’m writing this on my new Sony Vaio laptop. It’s a whole new era!