We’ve never entirely been able to figure out why brilliant, nuanced, detailed shows can’t find an audience. Why won’t people watch Arrested Development or The Wire or Pushing Daisies or Firefly? Even with recent rumors that the show might live to see another season, we sometimes wonder why people just won’t watch Friday Night Lights in large enough numbers to ensure survival.
Tonight’s episode might help explain it. Friend o’ Bacon B notes that she’s had a hard time getting into the show because the Devil Town reminds her too much of the people she grew up with. Why would she want to spend her free time getting up close and personal with them again? It took me three tries to get through “The Giving Tree” for the same reasons–let’s just say I know Buddy Garrity. And since I know Buddy Garrity, I can’t watch him gamble away his daughter’s college fund on a bad investment, and I can’t watch him dissolve as she finally lets him have all of her rage concerning the way he broke up his family and the fact that she can’t depend on her daddy. I just can’t. Maybe Friday Night Lights is too good for its own good–maybe its details are too on the nose, its characters too richly drawn for an audience to be able to watch every week.
Luckily, there is Tami Taylor. I can’t imagine that any of us have spent years trying to get away from the likes of her. This is a woman who gave up her romantic birthday getaway to save Tyra Collette from herself. This is a woman who tries to choke down her own hurt to support her daughter even though she’s devastated to discover said daughter is having sex. The title of the episode is probably supposed to refer to how Landry finally expresses his frustration that Tyra’s family uses him up, but I like thinking of Tami more–she’s made her place in the world creating a quiet place to sit and rest. She’s worth watching the show, even when it hurts. And if Connie Britton isn’t at the very least nominated for an Emmy for the “sex talk” scene, there is no justice. She’s more than earned a swing, shade, apples, a boat…anything she wants.