Fast away the old year passes

December 31, 2011

Here's how we celebrate the New Year en famille Sycoraxienne: D is with his family in NC, I'm with mine in DC, and we're watching the first season of Friday Night Lights again and weeping over Tim Riggins's emotional repression.  Seriously: it's one of the finest, deftest television series ever made, one of the canniest critiques and romances of American self-conception, and it makes me want to reread this enthralling oral history of the series:
"I want to build up this all-American quarterback, this hero. This wonderful, beautiful kid with his entire future ahead of him. His biggest decision in life was whether he was going to take a full ride to UT or Notre Dame. He's got the hot girlfriend. He's got the loving parents. And he's going to break his neck in the first game. We're going to create this iconic American hero, and we're going to demolish him."
Here's what strikes me about Friday Night Lights after several trips through it (it's endlessly rewatchable): this is a show that actually respects production and process.  This is a show that admires its set dressers and the work they do, that dwells on the details of costume and object to build a richly layered world of ironies and motivations, that gives its cameramen (and -women?) the freedom of improvisation and its actors the latitude to practice their craft with spontaneity and nuance.  Not to mention the fact that it presents masculinity as a state of emotional complexity and depth, teenagers as beings of tremendous and harried ethical responsibility, and marriage as a matter of negotiation and conflict, mistakes and respect.

So, FNL with the parents, champagne at ten, and then an evening of syllabus work and blogging.  That's how we send the year out chez Sycorax.  Bring it, 2012.

2 Responses so far.

  1. OH, interesting post! And that this is a tradition for you! ! I have heard one, possibly two Terri Gross interviews about this show and it has always intrigued me. This post may put me over the edge on it. Hey, happy New Year.

  2. You totally have to watch it, Carolyn - it's just totally engrossing, even for those (like me) who cannot seem to understand football. I can't wait to hear what you think. (And it streams on Netflix now....)

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