What is the best fictional battle cry
When Julie, the daughter of high school football coach Eric Taylor, is asked in a college interview if she wants to say something about herself that is not already in the letter of motivation, she hesitates for a moment. After her father took the job in Dillon, Texas and she had to move there as a teenager, she then replies that Dillon felt like the worst place on earth to her. But now, just before she graduated from high school and was about to begin college, Dillon seemed lovable to her, and she realized that it had become a part of her that she would take with her wherever she went. It is very similar after five seasons Friday Night Lights, a series about the fictional small town in Texas, in which everything revolves around the local high school football team, the "Panthers", because there is nothing else that pulls the population out of the gloomy everyday life. Even those who, like Julie Taylor, can hardly do anything with American football or hardly understand anything about it, will quickly be captured by the NBC series, which is almost unknown in this country and which is in a certain way the small-town counterpart The Wireforms, but renounces sociological demands and pessimistic mood, but confidently the flair of teenage series like Beverly Hills 90210 exudes.
The model for Dillon is Odessa / Texas, which went through the Texan oil boom of the 20th century, but dated 1987 Money Magazine was named the fifth most terrible city in the United States and a year later in a ranking of the most stressful cities in the United States in Psychology Today ended up in seventh place. In the same year Harry G. Bissinger decided after working as a journalist at Philadelphia Inquirer received the Pulitzer Prize to move to Odessa for a school year with his wife and two children to watch a season of the Permian Panthers high school football team. The resulting book Friday Night Lights. A Town, a Team, and a Dream (1990) sold more than two million copies and forms the basis for Peter Berg's NBC series of the same name, which aired from 2006 to 2011. A bestseller and a television series about a high school football team may seem strange from a European perspective, but not in Odessa, which with its 90,000 inhabitants is each more than 300 miles from major cities like Dallas, Austin or Tucson. There they regularly gather under the floodlights on Friday evenings - hence Friday Night Lights - 20,000 spectators at the stadium to watch the games of the Panthers who are revered like heroes in the local community.
It succeeds Friday Night Lights in an impressive and at the same time disturbing way to immerse yourself in the spirit of a small American town that is not only isolated, but isolated from the world. During the frequent car trips through suburban settlements or past sadly large shopping centers, the radio is constantly on, reporting on either the past or the future game of the Panthers. The stars of the team are interviewed by the local TV channels that seal Dillon, Texas off from the rest of the country and the world with their coverage. Nobody learns about this through the local media, but only through the appearance of specific people: The father of the quarterback is a soldier in Iraq, and after the flood disaster comes a highly talented player from New Orleans who is looking for a new team. There Friday Night Lights is based on Bissinger's stories, this is not compensated for by the Internet, which plays a comparatively minor role in the lives of young people, although the story has been brought into the present. Dillon / Texas is its own little world where you go to the stadium on Fridays and to church on Sundays; Odessa had sixty Baptist congregations in the late 1980s, 19 of the Church of Christ, twelve of the Assembly of God, seven Catholic and five of the Pentecostal movement. While many of the students immerse themselves in this very world in which the football players are heroes and are celebrated everywhere as long as they win, others see their limitations and want to overcome them. However, many of the male characters consider it the most promising option to leave Dillon, to attract the talent scouts of the Panthers team and thus to get hold of a college scholarship.
How futile and dangerous this attempt is makes Friday Night Lights clear right from the start. In the first episode of the first season, star quarterback Jason Street remains motionless on the field after an attempted block and becomes paraplegic. The physical danger that football players expose themselves to in every game, which has been the subject of intense discussion in the NFL in recent years following spectacular deaths, is only part of the problem. Already in the first season players from past Panthers teams, who made it to the State Championship and then supposedly made it, appear as crazy existences, which it did more harm than good that they were revered like stars at school. To be a hero in Dillon does not qualify for anything in the rest of the world, and outside of the place you will only be successful if you evade its rules and ideas. But above all those who are forced to do so because they do not correspond to them succeed in doing this. Jason Street makes it to New York in a wheelchair and the replacement quarterback Matt Saracen, who is quickly replaced when a younger student with a "better arm" shows up, to the Art School in Chicago. Ultimately, you shouldn't wish anyone in good conscience to be a successful Dillon Panther; But that's exactly what you want throughout the series: This team with the slogan “Clear eyes, full hearts, can't loose” shouldn't lose, but rather go its way to the Texas championship: “all the way to state ».
The fact that even non-football fans cheer intensely with every game of the Panthers is due not least to the character of the coach, Eric Taylor, who is at the center of the story with his family. To reiterate the dimensions of high school football in Dillon: Eric Taylor is not the coach, but the head coach of the Panthers, assisted by four other coaches. The series begins with Taylor taking over the Dillon Panthers. How merciless this job is, he learns when he has to remove countless "For Sale" signs from his front yard after the first defeat and listen to radio reports about his inability for days. The city and the Panthers are ruled by a group of local retailers and small business owners, the so-called boosters, led by the sleazy dealership owner Buddy Garrity, who knows everyone and takes care of everything, but also has enough time to watch the training and question the coaching decisions . Coach Taylor is a mixture of a drill instructor from the US Army, who does not tolerate contradiction and who only responds to non-compliance with his instructions with additional training, and the teacher from the "Club of Dead Poets", who succeeds in making it out of all players getting the most out of them by taking them seriously and promoting their inherent talents. Coach Taylor quickly becomes the character in Dillon with whom everyone wants to share their worries and problems - from the players to Buddy Garrity - so that through him and his wife Tami, who acts as guidance counselor for the high school students , an insight into the inner life and soul of Dillon / Texas is opened.
Marriage and family are upheld in Dillon, but almost all marriages and families are broken - a finding that is matched by the statistical figures of Psychology Today Corresponds about Odessa. Men cheat on their wives and beat their children. Women drink, are addicted to drugs, and work in strip clubs frequented by each other's men. Children have to look after their grandmothers with dementia because their fathers are at war, and on Sundays everyone meets in the various parishes and praises the Lord. The mayor is a lesbian, but of course cannot say that publicly; only Buddy Garrity knows because he had an affair with her, "before she started playing for the other team," and the Taylors are taken into their confidence. When a sixteen-year-old girl who becomes pregnant after a one night stand decides to have an abortion, instead of confronting him, the mother of the possible father instigates a campaign against Tami Taylor for allegedly giving the girl an abortion and thus "killed" her granddaughter. Out of the bigotry and imposed friendliness of Dillon, only the Taylors stand out, whom Daniel Mendelsohn rightly called "the finest representation of middle-class marriage in popular culture" in the NYRB. In the second season, Tami Taylor, who is also known in town as Misses Coach, rises from Guidance Counselor to Headmistress and sets other priorities in this role, which brings her into conflict with her husband, who is about the football team . Eric says resignedly to her: “You know who I miss? I miss the coach’s wife ”, to which she replies:“ You know who I can’t wait to meet? The principal’s husband. " Even more beautiful and meaningful than this dialogue, which Lorrie Moore makes the key to their relationship in NYRB, is the scene in which Eric comes home late and Tami tries to rush to help when he sees her putting out the garbage cans. She pushes him back because she does not allow him to calm his conscience, but wants to fully carry out the task that is actually his responsibility. In their countless confrontations, Eric's looks say that he would like a wife who only looks after the children and follows him unconditionally, but at the same time wants to be married to none other than Tami. And Tami would like to fulfill his wish to be just “the coach's wife” and mother, but knows that not only is it financially not possible, but if she tried, her marriage would end like all of them other marriages in Dillon. Both worry about their teenage daughter and try hard to get everything right, but they both have to do a lot wrong. In Dillon, their sincerity and philanthropy stand out in such a way that they quickly take on central positions, but they are just great lights in a small town. When Eric Taylor took on a short-term job as a co-trainer at a university, not only does the commuting lead to massive crises, but also the fact that he has to follow instructions and is one of many. In Dillon, Tami confronts anyone who she believes is wrong and uses common sense to resolve conflicts, even if she sometimes overshoots the mark, for example when she upsets the young teacher her daughter is flirting with. However, when she meets the married teaching assistant at Julie's College, with whom her daughter had an affair, because of which she no longer dares to go back to university, she says nothing. She is only socially competent in the small world of Dillon / Texas, on which the series focuses so much that almost all characters disappear from view as soon as they leave the place.
Makes at first sight Friday Night Lights countless mistakes that were believed to have been overcome in «quality series». Dillon, Texas is home to a surprising number of very good-looking high school teenagers who look more like their mid-twenties and often talk like that, at least not like teenagers from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds in small Texas towns. The geography and size of the place do not reveal themselves properly even after five seasons, so that one can hardly find one's way; In the fifth season, a completely different part of Dillon suddenly appears, in which a predominantly black and poorer population lives that was previously hidden, even if the everyday racism of the city was intensely discussed. Countless storylines simply stay where they are: people are there for a few episodes and then disappear again without clarifying what has become of them. At the beginning of the second season, a subplot with a manslaughter after an attempted rape that is so implausible and melodramatic that one believes the series is lost begins - owing to the audience ratings that were probably too low up to that point. Dillon is portrayed as a terrible place, but almost all characters are ultimately lovable and susceptible to the Taylor's rational arguments that you have to work on yourself and make something of yourself. As if that weren't enough, the fate of almost all characters who really make an effort actually turns positive. One creeps the feeling that, above all, the stories of the characters are not being told, for which there was no even halfway plausible positive twist.
Against all social probability, in Friday Night Lights again and again young people through sport and a trainer to better people. The reliably unrealistically positive outcome of the stories does not change the fact that the characters are drawn in an extremely complex manner in their conflicts with themselves and their relationship constellations. Not only Daniel Mendelsohn should keep you busy after just one episode than any other character Mad Men after five seasons. Besides the entertainment value is Friday Night Lights Finally, a great expedition into the state of mind of a US medium or small town. Instead of how The WireTo repeatedly demonstrate the individual's attempts to lead a good life in bad systems as a futile exercise, the series celebrates the hard, continuous work on the self, the desire to become a better person. Success, at least as Coach Taylor promises his players, will be a side effect if it is not made your only goal. Who wouldn't want to believe that for at least 3344 minutes of their lives?
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