Finally, finally, finally, Friday Night Lights got the recognition it deserves at last Sunday’s Emmy’s: the Best Writing Emmy and the Best Actor Emmy to Kyle Chandler for his portrayal of Coach Eric Taylor. Both of these awards were so well merited — because when it comes to the relationship between Coach Eric and his wife Tami, Friday Night Lights really got it right.
The central relationship on Friday Night Lights between protagonists Eric and Tami has been called by the New York Times “the best marriage on television.” Unlike so many couples on TV, Coach and Tami aren’t just now falling in love, aren’t young, and aren’t constantly breaking up or tempted by other relationships. They’re also not perfect. They’re a long-term couple who argue and support each other and get frustrated and go through changes, together.
They support each other, they talk through big decisions together, and they always treat each other kindly. Even in their worst moments, they communicate their thoughts respectfully, never resorting to low-blows or meanness.
Says David Carr in the NYT:
“The relationship between the Taylors reminds many of the best parts of marriage, in which the injury to the one is felt by both, and victories, sweet and fleeting, are held in common.”
There aren’t many other examples of a long — and successful — marriage on television, and the numerous “Tami + Eric” tribute videos on Youtube speak to the resonance to fans. It’s easy to draw out the intrigue of a “will they or won’t they?” romance (a la Pam and Jim from The Office), or the pain of a marriage falling apart (See: Don and Betty on Mad Men.)
But to portray the middle of a marriage in a way that’s not idealized or melodramatic? That’s a true feat, and utter pleasure to watch.
[If you’ve missed Friday Night Lights, you’re in luck! The entire series is available on Netflix Instant, and yes, it’s just as good as everyone says. And no, you don’t have to like football.]