Tami Taylor: TV’s Coolest Mom Is Back!
I recently discovered the brilliance that is Friday Night Lights on dvd, thanks to my local library. Maybe some of you have seen it. It’s a series based on the movie (which was based on a book, which was based on real-life events). I’m not a football fan, but I don’t have to be to enjoy this show. It’s a superior drama with compelling stories and dynamite acting. It tackles great themes (no pun intended!) and is gritty in its realistic storytelling style.
(For the uninitiated: FNL is centered on the Taylor family, recently relocated to the small – and fictional – town of Dillon, Texas, where dad Eric is given the immense challenge of coaching the elite high school football team. Eric and his wife Tami have a daughter, Julie, who is a sophomore at the high school. And Tami becomes the school’s guidance counselor. The close-knit family discovers that for the people of Dillon, life consists of little else than winning football games. Pressure ensues. Relationships are tested. The family learns to survive in the small-town public’s eye.)
Season one was great. I can’t wait to see season two when it arrives on dvd (April 22!). And I just learned that the show (whose ratings have always been fledgling and whose survival has always seemed doubtful) will be coming back this fall! In honor of its renewal, I thought I’d write about one of the highlights: Connie Britton as Tami Taylor.
Britton is a phenomenal actress. She portrays the varying emotions of devotion, exasperation, wisdom, confusion, and pride with ease, sometimes all in the same scene. As Tami juggles the pressures of the town, the fullness of her husband’s workload, and the angst of her teenage daughter, not to mention her own career (she counsels the same students her husband coaches on the field, creating interesting ethical dilemmas for Eric & Tami), her strength of character shines brightly. She looks after struggling students with maternal wisdom, encouraging them to achieve everything they can for their futures. She gives her husband insight into the emotional lives of the players and puts up with prying townspeople. She handles the pressure of being married to the head coach with grace. And she always looks fabulous. Seriously, she has the best hair and sense of style I’ve ever seen for a t.v. mom (Rachel Green doesn’t count).
The scene I recall most vividly is one wherein Tami confronts her daughter about her plans to have sex with her boyfriend. It’s pretty powerful. I’m not sure I’d say everything to my child in the exact same way or with the exact same words – thank goodness that’s a conversation many, many, MANY! years away with my own daughter – but it’s a compelling slice of t.v. motherhood nonetheless. And Julie ultimately opts out of getting intimate with her boyfriend, as a direct result of this confrontation with her mother. Julie trusted what her mother had to say over her own raging hormones.
Season two is all about Tami having a second child – a surprise, of course – and how the family adjusts to that addition. I can’t wait to see how she handles everything!
Have you seen Friday Night Lights? What makes a realistic t.v. mom? And who are some of your favorites?