Friday Night Lights and the military

Anyone else watching this show? It keeps getting better and better. Characters are actually developing and changing! Boy howdy. :slight_smile:

But it doesn’t make the military look good, in how families at home are taken care of while a parent is serving overseas. I’m wondering how realistic it is.

They have a 16-year-old boy living with his grandma, who apparently has Alzheimer’s. (Mom has died.) He’s doing everything while dad’s in Iraq. School, work, family finances, taking care of grandma, all by himself. They’re living in a fairly small town which might not have a lot of resources, so maybe things would be better for the kid if they lived on base.

Anyways, does anyone know how realistic this situation is? Dad’s been in the military for 20 years. Shouldn’t he be sending enough money home so the kid doesn’t have to work?

Oh, and the kid doesn’t have a legal guardian. He’s totally on his own. I’m surprised that’d be allowed.

But great show, despite this possibly contrived bit of drama. :slight_smile:

After 20 years of service I would think that dad would have to be at least at E-6 at minimum unless he’s a complete fuck up. Basic pay for an E-6 with 20 years of service is about 3,000 a month but it might be higher if you include housing allowances or whatever extra they might get for their occupation.


I didn’t get to watch tonight’s episode yet but I got the vibe that the Saracen’s father did not want to be responsible for taking care of anybody, including his son. Feels like they could develop the angle that he is so determined to stay over there and do good because he’s a coward in his personal life and does not want to take responsibility for his family… over whatever history/incident may have happened to his wife/Saracen’s mother.

The dad could be sending money home, but more money is needed. And since a work ethic possibly still exists in a small Texas town, it might be the case that the boy would work anyway. I worked when I was 16 just because working was, at that time, an honorable thing to do.

Just finished watching last night’s episode. This show really tears at me, and I think it’s because of the extreme ways in which it is both good and bad. At least, in my eyes.

The Good

I think it’s a really good script most episodes. The characters are believable. Guy praying in a Baptist church, thanking God that the team he was pulling against lost. Both points of view on the lawsuit expressed eloquently and reasonably by the appropriate parties. Good banter. Overlapping dialog.

The sound editing is very good. A room full of partying people does not drown out the whispering between the front and center characters. But neither is the background overly supressed. You can hear the occasional loud punchline or primal scream.

Some of the acting is quite good. The coach, the bad boy’s girlfriend, the new quarterback (Timothy Hutton all over again) are all good. Likewise the car lot owner and a couple others.

The Bad

Gah. The shaky frigging camera. Never ceasing. This motion sickness worldview is just too annoying to allow for enjoyment of the finer aspects, at least to me. A shaky camera is good for scenes of chaos or running or things like that. But there is no point to it during a quiet dialog drama in a hospital room. Especially due to…

The frigging nose-hair close-ups. I mean, my God. I now know what a guy’s face would look like if I were kissing him with my eyes open. That’s because you can see the dandruff in these people’s eyelashes. I realize that that’s partly because it’s high def, but that too should be taken into account by the photographer/director.

The scene editing. From a close-up of tea-stained teeth to the flaky cuticles of fingernails tapping on a pocket to a half-focused half-face half-hidden by half a door jamb — all to deliver the line, “Thanks.” I’m guessing that all this pretentious camera work is intended to convey a sort of documentary style production. But. You need look no further than The Office to see how this is done right. Friday Night Lights does not do it right.

And finally, the dialog coaching. Like so many B-level motion pictures about the South, only one or two characters have anything close to an authentic local accent. No Texan teen is ever going to say, “You guys are the greatest parents. I love you guys.” At least not without the strongly nazalized long-I of longstanding southern tradition for “guys”. But even failing that, the word down here is “y’all”. And it isn’t like that’s some closely guarded secret. And in that part of the South, “want” and “won’t” are homonyms.

Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest.

bobalude, you might feel differently after watching the episode. I had the same feeling after first meeting Matt’s dad – the situation at home scared him more than Iraq. :slight_smile:

mgibson, Matt’s dad definitely isn’t a fuck-up, so based on what you said, I’m thinking the Saracen family’s financial situation is strictly for drama.

Good point, Lib, about Matt working because he’s just that type of kid. I’m okay with the accents. The Taylor family – are they native Texans? I got the impression from the first episode that they were newcomers to Dillon.

Would it matter where in Texas Dillon is located? It’s a big state, are the accents the same all over?