'Friday Night Lights': Portrait of a Marriage



In a recent interview with NPR, Connie Britton (who plays Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights) said that both she and Kyle Chandler (who plays Coach Taylor) "agreed that we did not want this to be a marriage where we ultimately were addressing infidelity or whatever" because "we really wanted to deal with the authenticity of what it is to try to make a marriage work." Britton added that "if you're in what we'd consider to be a good marriage, there's going to be a foundation there. There's going to be a foundation that is solid. So on top of that foundation, you can rock the boat every which way that you want to, and be able to go back to what's at the core of it."

As many commentators and bloggers have noted, the Taylors' union is one of the best real depictions of a good marriage perhaps in the history of television. There are no sensationalistic storylines involving infidelity, illegitimate children, mistrust, or even just spite. The Taylors truly are a team. They respect each other, and it's the security that they exude and the trust in each other that they display that make this marriage different from most that are depicted on television.

So when Glen—a counselor West Dillon High who has had a major crush on Tami, planted a drunken, unwanted kiss on a very unsuspecting Mrs. Taylor two episodes ago—blindsides a similarly unsuspecting Coach Taylor (Tami kept the kiss a secret) with an admission of his indiscretion, the security of the Taylor's marriage shines through.

A man who is neither secure about himself nor his marriage may have become livid at his wife for allowing someone like Glen to kiss her. He may have blown a gasket because his wife kept this information from him.

Not Coach Taylor.

He has enough trust in his wife and confidence in himself and his marriage to know his wife would not step out on him. In fact, the Taylors have so much confidence and faith in each other that the "Glen incident" becomes a running joke throughout this week's episode.

For instance, when Coach Taylor has to cancel a date to go to Carroll Park, Tami teases him by saying that she'll call Glen to take his place. Coach Taylor tells her to call Glen but to make sure that he doesn't "drink all my Scotch." Earlier in the episode, Coach Taylor joked after kissing his wife that he felt like he had just technically kissed Glen as well.

At the end of the episode, the Taylors go to a lake that has sentimental meaning for them on their long-awaited date. I liked how the calmness of this moment symbolized, as Britton said, how no matter how topsy-turvy things may get for the Taylors, their strong foundation always ensures their marriage will be solid and enduring.

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Tony Lee contributes to The Atlantic Online. Follow him on Twitter: @TheTonyLee.

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