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Posted at 08:29 AM ET, 09/19/2011

‘Friday Night Lights’: How its Emmy wins (and losses) represent the show’s values

Kyle Chandler

Kyle Chandler, accepting his Emmy for "Friday Night Lights." (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters) | GALLERY: Click the image above to view photos from this year's Emmy awards.

Most “Friday Night Lights” fans never thought they’d see a day when Kyle Chandler — their Coach Taylor — would accept an Emmy Award for his five seasons of nuanced work on one of the best, but not widely watched, shows ever to grace television.

Apparently Kyle Chandler never thought he’d see that day either because when he won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a drama, it became patently obvious that he hadn’t prepared an acceptance speech. The last time Coach was at such a loss for words was that time during season three when he walked in on Matt Saracen and Julie Taylor doing the deed. (Watch his acceptance speech after the jump.)

Both Chandler’s surprise win and the Emmy for best writing that went to the show’s lead scribe and executive producer Jason Katims — as well as its losses in a couple of other key categories — tapped right into the themes that “Friday Night Lights” so frequently emphasized.

If you do your absolute best, sometimes life will reward you with a victory.

With perseverance and humility (characteristics that the show itself demonstrated when it stuck around for three more seasons thanks to that NBC/DirecTV deal), positive things can happen.

And maybe most importantly, that good things can happen to good people.

Of course, “Friday Night Lights” always showed us the flip side of that coin: that with wins, there will also be losses.

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That’s why it was particularly sad to see Connie Britton not get an Emmy for her role as Tami Taylor to match the one that her TV husband won. Connie Britton, it truly was your turn, babe. Because, as we all know, there would be no Eric Taylor without his Tami and vice-versa. (Poor, flummoxed Chandler seemed to realize that as he desperately tried to add a thank you to Britton — and, presumably, to his real-life wife — at the end of his speech. Sadly, his mic got cut off.) So far, 61% of you agree that this was an oversight, ranking Britton’s snub as the second worst of the Emmy night, right behind Steve Carell’s.

Similarly, it was unfortunate that “Friday Night Lights” lost its one, hail mary chance at a best drama win to perennial favorite “Mad Men.” There is no question that AMC’s Don Draper saga is deserving. Still, didn’t it also feel like the wealthier Dillon Panthers had just beaten the scrappy East Dillon Lions when Matt Weiner got up there to accept what could have been a win for the people of Dillon, Tex.?

Still, as we know from watching “Friday Night Lights” — because, really, haven’t we learned everything we know about life from the Taylors and their circle of friends and boosters? — life is always a mixture of the bitter and the sweet. You win some. You lose some. But feeling proud of one’s accomplishments regardless is what sustains us.

As Katims said during his acceptance speech, quoting that mantra all FNL fans know so well; “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

For once, in at least two categories, “Friday Night Lights,” happily, didn’t lose.

By  |  08:29 AM ET, 09/19/2011

Tags:  Emmy Awards; Friday Night Lights

 
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