The Washington Post

Peter Berg is not messing around about Mitt Romney’s ‘Friday Night Lights’ slogan

Peter Berg is bringing down the hammer on Mitt Romney for using the “Friday Night Lights” mantra “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” as the central slogan of his presidential campaign.

Buddy Garrity, who, according to Peter Berg, is kinda sorta Mitt Romney. (Bill Records/NBC)

As the Hollywood Reporter first reported and The Post’s Election 2012 blog also noted, Berg — the executive producer of “Friday Night Lights” — sent a letter to the Romney campaign today that said Romney has “plagiarized this expression” in posters, speeches and on his Facebook page and that the Republican’s politics are “clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series.”

Then Berg said this about whether he will allow Romney to continue using the phrase: “The answer to your question is going to be no today, it’s going to be no tomorrow, and it’ll probably be no until the sun burns out. Is that clear?”

Wait, no. I’m sorry. That was what Coach Taylor said to Matt Saracen in the series finale when he asked if he could marry Julie.

Berg’s letter actually advised Romney and his advisers to “come up with your own campaign slogan.” Then, for good measure, the document suggested that Romney is Buddy Garrity.

“The only relevant comparison that I see between your campaign and ‘Friday Night Lights’ is in the character of Buddy Garrity — who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan,” Berg wrote.

I don’t know if that comparison is fair. I mean, so far, Romney has not promised anyone dinner for four at Applebee’s and two Panther playoff tickets in exchange for their vote.

It’s a shame that this has gotten so ugly. As I noted in yesterday’s post about this situation, “Friday Night Lights,” while occasionally a tad political (see: Becky Sproles and the abortion issue), was a show that largely went to great pains to avoid being red or blue. It’s unfortunate to see it becoming such a divisive pop cultural touchstone instead of the unifier it often felt like to those who watched.

(By the way, adding another layer to that divisiveness is the fact that Buzz Bissinger — who wrote the book “Friday Night Lights” on which both the Billy Bob Thornton film, directed by Berg, and the series were based — recently endorsed Mitt Romney in a column for The Daily Beast. Oh, and in yet another layer: he and Berg are cousins.)

It’s unclear what, if anything, will happen if Romney’s campaign does not comply with Berg’s request. I reached out to Berg’s attorney for comment and have not heard back yet.

In the meantime, the fans who are on Berg’s side in all this are clearly enjoying drawing various analogies between their favorite series and the Republican candidate “Clear eyes” controversy.

Upon learning that Mitt Romney is a fan of “Friday Night Lights”:…

— Joanna Robinson (@quityourJRob) October 12, 2012

Two words for you: Jumbo Tron RT @claytravisbgid Wow, letter compares Mitt Romney to Buddy Garrity. Is this real life?

— Larry Carter (@LarryTheDeuce) October 12, 2012

If Romney continues, Coach Taylor is going to have to make him run up and down a hill in torrential rain and then walk home. #FNL

— ishira kumar (@ishirakumar) October 12, 2012

Breaking: @buddygarrity poll numbers collapse after questions arise about Santiago’s whereabouts. #FNLmayor

— Billy Riggins (@billyriggins) October 11, 2012

The Peter Berg thing means that I get to bring up #FNL in every conversation today which means I get to talk about Tim Riggins so I’m stoked

— Erin (@WineStainedLife) October 12, 2012

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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