Question: I lived in Houston for six years, having moved from the Midwest (where I've now returned), and was recently visited by some good friends from Texas. We were talking about TV, and, of course, I mentioned Friday Night Lights and how great it is. They informed me that they have been avoiding it like the plague. I couldn't believe it! Even more incredible was their reasoning: that a TV show would just ridicule native Texans, and that they'd had to survive all the stereotypes of Dallas for all those years. Of course, those who watch know the show does nothing of the kind! (Comparing it to Dallas?! Horror!) But from what I could tell, this appears to be a common misconception amongst many of their friends down there. I still can't believe it. But I'm curious: Do other shows with specific locations that almost act as characters in the drama suffer the same fate from their "hometown" audiences? And what on Earth can we do to combat that? If the whole state of Texas were to embrace this show, it could potentially double the audience and then some!
Answer: I can't imagine that Texans are truly united against this show. It would be nice if it created that much of a fuss anywhere, to be honest. This poor show is ebbing away on Fridays, though for now, let's just be happy if NBC simply leaves it be for a while. The only thing I can think of to explain such a parochial backlash is to compare it to hearing doctors talk about watching medical shows or lawyers talk about most legal dramas. Some Texas natives may just assume the show won't get some of the cultural (or even the football) details right, and this being drama, they may have a point. It's also a fact that because Friday Night Lights refuses to pander, it doesn't always show its characters in the best light — neither the kids nor the adults are perfect or even heroic, although it rarely stoops to the sort of caricature you would find in Dallas. (I would bet there are car salesmen who cringe at some of Buddy's antics, but that's hardly confined to Texans.) All I know is that if there were a show that examined the world of Indiana basketball (my roots) with as much integrity, humanity, authenticity and respect as Friday Night Lights does the world of Texas football, I'd be mighty proud and would be mounting a campaign to get fellow Hoosiers to watch.

I wish I had space to include all the comments I'm getting on Friday Night Lights these days (and that each of these letters could carry with them a Nielsen rating). I'll close with this testimony from Keira: "I had to write to say an emphatic thank you for acknowledging that the Tyra/Landry murder storyline on Friday Night Lights is ill-conceived but adding that you're not letting it ruin the show for you. I've read so much doom and gloom from critics and fans saying that this one storyline is going to destroy the whole series. Talk about tossing the baby out with the bath water! While I wish the writers had thought of a less over-the-top way to bring Tyra and Landry together, I'm not about to throw in the towel on this wonderful show. Adrienne Palicki and Jesse Plemons were terrific in last week's episode, and I look forward to seeing them continue to shine. With a situation like this, the glass can either be half full or half empty, and I'm sorry to see so many fans choosing the latter option." Let's raise that glass half full to Friday Night Lights and just keep watching, OK? Keep the faith.