Friday, 4 December 2009
Christmas Countdown – Guest Post: Anna Jarzab
Today’s guest post is from Anna Jarzab, author of All Unquiet Things (published January 12th 2010 by Delacorte) and writer of one of my favourite blogs. She is alternatively informative and hilarious and sometimes both together. I love the couple she picked. Thanks so much for sharing Anna.
It took me a long time to think of who my favorite couple is. I was really tempted to talk about Mulder and Scully–I mean, REALLY tempted. I also thought about writing about Veronica and Logan from Veronica Mars, Jim and Pam from The Office, Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl, and Joan and Adam from Joan of Arcadia. But none of those felt quite right.
Then I was sitting at my computer one day, sifting through the Watch Instantly options on Netflix, when I saw the third season of Friday Night Lights. I love FNL, but I’d only watched the first season, and for various plot related reasons I’d decided to skip most of the second. Nevertheless, I turned on the third season and got totally sucked in. Matt Saracen is my anti-drug.
But even though I love many couples on that show–Lyla and Tim (actually, her relationship with Tim Riggins is the only thing that can make Lyla palatable to me), Matt and Julie, Tyra and Landry–one obviously stands above the rest: Tami and Eric Taylor. It’s so amazingly rare to see a happily married couple portrayed on television. The FNL writers don’t even seem to have considered for one second that for the sake of salacious ratings mongering they might force one of the Taylors to cheat on or leave the other. That would just never happen; the Taylors are totally devoted, 100% a true team. In one season three episode, Eric says to Tami, “You are the best friend, mother, and lover a man could have.” It was the “friend” part that really got me. I almost started weeping on the spot.
The way they stand behind and support each other is truly remarkable. Even when their interests diverge, they find a way to work back to each other in the end. In season three, it happens more and more, because Tami is the principal of Dillon High and Eric is the head football coach–meaning that Tami’s dedication to academics and Eric’s prioritization of football often come to loggerheads. Any disagreement between them arises from natural tensions, as opposed to obstacles manufactured by writers. Things Eric chooses to ignore simply out of disinterest (like the Jumbotron fiasco) are some of Tami’s greatest battles, and he finds a way to be on her side regardless. They’re both good parents and good people, and they make a good team.
Eric and Tami Taylor are great examples for people trying to figure out how to write characters that feel, sound and act like real people. The whole show, in fact, is a great example of drawing drama out of realistic events and situations, rather than creating it for sweeps just to abandon it with no consequences an episode or two later (I’m looking at you, Gossip Girl). Even if you don’t care about football, it’s hard not to become obsessed with the show, because it feels so real and everyday, yet manages to be so interesting and sad and heartwarming and wonderful. But it’s really the characters that make it special–every single plotline feeds straight out of character, which is how all works of fiction should be–and Tami and Eric are the greatest examples of that.
Anna Jarzab grew up entirely in the suburbs, first outside of Chicago and then in San Francisco’s East Bay area, where All Unquiet Things is set. She graduated from Santa Clara University, earned her Master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and currently lives in New York City. All Unquiet Things is her first novel.
Remember to enter the contest and come back tomorrow to find out couple number nine!