sublime stuff in pop culture

30Jan09

Two things:

Friday Night Lights is simply the best thing going on television right now. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of great stuff playing: Lost, Damages, Top Chef, America’s Best Dance Crew, none of those should be missed. But nothing has as much universal appeal, sublime storytelling, and relatable characters as Friday Night Lights. It’s nuanced without being too complicated or hard to follow. It deals with race better than anything I’ve seen on network television and it has the best portrayal of a marriage ever. Tami Taylor is my hero, along with Michelle Obama. The only excuse anybody has not to watch Friday Night Lights is if they don’t have a television, and even that doesn’t work: you can catch the first two seasons online.

Thing 2? Tennis. More specifically, Rafael Nadal. I know a lot of people don’t watch tennis. I think it’s a sport you have to get into when you’re young or else you’re never going to get it. But last night’s Australian Open semifinal match between Rafael Nadal (world #1, finally) and Fernando Verdasco (a fellow Spaniard who’s recently retooled his game with some of Andre Agassi’s old team) was of the highest quality in sport, period. The two men managed to produce some seriously sublime shotmaking. I’ve been a serious fan of Rafa for almost four years now but he had moments last night that surprised even me. For a introduction to the best of tennis, particularly if your image of the sport involves country club whites, watch any of the ESPN highlight reels today and ask yourself if you could win a point in which you have to spin around twice (once after falling) just to chase the ball, among other things in a 20-point rally.

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