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Alternative Reality TV


Illustrations by Dan Goldman  

Friday Night Lights

By Mindy Kaling and Ryan Koh, writers from The Office

Over the past 12 episodes…
The Dillon Panthers hit a rough patch: Smash punched a white guy and got suspended, Riggins fell in with a meth dealer, and Matt had his heart broken. Coach and Tami fought about baby-rearing duties. Lyla was born again, and Tyra continued to be tall.

EPISODE 13: “The Big Game”
It’s the sixth-to-last game of the season and the stakes could not be higher. Unfortunately, three of the best players have gone missing. With four seconds left before the game, they show up, and the Panthers win by a small margin.

EPISODE 14: “Play-offs”
The team prepares for the play-offs. The stakes are unbearably high. Lyla and Tyra run into each other in the supermarket and get into a fight; Lyla is rich and Tyra is poor. As it happens, everyone else is in the supermarket, too and has taken sides on the matter, roughly along class lines. Also, Riggins has gone missing. But Saracen is no longer missing, and he leads the team to victory by a small margin.

EPISODE 15: “Coach, I Can Do This”
With the stakes dangerously high, the mayor cancels the game, but the rivalry between Lyla and Tyra goes on. Lyla is pretty in a pristine way, Tyra in a rough-hewn way, both appealing. Who will win the heart of quarterback Jason Street, or bad boy Riggins (both appealing)? At the Taylors’, Coach and Tami can’t see eye to eye. Coach tries to balance work and family, while Tami wants to balance family and work. The team defies the mayor and plays Odessa, uniting the town again.

EPISODE 16: “The Semis”
Flags are flown at half-mast in a day of mourning for the Panthers’ overtime loss. Coach Taylor’s daughter Julie robs the Dillon Applebee’s. “I love you, Jules,” he says, “but you just don’t rob Applebee’s.”

And for the SEASON FINALE… “The Bowl”

The governor of Texas wagers the state’s electoral votes on the outcome of a Panthers scrimmage. Before the game, an exhausted Coach Taylor simply paraphrases Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day. The varsity squad, uninspired, heads into the fourth quarter tied with JV at 14 before the events pictured below. With Riggins’s heroism, the integrity of the presidential election is saved—but meanwhile, Julie has gone missing.


With only seconds remaining, RIGGINS dives over the offensive and defensive lines into the end zone.
ANNOUNCER: (offscreen) …And Riggins’s gutsy dive puts the Panthers ahead 20 to 14! But it looks like he got shaken up on the play. He’s not getting up.

ANNOUNCER: Let’s hope Riggins is all right, because there’s just something about him that is very attractive.
A DOCTOR kneels beside RIGGINS.
DOCTOR: This looks bad. I’ll have to cut off his jersey.

The jersey is cut away to reveal RIGGINS’s abs—instead of a six-pack, it’s a twelve-pack.
DOCTOR: Oh my God.
COACH TAYLOR: What is it, Doctor?
DOCTOR: There are too many abs here!
On the sidelines, LYLA and TYRA burst into tears.

We see RIGGINS, his shirt shredded, waking, then getting …
RIGGINS: I wanna play.
Behind him is a flapping AMERICAN FLAG.
RADIO D.J.: (Playing in the car as COACH drives home) And they went on to win the game. The odds were against them, but they did it. Every single person pulled his own weight, and the weight of his teammates, and the weight of the town, and they did it. By a small margin.


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