It's become increasingly evident over the past few weeks that, despite using Friday Night Lights' most famous line "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" in his campaign, GOP candidate didn't actually watch the beloved football drama. Or, if he did, he missed out on some pretty important things. First, you don't tick off Peter Berg or else he'll dislike you more than everyone disliked Epyck. Secondly, you don't use the Dillon Panthers battle cry for political gain. Buddy Garrity never even stooped that low. Thirdly, and most importantly: you don't make Tami Taylor upset, y'all.
But Romney has done all of these things and none other than Tami Taylor herself, actress Connie Britton, has something to say about it. Britton, along with former FNL executive producer Sarah Aubrey, penned an open letter to USA Today airing their grievances about Romney's choice to use the series' iconic, meaningful motto.
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose," was the battle cry for the high school football teams of Dillon, Texas, on the TV show Friday Night Lights for five seasons. But the show wasn't just about football. And "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" wasn't just about winning games. Rather, it was a rallying cry of hope and optimism in a community where everyone had a fair shot -- no matter their background, no matter their parents, no matter their gender. And no matter their politics. So it has been surprising that the phrase has been usurped and co-opted by Mitt Romney and his campaign for their gain. And it got us thinking: What would the women of Dillon think about this? Dillon is a classic American town filled with hard-working, middle-class Americans, who just want to lead productive, healthy lives. And the women we represented on the show -- the women we are in real life -- are like the millions of women across the nation. Women who want to make our own health care decisions. Women who want to earn equal pay for the work we do. Women who want affordable health care. In fact, it is President Obama who has shown his values to be more closely aligned with those represented by the phrase. The first measure he signed into law after becoming president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- so a female high school counselor or physical education teacher can fight for equal pay for equal work. This law makes it possible for women such as the character that I (Britton) played of Tami Taylor -- to fight for the same wages as men no matter what they do or where they live, from Dillon to Philadelphia, where Tami was able to pursue her dream job as a college admissions counselor. And President Obama's landmark Affordable Care Act has been transformative for women. For the first time in our lives, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition — our insurers can't charge us more for having breast cancer or being the victim of domestic violence. This law fully covers the cost of our preventive care, our annual check-ups, our birth control. And on Friday Night Lights, quarterback Matt Saracen's grandma would have then been able to get the affordable health care she needed. Romney actually wants to throw the entire law -- and every benefit -- out, and while he's at it, get rid of Planned Parenthood—the health care provider that nearly three million Americans rely on for their life-saving cancer screenings, well-woman visits and affordable birth control. Planned Parenthood was well represented on the show, too -- Brian "Smash" Williams' mom worked there, Tami got a pregnancy test there, and, after being abandoned by her parents, Becky Sproles was able to get a safe and legal abortion there. So as women, let's take "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts" back and use it as it was always intended -- as a motivator for progress, power, and greatness. Let's use our clear eyes and full hearts to vote early. Let's use our clear eyes and full hearts to tell every friend, family member and neighbor about what's at stake for women in this election. What's at stake for all of us. If we women make ourselves aware of the issues and make our voices heard, we most certainly cannot lose.
First Berg and now Britton. If he keeps using the quote without the approval or blessing of the FNL family, he might disappear from the national conscious as quickly as the mysterious Santiago.
[Photo credit: FayesVision/WENN.com]
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Earlier this October, Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg wrote a colorful letter to presidential candidate Mitt Romney after Romney employed the classic phrase used by FNL protagonist Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) before every big game. "Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose" means a great deal to fans of the series, and it makes sense that Romney would hope to win over voters' emotions with the well-written phrase. However, Berg isn't a supporter of the Romney campaign, and with the recent addition of "Clear Eyes" bracelets to Romney's campaign store, Berg is likely going to be miffed once more.
When Romney first uttered the phrase, Berg insisted that the candidate stop using it, writing:Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series ... 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.And if this was Berg's reaction before, when Romney was simply re-purposing the phrase for an audience in Iowa—"We have clear eyes, we know what we believe. Full hearts, we love this country. And we can't lose," he said—imagine what he'll have to say now that Romney's merchandising department is selling a set of red, white, and blue bracelets with the phrase, "Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. America can't lose." It appears to be a direct copy of the FNL phrase, where there was only overt re-purposing before. To add insult to injury, Romney's camp also passed the bracelets out during a flag football competition on Sunday between campaign reporters and his staff, according to the Washington Post.
Of course, now that Romney's camp is actually using a direct copy of the phrase instead of the permutation Berg previously claimed was "plagiarized" (before requesting that Romney "Please come up with [his] own campaign slogan") it is possible that what was once simply a contentious turn of phrase could come under scrutiny as a real issue of plagiarism.
Representatives for Berg could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: NBC; MittRomney.com] More: 'Friday Night Lights' Creator Slams Mitt Romney Pop Culture Debates: Should You Vote for Jed Bartlet or David Palmer? Who Won the Second 2012 Presidential Debate?
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It has long been considered a foregone conclusion, but the Friday Night Lights movie is happening. Peter Berg says so.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association's press tour on Monday, the multihyphenate -- who has basically been involved in every single, solitary capacity on the critically adored NBC/DirecTV football drama (and the 2004 movie) -- had this to say: "We’re writing a script. We’ve been meeting with [fellow Friday Night Lights producer] Jason Katims for the last couple of weeks. We have a real good script idea. We want to do it. We’re very serious about doing it. We intend to do it.”
For those keeping score at home, this would bring the current tally to: book > movie > TV series > movie. Where's the video game?!
Source: TV Line