A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons special on I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
Why I Won’t See Super 8
Tuesday, July 05, 2011 - 06:00 PM
As the temperature — and humidity — climb, the only real escape is the local multiplex, which offers industrial strength doses of air conditioning and the kind of nostalgia only Steven Spielberg can deliver. My fellow Gen-Xers and I have been keyed up for Super 8 for what seems like an eternity: it debuted at #1 and critics grant it "succeeds marvelously ... with 12,000 watts of gut-rumbling Dolby sound.”
But I will avoid the most anticipated movie of the summer to stay true to one man: Eric Taylor.
Taylor is a small-town Texas high school football coach and the hero of NBC’s Friday Night Lights. The show is a television drama filmed like a documentary — shaky shots captured from odd angles make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a small town’s dysfunctional relationship with the sport. That the actors are for the most part unknowns only confirms this illusion.
Then, in a preview for Super 8, I caught a glimpse of Coach Taylor in an unfamiliar uniform. He had the same furrowed brow and piercing hazel eyes I’ve come to know well, but he was wearing a sheriff deputy’s badge. Hold on, why would Coach be moonlighting as law enforcement? This is a guy I’ve watched get his players out of jail. I’ve seen him spar with referees, despair after a rough game, hold his baby daughter. Now I find out he’s got a son and lives in Ohio? Like Harry Potter performing on Broadway in his birthday suit, it just ain’t right.
I know, get real. The man's name is Kyle Chandler (a fact that I grudgingly checked for this post) and he is an actor. But for me and for now, Friday Night Lights achieves those elusive goals all TV shows chase: it’s brought me inside a family and made me invested in its fate. That’s a relationship worth protecting. Although the series has wrapped, most of us are catching the final season airing on NBC through July 15. And I pledge to suspend my disbelief until the last possible second.
More Friday Night Lights: Listen to Kurt Andersen's interview with Kyle Chandler's co-star Connie Britton.