There are few actresses on television I love more than Connie Britton
, who plays the indelible Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights
. Tami is one of the most complex and fascinating female characters on the air, and Britton brings a level of realism and strength to the role that's indispensable. The actress recently sat down with the Los Angeles Times
to discuss season 3 of Friday Night Lights
, which is currently airing on DirecTV. Britton opens up about Tami's new position as principal, the difficulty of packing everything into a 13-episode season, and the complicated relationship between Tami and Julie.
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One of the most interesting changes in season 3 has been Tami's new position as principal of Dillon High. The season started with Tami deciding whether to use funds raised for a new JumboTron for academics, which put her at odds with the rest of the town. Britton admits to being disappointed that her character's career change has been pushed to the background in subsequent episodes, but still thinks it's important to show a strong woman in a position of power.
"In this town, and in this school, being a principal is certainly a position of power," she says. "And quite often [on television], that sort of role is shown in a very specific way. Once you put women in a position of power, you're dealing with hysteria and anger and bitchiness, and all these kind of tags that people attach to women who are dealing with roles of power. That was something I worked really hard with the writers to resist. Certainly there are some women who behave that way when they're given a position of power, but that's not the experience of the women I have known."
One reason Tami's role as principal has been overshadowed is due to the shortened 13-episode season. The series has many different characters and story lines to juggle in a small amount of time, including the exits of Jason Street and Smash Williams. The actress admits that she's "feeling both the pros and cons" of the shortened schedule, but does see some advantages to it.
"We're pretty close to being finished shooting the season," she reveals. "That's one thing about shooting 13 episodes. It goes by fast. But also, it's really nice because it feels very concentrated. I also feel like they're trying to get a lot into a short period of time. They're trying to cover a lot of characters, and we have two important characters leaving the show. So they really need to do them justice, and we need to make sure we feel like they're going off into a world where they can still be incorporated into our world."
Tami's relationship with her daughter has experienced plenty of ups and downs since the show began. Their most recent battle came after Julie got a tattoo without telling her parents, which led to the type of tough love viewers have come to expect from Tami Taylor.
"I am so fascinated with the way that relationship has evolved," Britton admits. "I give such credit to her [Aimee Teegarden
] for that. In the pilot, she was this feisty girl who was really smart and was not really of this football world. I felt like she was kind of a chip off the old block. She was a younger version of me, in a way. I still think that, and that's why I think, at the end of the day, we've created this kind of adversarial relationship. There is a little fear there. She knows who she's up against because that's who she is."
The actress admits that she was afraid of getting trapped in the boring wife role when she first heard about the part on Friday Night Lights
. Thankfully, Tami has evolved into one of the most complex characters on the show.
"I signed on to do this show, I was afraid," she admits. "I thought I'd be playing the coach's wife on a football show. So not only did I not think I was going to be the heart on the show, I thought I was going to be this supplemental fly -- sort of wallflower -- only speak when spoken to. I said to [creator] Peter Berg, 'I'm honestly not willing to do that.' So we took the risk together to try and make it more than that."
- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
(Image courtesy of NBC)