“Friday Night Lights” has a lesbian heartbreaker

Last year, AfterEllen.com’s Malinda Lo told us all why we should be watching the acclaimed television show Friday Night Lights. In her blog post, she mentioned plenty of good reasons, and thanks to AE reader Ellen, we recently learned of yet another: last week a popular new (and, for now) minor character came out as a lesbian.

On the football-themed, small town high school drama, Devin (played by Stephanie Hunt) had been presented as a possible love interest for her dorky bandmate, Landry (Jesse Plemons).

Having just been blown off by the school hottie (whom he’d defended from a rapist), Landry took an interest in freshman Devin, the new bass player in his band, Crucifictorious. Devin flirted with Landry and even kissed him, but just before he could ask her out on a proper date, she broke some bad (for him) news:

Devin: Landry, I’m a lesbian.
Landry: (laughs) No, you’re not.
Devin: I’m serious. I’m gay. I like girls, not boys. I feel like I need to tell you because you have the wrong idea about us.
Landry: That’s important information and, that, I’m really glad to know because I could have sworn the other day that you kissed me back whenever I kissed you.
Devin: I didn’t want to be rude, Landry, and I thought I had to make sure I would give it a try. I know now that I really am. So I really should thank you, I guess.
Landry: I’m gonna have to go and let this sink in because I, uh, don’t know how to react to this right now.

Ellen told me that when Landry and Devin met up again later, Devin wanted to make sure he was okay with “the secret.” Devin was worried that Landry might be upset and tell people in their small town, but he reassured her that she had no need to worry. Then they rocked out together.

This isn’t the first time FNL has found a low-key way to introduce a lesbian character. In 2007, we learned that the town mayor is a lesbian, one who asked the football coach’s wife to work on her re-election campaign while resting her hand on her partner’s knee. Obviously, she was a maverick.

Devin’s character is already popular with the critics. A Los Angeles Times blogger raved, “And the straight-to-the-point, musically gifted Devin is the toughest, coolest, smartest new character Friday Night Lights has introduced this season. If it was a mistake not to keep Jean around (she’s now on Heroes), then making Devin a regular would instantly right it. The fact that she can play the blues is an added bonus.”

Let’s hope that Devin will buck recent tv trends by staying gay and not getting her pink slip suspended the moment she gets a girlfriend.