Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly

NBC/Van Redin

On screen, she's been a two-timing trollop who got caught cheatin' and lost her man. But off screen, Minka Kelly could not be more adorable, genuine and warm. Rack that up as reason number 85,000 why I love the bejeezus out of NBC's newish drama, Friday Night Lights. Not only is it perhaps the most undeservingly underwatched new show of the season, but, as I found out from a recent one-on-one rendezvous with Miss Kelly, it's only heating up.

For you who haven't been watching FNL—tsk, tsk—here's the backstory on my girl Minka (who, by the way, has just about the hottest name ever, does she not?!). Minka's character, Lyla, has been trying her best to stand by her newly paraplegic boyfriend, Jason, but having a wee bit of a tough time it at—so much so that she actually got horizontal with his best friend, Tim, and was (gulp) found out in the latest ep. Yep, it's the stuff good drama is made of!

"I think she has a lot of unexpected feelings for Tim," Minka tells me. "I don’t think she actually realized she would fall for him. She’s fighting against it, but you can’t help the feelings you get whether you want to or not." So, does that mean there’s no hope for a reconciliation between Jason and Lyla? Minka isn't sure. "There might be some hope. It’s going to take a lot of work. I can tell you that."

One thing Friday Night Lights has gotten past is laying the groundwork for a more fully evolved drama. "I think fans were frustrated in the beginning because the show was moving so fast and you couldn’t really get into the characters," Minka says. "But I think what they didn’t get is that we had to set up all these specific storylines before we could move forward. This very traumatic thing happened in the first episode, and now you’re finally going to see how it has really affected these people and why these characters are the way they are—why Riggins is a drunk, why Tyra is considered the town slut. There are very deep meanings behind all their actions."

As for Lyla, Minka says if she were in the writers room, she’d probably take Lyla in a whole different direction. "I actually wouldn’t mind seeing her get away from both the boys and figuring out who she is on her own, rather than relying on a guy all the time." Attagirl! That other Kelly—Kelly Taylor—would be so proud.

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