Alexis Eastman watched every episode of NBC's Friday Night Lights and ranks your favorite characters (not in order, in footballs).
BUDDY GARRITY: BRAD LELAND 🏈🏈🏈🏈
The Garrity’s are the kind of people who just show up at your door. (See: Lyla Garrity). And when Buddy gets there he’ll likely eat all your steak and/or hit you up for money, god love him. But actually God, don’t go all the way on that.
I guess I didn’t realize that for my entire life when I pictured Texas, I was picturing Buddy Garrity. Buddy Bad; some big-perpetually sweating-philandering-former football player-car salesman-mountain-preacherman making deals in places called the Landing Strip. And Buddy Good; honest, loyal, occasionally generous and often warm-hearted.
He’s such a schmuck you kind of feel bad for him. And he tries! Oh, just as the rest of them Buddy is always trying to do his best in his own misguided (and misogynist) way. There was that time he invited his pseudo-foster kid Santiago’s gang buddies over for a pop and chips party and… I can’t remember anything else nice that he did. Damnit, I really have to work on how freely I hand out empathy to rich white men.
JASON STREET: SCOTT PORTER 🏈🏈
There are 2 things about Jason Street. His traumatic accident which lead to his eventual paralysis was/is the first time I have ever cried like a baby to the S01EP01 of a TV show. That being said, the second thing about Jason Street is that I was so relieved when I no longer had to give energy to his wheedling plot lines that I cried again. When his parents sued the Taylors (because allegedly the coach did not train his star QB1 well enough to not get paralyzed when hitting someone - here’s your first clue Street isn’t the sharpest cowpoke in Texas) the most absurd thing about the situation is hearing the phrase “being sued by the Streets” over and over. For me it just conjures this image of a class action suit surmised of the cast of the opening scenefrom Frank Oz’s 1986 Little Shop of Horrors standing across from the Taylors in a court room.
LYLA GARRITY: MINKA KELLY 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Imagine: you wake up in the morning, wipe the sleep from your eyes and gaze into your uncannily symmetrical doll face, open your drawers to decide which solid coloured, deep V-something you would wear, or perhaps you change your mind and turn to your closet to select the correct camo print babydoll dress to pair with Riggins’ old cowboy boots. Now stop imagining and ask yourself- would you rather have all of that but have to drive a PT Cruiser, or would you rather suffocate in space? Well you don’t ever have to answer that question because Lyla’s car changes with the wind but lets keep reflecting on that Chrysler POS.
PICK A DAMN VIBE: Are you a minivan? an SUV? a hatchback? Lyla, you’re hurting TIm Riggins and all of us with this indecision. I guess what I’ll say is that I at least have empathy for why Lyla keeps hurting people. She’s never had a lot of self-confidence but people just assume she does because she’s beautiful and a cheerleader and the disparity between what people think of you and what you think of yourself is a pretty empty place to be.
GET OFF MY PROPERTY: Did you know that you lose $10,000 of resale value off your property for every 30 days that a PT Cruiser has sat in your driveway? Garrity, stop just showing up at people’s houses. I don’t care if you have cheeseburgers. You can’t show up unannounced to someone’s house, walk in and be mad by what you see. I know this kind of amateur bullcrap runs in your family but you can break the cycle. Call first.
I’M SORRY ABOUT HOW ALL THE JASON STREET STUFF WORKED OUT 4 YOU: I am certainly not advocating infidelity but Lyla was there for Jason St. and he wasn’t there for her, and her and Tim do have a magical soulmate kind of thing (you were right Becky, the landlord’s underage daughter!) And Lyla was definitely punished. The downfall of her social life/cheerleading career sent her straight into the arms of Jesus and Matt Czuchry, but Jesus (nor Czuchry) don’t wear bootcut jeans like Tim fucking Riggins. Yet, I suppose if I can name the sweetness in her Dad, I can certainly name that drunk Lyla seems like a killer hang.
SMASH WILLIAMS: GAIUS CHARLES 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Smash Williams for the True Underdog of Friday Night Lights. (*gasp* Riggins just a figurehead?) He’s a hotshot, guaranteed pro player and they take it all from him to just see if he’s got enough character. He’s crumbling under the stress of being his family’s ‘meal ticket’ at 16 and he only laments it once! I mean, they really put this guy through the ringer and he gets way less opportunity to brood than Riggins, Saracen or even goddamn Billy Garrity. Garrity trashes a stripjoint while drunk and he gets more on-screen pouting then when Williams is forced to break up with his white girlfriend because of her racist parents. Just like what you’d expect from NBC- FNL walks right up to addressing the overt racial themes in a show about a heavily segregated community just to say nothing at all. Oh god and they really try and make a go of him rapping at the pep rally. FYI - not a great rapper.
CORRINA WILLIAMS: LIZ MIKEL 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Corrina Williams was a 9-Football situation until she told Smash that he should be ‘careful picking his battles’ about racists on his team and in the community. She always felt like the President of Moms to me but I always thought the President of Moms would want to stand up against racism a bit more. But mostly her son Smash survives his injuries, failures, steroid addictions and demeaning part time jobs with a grace not often thought accompanying tailbacks. And that’s ‘cause his Mama raised him right. Corrina knows how to tell her children what’s going on without making it their responsibility. She knows how to say “we can’t buy that because we don’t have enough, but it’s okay, it’s my responsibility to get enough.” When Smash’s knee gives out and he’s working in a transparent white dress shirt with a satin red tie at the Alamo Freeze, working out with the coach in the morning and having heated and emotional discussion with the coach over squash at night you can see all that good parenting bubble up. He knows how to thank the coach for an ass kicking he knows he needs but doesn’t necessarily enjoy to endure. He knows how to say “I can’t play at UTM because I punched a guy in the face for making racist comments to my kid sister so now I have a note of ‘questionable character’ on my recruitment file, BUT, it’s my responsibility to get on a college team anyways.” See? Character.