Alexis Eastman watched every episode of NBC's Friday Night Lights and ranks your favorite characters (not in order, in footballs).
TIM RIGGINS: TAYLOR KITSCH 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
I was an OC millennial because I wasn’t allowed to watch either The OC or FNL when they were originally airing and a 16 year old can only manage one secret sin soap opera at a time, okay? So Riggins broods onto the screen and I’m like “blah blah blah here comes Ryan Atwood.” I wish I could go back in time to the other day and just look myself in the eye and really encourage myself to reevaluate my choices leading up to now. Firstly, no man can wear a heel and a bootcut like Riggins. And the stringy wet shoulder length thing really works I don’t know I mean Lyla says it she’s like “you don’t need any time to get dressed you just put on a plaid shirt and do up one button.” Like just me recalling her saying that and I’m woozy. I had to watch Ryan Atwood carry his drunk Mom out of a Casino fundraiser before I ever got that light headed. And furthermore, Ryan Atwood would never take his paraplegic best friend to New York City to rustle him up a Sports Agent job (I don’t think in her entire life he ever even took Marissa to a restaurant).
But my favorite thing about Riggs is that he doesn’t wear the State ring from his senior year victory. JD asks him why and he just says “I don’t know.” He’s not shirking it. He’s being honest. I love the idea of the small town hero who stays home because he honestly loves home. Texas Forever.
LANDRY CLARKE: JESSE PLEMONS 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you Landry Clarke. I was you, I had one of you. I was a less than babely but great personality kinda sixteen year old in a love triangle with my beautiful best friend (a high contrast pairing next to my morose long-haired brand of self loathing) and her on again/ off again boyfriend, the Beanpole. While I pined away over The Beanpole, a friend of mine (imagine a young Sean Astin circa the Goonies) pined for me. What Beanpole did to me, I did to Goonies Sean Astin. I was you, I had one of you. I’m sorry. Because the pain of being Landry Clarke is a sweet, sweet hell. Especially if you’re as complicated as Landry; capable of murdering for your sweetheart, bold enough to wear ironic t-shirts and Doc Martens in Dillon, Texas with enough leftover chutzpah to come up with and be the lead singer of a band entitled “Crucifictorius”, to be smart, play football and see the emptiness of high school politicking.
FNL isn’t necessarily self-aware, but rather, just asks the characters to be, and each of them seems so at peace with the conflicting multitudes within them. Even in Matt, who is redeemed to me only because of how much Landry loves him. Let the footballs speak for themselves!
TYRA COLETTE: ADRIANNE PALICKI 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Tyra?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
When I watch her I'm confused, out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather, she's as flighty as a feather
She's a darling! She's a demon! She's a lamb!
She'd out pester any pest, drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild! She's a riddle! She's a child!
She's a headache! She's an angel! She's a girl!
ERIC TAYLOR : KYLE CHANDLER 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
I’m not usually one for alternate theories of tv shows (although I do get a great deal of joy from the theory that the fight in the prologue of Fresh Prince actually puts Will in a coma and the series is a dream. (So that after-school-special episode where he passes out from doing shots and dreams that he dies and talks to all the ghosts who died from drinking and driving is where Nolan must’ve ripped the idea for Inception) I digress.) My theory, is that half of that fantastic post-narrative narration AM radio sportscasting is in Coach Taylor’s head. I like when the sportscaster says stuff like “I would not want to be Coach Taylor right now. I can only imaaagine what must be running through his head.” Then it cuts to my baby, squinting in the sunlight doing that weird thing where he’s like chewing on an invisible toothpick and his lil’ khaki shorts saunter down the field watching JD McCoy’s Dad watch him while playing buddy-buddy with the boosters (and Buddy) and you know he’s thinking “I do not want to be Coach Taylor right now.”
He pulls the truck into a bar, and Tami looks at him, confused. “I need a scotch flavoured drink” and then they’re mulling it over at the bar and he’s pulled his hat off and scratching his head in that way he do and she’s telling him he’s a molder of men. It’s so on the nose- he’s a coach, he calls ‘em all son and blurs the lines between coach, friend and father. It doesn’t matter. The whole goddamn town is so precisely nailing the sweet earnestness of trying really hard to do the right thing. After she says that, she tells him it’s sexy. And then he says something about how he’ll keep doing it if she finds it so damn sexy. What am I even saying here he’s so sexy that my salient points are losing the battle. Squint me up and down.
I am slightly suspicious, however of his boundless energy. He’s up at 5:15AM playing ping pong with Riggins, working Smash out at 7AM, holding two practice days 8 days a week and out all night talking sense into Saracen walking him home after his Dad dies. I mean even Don Draper gets a toothache.
Mindy Colette: Nothing brought me more joy than watching Mindy drunk with all her friends at her classy bachelorette and screamin at all her pals “Maybe one day y’all will be lucky enough to marry someone as HOT AS BILLY RIGGINS.”
Angela Colette: The perm was a bad choice, Mama.
Billy Riggins: He might be the older one, but he’s the Diet Riggins that gets us through when the real thing gets imprisoned.
Becky the Landlord’s Daughter: How old are you? Are you smart or am I dumb? Cheers to the writers for solving 10 plot problems with one landlord’s daughter.
The Alamo Freeze: The Central Perk of Dillon, Texas. Which makes Saracen and Smash, Rachel and Joey, respectively.
Vince Howard: An empathetic guy but I’m more of a Tinker fan, myself. Damn can Michael B. Jordan make that role happen though. Crying to his Mom in the hospital post-OD. GUH.
Luke Cafferty: We needed another Matt Saracen!
Jess Merriweather: Tami telling her that the rally girls putting their panties in the lockers is “just Texas football” and then Jess essentially says back to her, really sweetly “but I like football, and I think that’s demeaning.” BOOM.