My Top Ten Favorite “Friday Night Lights” Characters

Today a really important football game is happening on the television. Brittani is liveblogging it, and I’m kinda trying to watch it while doing other work, and honestly the only reason I have the foggiest idea what’s happening on that field is because of Friday Night Lights. Isn’t that the reason that we’re all here? Even if by “we” I just mean “me” and my stuffed dog Tinkerbell? P.S. Obviously Tinkerbell’s favorite character is Tinker.

Before we begin, I’d like to briefly mention that I think Carlotta was really hot and generally the bee’s knees, but I have no idea what she saw in Matt Sereson and generally found that whole storyline a bit strange. So I thought long and hard about including her here but ultimately did not. There were many characters I felt similarly conflicted about. For the record, “The Swede” was not one of those characters, nor was his temporary lady love, the petulant Julie Taylor.


 

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10. Buddy Garrity

Okay — I wouldn’t exactly wanna hang out with Buddy Garrity or have him as a father or a friend. But I think his character was so well-done, and so well acted, and also he really evolved in a meaningful way and was great comic relief. He felt real, you know? He felt really, really real.


 

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9. Bo Miller

I was super depressed when the Tim Riggins / Jackie Miller subplot got killed by Billy Riggins and then I guess totally slaughtered by some force I no longer recall, because I had a strange obsession with how adorable this little kid was and how much he admired Tim Riggins. I’m a sucker for the small-child-brings-out-a-steely-persons-softer-side storyline. The great minds behind The L Word Season Four should’ve dyed this kids hair and cast him as Shane’s little brother Shay instead of that milkshake-spilling kiddo.


 

Look, you're never gonna be my boyfriend, but I'm getting real close to declaring you my Lesbro regardless

Look, you’re never gonna be my boyfriend, but I’m getting real close to declaring you my Lesbro regardless

8. Devin the Lesbian

Remember when there was a lesbian on Friday Night Lights for like two minutes? She was really cute and in a band and took Julie to a lesbian bar. Unfortunately no romance ensued, despite the fact that I think she would’ve been a nice match for Becky Sproles.


 

Friday Night Lights

7. Vince Howard

Pretty much anything Michael B. Jordan does, I am on board with, with the exception of That Awkward Moment, which I think is about That Awkward Moment when Michael B. Jordan is in a romantic comedy with Zach Efron. I really loved Vince’s evolution as a character and always found the East Dillon storylines more compelling than the first few seasons’ Panthers storylines — I’m not sure if that’s a popular opinion or not. Vince Forever.


 

Corrina-friday-night-lights-4536258-266-4006. Corrina Williams

Mhm, Smash Williams’ Mom KNEW THE SCORE in all the ways. I think I would’ve liked Smash a lot more if I didn’t get so upset every time he mouthed off to his perfect best mother of all time. Much like Tami Taylor, Corrina came down hard when she needed to but loved hard, too.


tyra

Hey girl, I take up extra space when I sit like this but I don’t give a fuck because I am Tyra fucking Collette, so

5. Tyra Collette

What can I say, I have an endless appreciation for girls over 5’10 who look like they could demolish me at arm wrestling. Also Tyra, like many young FNL characters, often was forced to take on the parental role with her own parent, and that has a way of making a person strong and wise beyond their years. I included Tyra on my list of Ten Badass Yet Toxic Best Friends, noting that even the baddest bad girl can turn it all around with the help of Tami Taylor.


 

landry

4. Landry Clarke

My girlfriend was worried that I’d have confusing feelings about Landry after his role as an evil motherfucker in Breaking Bad. But nothing can abate my love for Landry because he is a dork and he is funny. Not even murder, duh!


 

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3. Jess Merriweather

I don’t read much about Jess Merriweather when I read about Friday Night Lights because I think she never really got her chance to shine. Her character had so much potential and I appreciated them showing a girl who didn’t just want to watch, but wanted to play — or coach, at least. In the imaginary Jess Merriweather spin-off in my mind she’s coaching an NFL team.


 

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2. Coach Eric Taylor

As I believe I’ve mentioned ~15 times, I hate men, even on television. But I don’t hate Coach Taylor (except for when he wouldn’t fire Coach Mac for being racist and insisted Coach Mac wasn’t racist even though Coach Mac was obviously racist!). Speaking of hate, I always hated football, too — until I heard Coach Taylor describe it, and then I thought it was pretty alright and good for Building Character. Have you seen Academic Coach Taylor? It’s the best tumblr ever.


Friday Night Lights

1. Tami Taylor

FNL  honestly didn’t have a great across-the-board track record for its female characters, yet they still managed to create the best female character ever of all time in Tami Taylor. In addition to being smokin’ hot, Tami Taylor also possessed smarts, sass, strength and loyalty in spades and took a feminist stand against prioritizing her husband’s career at Season Five’s end. She encouraged her students to thrive and believed fiercely in their potential. She drinks a lot of wine. She balances a healthy skepticism of football’s centrality to her local culture with undying support of her husband and the boys he coached. Tami and Eric have the best marriage I’ve ever seen on television.  Also, one of her daughters is a self-centered insolent bitch and the other is maybe an devil alien, and she seemed to handle that pretty well. 


Who were your favorites?

 

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Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1729 articles for us.

18 Comments

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    I’m in the process of watching FNL on Netflix (I’m about a third of the way through season 4). Such a beautiful show with such well-written characters. I don’t disagree with any of your choices.

    I love Vince. Mostly because I have a crush on Michael B. Jordan, but also I like how he’s a character from the wrong side of the tracks who’s not really a good kid at heart, but he still is, you know?

    Coach + Tami 4EVA. Tami Taylor is flawless. And Coach commands so much respect. There’s a scene in early season 4 where he’s telling off one of his players for refusing to make nice with Landry, and it’s TERRIFYING, but also amazing.

    Tyra. I hated her cliched tough bitch character at first, but what sold me on her was a scene in early season 1 in which her mom’s boyfriend hits her mom, and Tyra goes totally feral on the douche and chases him out of the house with a poker.

    Buddy, despite encompassing so much of what’s wrong with Texas, still comes across as someone you are able to care about and feel bad for when things are shitty for him.

    Landry though is probably my favourite of the bunch. Jesse Plemons just nails those weird mumbly lines of Landry’s that other characters probably aren’t always supposed to hear.

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    Riese how did you know that thanks to my period, all I did this week was sob and watch Friday Night Lights? Wallace-I mean Vince Howard-is also one of my favorite characters! East Dillon forever. I also love Lyla. I ship Tyra/Lyla and no one can tell me that’s wrong.

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      She definitely grew on me during our second watching of the entire series, I wasn’t really into her or Billy the first time I saw the show, but now I realize both of them are actually hidden gems. Mindy is funny!

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      Most of the time I gender swap Tim Riggins, and he is my favorite lesbian fullback in the history of Television and Football.The three way with the Stratton sisters (Season 2, Episode 1) just became infinitely more appealing.

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    TAMI FRICKIN TAYLOR.

    I also want to shout out to my two favorite characters who were unceremoniously put on a bus, Waverly (remember Smash’s awesome bipolar girlfriend?) and Epic from the last season. Epic I thought had a lot of potential as a character until was randomly expelled for accidentally injuring Tami during a fight. And that kid who was living with Buddy Garrity who never even got the dignity of a handwave after being disappeared.

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    Special Mentions:
    Lorraine Saracen, the sweetest, proudest grandma.
    Dallas Tinker, made trading a rally girl for a prize pig kind of sweet, though the feminist in me is appalled.

    10. Mayor Rodell – loved her from the “don’t be so polite” talking to she gave to Saracen. Not to mention coming out to the Taylors by way of hand-to-knee action.
    9. Tyra Collette, I didn’t much like her or her treatment of Landry until her college application changed my opinion of her.
    8. Jason Street, boy did he go through hell, but he made it back a better man.
    7. Vince Howard, the tough guy who just wants to do right.
    6. Landry Clarke, the best friend anyone could ask for.
    5. Luke Cafferty, the polite kid who sincerely apologized to Tami Taylor for lying despite her having just shattered his world.
    4. Matt Saracen, who I should mark down for taking Julie’s crap all those years. I kept yelling “Run, Forrest! Run!” all the time.
    3. Coach Taylor, I wanted to play football for the coach too, Lou Reed.
    2. Tim Riggins, yes OMG WTF IKR? I love 33 more than Coach. Even lesbians love a bad boy with a good heart.
    1. Tami Taylor, of course. No explanation necessary.

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      Jason Street sometimes ventured dangerously close to cornball territory, but he was still a likeable dude. Luke Cafferty’s apology to Tami was such perfect writing. When I watched that scene and saw him begin to walk away, I thought,

      “It’d be really sweet if he turned around and apologized.”

      And then he did, and I fell in love with him.

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    I’m so glad Buddy Garrity is on the list because I love him. He was such a well-written and well-played character. And a great dad.
    Tami Taylor and her perfect hair. I have never been able to figure out if I wanted her to be my wife or my mother (is it creepy if I say both?). Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler have the best chemistry and I refuse to believe they’re not married in real life. And for some unexplicable reason, they had that brat Julie Taylor for a daughter.
    No Matt Saracen? The sweetest Texan boy that ever existed? Grandma Saracen who broke my heart may times during the course of the 5 seasons?

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    I have SUCH an appreciation for this list (and I have a large appreciation for the internet’s annual Super Bowl timed Friday Night Lights nostalgia in general), but I just really wanted to say how much I agree with Riese about the love for Vince Howard, Jess Merriwheather and the East Dillion Lions.

    I think it might be an unpopular opinion but I always loved the later seasons with the Lions over the seasons with the Panthers. Even though really, I love them all. Tim Riggions, Matt Saracen, Tyra Collette, Lyla Garrity, Landry, Devin the Lesbian from the world’s greatest band Crucifictorious…. Couldn’t imagine my TV watching life without any of ‘em.

    But c’mon, VINCE HOWARD! I mean, VINCE HOWARD!! And his love for his mama. And his tough exterior, but his open, proud, bleeding heart. UGH! It started a forever love affair with the work of Michael B. Jordan. That role changed me a little.

    And the East Dillion Lions seasons have that great handling of the abortion storyline, for which I am forever grateful.

    So to wrap it up, in Tami Taylor’s Sunglasses we trust. Let the church say Amen.

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