Every year, it’s the same. Fall camp starts, practice updates start rolling in, and you get that first morning where there’s a chill in the air to remind you football is right around the corner. With that, comes my annual viewing of “Friday Night Lights,” the best television show known to man.
Now, I don’t watch all five seasons every year — season two is so terrible I once threw the DVDs away in protest…only to fish them out of the trash the next day — but I do hop around to check in on my favorite characters in Dillon, Texas. Right now, I’m enjoying season three, just wrapping up the episode where Tim Riggins and Jason Street go to New York City, which includes the classic Riggins moment where he tries to convince Street to go see the musical “Gypsy.” Oh, that Tim Riggins. Always a hoot.
I’ve got a LOT of opinions about “Friday Night Lights,” and for years, have been assembling a list of the best and worst characters in my head. Because it’s Friday and why the hell not, I thought I’d share that list with you.
The 5 BEST Characters on “Friday Night Lights”
1. Tami Taylor
AKA the GOAT. AKA the best hair in show business. AKA my role model. Tami Taylor, brilliantly portrayed by Connie Britton, is the TV mom all other TV moms need to bow down to. But she’s so much more than just a mom. She’s a tireless defender of all that’s right in this world, including a nightly glass (or three) of wine. I am not a mother, my husband is not a football coach and I am not a school principal, but in all other aspects of life, I try to model myself after Tami. I even bought aviators, which historically have looked horrible on me, because she wears them. I call them my “Tami Taylors.”
2. Coach Taylor
Strongly considered putting Tami and Coach 1A and 1B, but couldn’t do that to Tami. What can you say about Coach Taylor? He’s also the best. He also has amazing hair. If he told me to eat razorblades, I’d probably do it. Not only is he the pinnacle of good, put up with Buddy Garrity, and gives the best pep talks in the world, he’s the hottest dad on television ever. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Because Coach Taylor says so.
3. Tim Riggins
Riggins is the tragic hero of FNL, the man women want and men want to be. Though he may come off as a really hot, simple guy who wants nothing more than beer, women, and TEXAS FOREVER, we watch Riggins struggle with his destiny and identity throughout the series. He’s the quintessential “what if” character. What if he didn’t drop out of San Antonio State? What if he didn’t take the fall for Billy and go to jail? What if he had never moved into that trailer and saved us all from meeting Becky? That would have been nice.
4. Buddy Garrity
Buddy’s totally over the top, but he’s totally someone I could see living in my hometown. As a person, he’s pretty terrible — cheated on his wife, puts football over family, and generally seems pretty obnoxious — but as a character, he’s awesome. His reaction to finding out his kids don’t eat meat is one of my favorite moments on the show. We all know a Buddy Garrity.
5. Grandma Saracen
A wildcard pick, I’ll admit, but nothing brings a smile to my face more than sassy Grandma Saracen. Her battle with dementia was sad, but she may have produced more laugh-out-loud moments than any other character. For instance: how she insists on calling Coach Taylor “Coach Eric Taylor” every single time she sees him and how she doesn’t hesitate to tell Landry he throws the ball like a girl and is “just a funny looking creature.” Grandma Saracen is the original captain of #TeamNF, and I love it.
- Landry: Great except when you had to hear him sing
- Tyra: Also great, but mean to Landry
- Smash: Referred to himself in the third person too much
The 5 WORST Characters on “Friday Night Lights”
1. Julie Taylor
Tami Taylor may be the best, but her daughter Julie is the worst. I’m not sure there are words for how awful Julie is. She’s completely incapable of communicating her emotions, to the point she WRECKED HER OWN CAR because she didn’t want to go back to college. WTF? Not only is she insanely rude to her awesome parents, the only decisions she makes are terrible ones, like cheating on Matt Saracen with the Swedish guy or having an affair with her married TA in college and then running away to Chicago to cry to Saracen about it. Her only saving grace is genetics.
You knew Becky was going to be awful the minute she came on screen singing the national anthem in the kitchen like a banshee. Nobody worth liking sings that loud that early in the morning. Also, the way she throws herself at Tim Riggins is cringe-worthy. “Hello, Tim Riggins!” “Wake up and give me a ride, Tim Riggins!” “Which dress should I wear to my pageant Tim Riggins?” Out of the good of his heart, Riggins eventually becomes her friend, but his initial reaction to her — STFU and go away — is all you need to know.
3. Lyla Garrity
I actually warmed up to Lyla as the series went on (anyone who goes boozing with Mindy goes up a notch in my book), but she had too much ground to make up from the first two seasons. I get that it couldn’t have been easy to cope with your boyfriend going from future NFL superstar to depressed paraplegic, but the solution is never to cheat on him with his best friend, even if that’s Tim Riggins. Between that and her stint as a born-again Christian, Lyla could never figure out who she was. No offense, Minka Kelly, but all Lyla was on this series was a really pretty face.
4. Joe McCoy
I originally had his son, JD, on this list, but swapped. Even though JD is a punk, it’s not his fault his dad’s an abusive asshole. Joe McCoy just looks like a villain, all smug sitting in his big house on top of the hill, drinking his fancy scotch and smoking his cigars. Plus, who the hell leads a coup to fire a coach who just took your team to State? An idiot, that’s who. In terms of boosters, Buddy Garrity >>>>> the parents who collect change at intersections >>>>> the creepy guy selling drugs under the stands >>>>> Joe McCoy.
5. Jason Street
I’ll probably get roasted for this, but I stand by it. Jason Street is nice. Jason Street is sweet. Jason Street is a good person. But he’s also really, really boring. I understand that the series need him to show how football and its fame and fortune can go away in an instant, but did we really have to stick with him through two more seasons? Plus, he’s meant to be this model of good judgment but then he went to Mexico and contemplated getting injected with SHARK DNA so he could walk again. SHARK DNA. I realize Season 2 was the pits, but COME ON.
- Baby Grace: Didn’t contribute anything, looked like an alien
- Cash, Tyra’s cowboy boyfriend: Because none of us saw that coming at all
- Waverly, Smash’s bipolar girlfriend: So much drama