Friday Night Lights is the American Downton Abbey

Sass and I discovered this incredibly true statement recently.  FNL is the American Downton Abbey.

IT TOTALLY IS.  Both plots are based essentially around keeping an empire from falling apart.  On Downton, it’s maintaining the Abbey and the Grantham fortune.  On FNL, it’s maintaining the Panthers/Lions.  But let’s look at a breakdown of characters, because that’s really where the money is.  Oh yeah, this has spoilers, so if you’re not caught up and you keep reading, I don’t know how to help you.

Coach Taylor // Robert Crawley, Lord Grantham – Heads of the family, heads of the estate/football dynasty, these guys are ALMOST perfect.  And while Eric Taylor would never kiss a stupid maid (TWICE!) while Tammy was dying of the Spanish flu, he did have his moments of non-marital imperfection.  They both have a couched temper, but are basically men of honor with ironclad virtues.  EXCEPT THAT ONE TIME LORD GRANTHAM MADE OUT WITH THE STUPID MAID WHILE HIS WIFE WAS DYING OF THE SPANISH FLU.

Tami Taylor // Violet, Dowager Countess – Both these sassy ladies are never afraid to speak their minds (OBVIOUSLY), and can always come back with just the perfect remark.  And the Dowager would absolutely rock some aviators if she hadn’t been born before COLUMBUS SAILED AWAY.  Actually the Dowager is to hats & pimp canes what Tami Taylor is to aviators, so…done.  The Dowager also takes a special interest in several less-fortunate cast members (i.e.: trying to keep Molesley and William out of the war, forcing the vicar’s hand to marry Daisy & William), just like Tami did with Epic.  They are both the glue that holds their respective families together, and while some might think that Cora is Tami’s counterpart, I just don’t think she’s got the cojones that Tami does (although they WERE both late-in-life mothers).  You’re welcome to disagree in the comments, because I love a good fight about fictional characters.

Julie Taylor // Lady Mary Crawley – It is a KNOWN fact that Julie Taylor is the absolute worst.  She’s spoiled, she doesn’t deserve to have the parents that she has, and she CERTAINLY doesn’t deserve Matt Saracen.  Wipe that disgusted look off your face, Julie.  Look around you!  Your life is wonderful!  Ugh, you’re such a brat.  Mary Crawley is the same.  Spoiled, doesn’t deserve her parents, and most assuredly doesn’t deserve Matthew Crawley (although DEAR LORD, they are beautiful together).  Furthermore, Mary had an illicit affair with Mr. Pamuk, and Julie had an affair with Creepy Married Teacher Guy.  Sadly, Mr. Pamuk was basically the most gorgeous person ever to walk on this planet, and he died.  We only wish Creepy Married Teacher Guy met the same fate.  And let’s be honest, Julie Taylor is a poor man’s Mary Crawley.  She is no where near capable of the coldness that Mary can muster with a look.  Probably because she’s the absolute worst.

Jason Street // John Bates – Sure, there’s the obvious: they are both handicapped.  But Street is Coach’s QB1, and Bates is Lord Grantham’s number one valet, which is kind of the same thing.  Both had to “go away” to “deal” with a “lady,” but we’re assuming that Street didn’t inadvertently cause his baby mama to commit suicide (or something else) by consuming rat poison.

Matt Saracen // Matthew Crawley – One, names are the same.  DO NOT MISS IT.  Two, both were thrust into the spotlight, which they never asked for.  Example: Matt’s face when Coach tells him to get into the game after Street has been hit vs. Matthew’s face when he reads the letter from Lord Grantham, informing him that he is the new heir.  SAME FACE.  Three, both in love with girls we love to despise.  WHY do they love these girls?  What is there to love about Julie if you aren’t related to her?  Because you saw her dancing that one time?  And no one even related to Mary likes her much.  Four, both look AMAZING in a suit.  You can’t make that up, guys.  It is what it is.

Buddy Garrity // Isobel Crawley – Have you ever seen such meddling?  If there was a Rippen Boosters, don’t you know Cousin Isobel would be heading that mess up?  And trying to figure out how to get a Jumbotron in the stadium?  Showing off her deceased husband’s championship ring?  And Lord knows if Buddy Garrity had his way, Downton would be a training facility for the East Dillon Lions, where Lady Edith was the jock strap washer.

Tim Riggins // Lady Sybil Crawley – They are both EARTH-SHATTERINGLY hot.  LOOK at these two people.  Are you kidding?  Riggins and Sybil want to do things their way.  They want to VOTE!  They want to wear PANTS!  They want to skip practice and DRINK BEER!  They want to marry the CHAUFFER.  They want to save BILLY FROM PRISON.  And you can’t stop them, because they are Crawggins, and they will not be moved. If you try, they will destroy you with their hotness.

Landry // Lady Edith Crawley – Poor Landry.  Poor Edith.  Overlooked Landry/Edith.  They each had their one moment in the sun (Landry made out/went out with TYRA [that's a joke, right?] and Lady Edith went on car rides with the Fat, Old Guy Who Really Likes His Car), but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  For Landry, being the murderer of Tyra’s attacker proved to drive them apart, while Edith’s letter to the Turkish embassy implored Mary to casually destroy her impending engagement the The Fat, Old Guy Who Really Likes His Car.  AND, Landry had a crush on that one girl, who turned out to be a lesbian, which is almost the same as Edith having a crush on that one guy who didn’t have a face and may or may not have been her cousin.  Also, Crucifictorious is to Landry as driving the car and working as a farm hand is to Edith: cries for attention from the overlooked ones.

Tyra // O’Brien – Ladies of “candor” with a heart of gold.  They both also have AMAZING hair.  Have you seen Tyra’s hair?  It’s unreal.  So healthy.  And have you seen O’Brien’s sideburns?  SO HEALTHY.

Becky // Daisy – It’s another known fact that Becky was one of the worst FNL characters.  Do you even remember Becky?  Do you hear a dull hum in your ears when I say her name?  That’s the sound of her whining you to death.  Becky is perfect scullery maid material (isn’t being in pageants basically the same thing as being a scullery maid?), which makes her Daisy’s counterpart.  Because, how much can you whine about something?  I initially liked Daisy, and then the whining began.  So SAD that you made the last of William’s life BEARABLE as he was DYING, you unpatriotic waste of kitchen space.

Lyla Garrity // Lavinia Swire – Lavinia is alright.  She’s ok.  But were you sad to see her die?  No…probably NOT.  And were you SAD when Lyla went to college or whatever?  No.  Both are daddy’s girls (Lavinia’s mom died & Lyla sided with her dad during her parents divorce).  But, the real peg is Lavinia’s statement after she caught Mary and Matthew kissing during the Spanish Flu outbreak (why is everyone kissing while people are dying?), I don’t want to be a nuisance.  Well you are.  So go to Vanderbilt or die of Spanish Flu (INCREDIBLY UNEXPECTEDLY), why don’t you?  Because Matthew needs to go buy his own piece of Texas and Riggins is in love with Mary, and you’re just IN THE WAY.


Smash // Thomas – Arrogant and both prone to illegal activities (steroids and black market rations).

Ethel’s Baby // Billy & Mindy’s Kid – They’re just babies, so…

Jess // Anna – Sweet, beautiful, and willing to support their man no matter if he killed his first wife or happens to have a massive anger problem, which could potentially kick them off the team/put them in jail for first degree murder.  Both equally severe moral dilemmas.

Luke Cafferty // William – Grew up on farms, went into the military, both loved girls that didn’t love them back as much as they wanted.  Although Luke lacks William’s strange, though not entirely off-putting Joker smile.

Mindy Riggins // Mrs. Patmore – Mindy: redeemed by Billy Riggins from the Landing Strip.  Mrs. Patmore: redeemed from a life of blindness by Lord Grantham.

FNL Theme Song // Mrs. Hughes - Just like an old friend, Mr. WG Snuffy Walden’s Friday Night Lights theme music welcomes us to Dillon at the beginning of each episode. It’s a theme you don’t skip through. Nor would you skip through Downton Abbey under the watchful eye of Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Hughes welcomes us to Downton but don’t mess with her. She can see and hear the happenings around the entire estate so don’t tread on her. But if you happen to get pregnant by a new character (i.e. Major Bryant or Luke Cafferty) both Mrs Hughes and the FNL Theme will comfort you and transition you to setting up a meeting with Tami Taylor or Major Bryant’s emotionally-stunted father.

Mr. Pamuk // Tyra’s Attacker – Died for lust.  Read your BIBLE, kids.  People die if they have pre-marital sex (or attempt to).

VooDoo // Mrs. Bates - Just coming in and stirring up trouble.

Gracie Bell // Molesley – FIVEHEADS.











Our thesis is lock tight.  Who are we missing?  Who did we get wrong?  Don’t even think about it being Cora/Tami/Violet.  I’m right and I won’t be moved.

Category: Fun

One Response to Friday Night Lights is the American Downton Abbey

  1. This is the finest piece of American writing since Knox McCoy’s last Bachelor recap. I suspect that over the years I will return here again and again, for it is spot on. Well done, my friends. Well done.

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