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OK, Tim Riggins, Ya Got Me!

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I’ve just wrapped up watching the entirety of Friday Night Lights, Season 1.  I know, I know: welcome to 2006!  It’s just that I’ve resisted watching this show for four years because I just assumed that it would be boring and/or exactly like a TV version of Varsity Blues.  Although Dawson’s cry face is probably one of the greatest screen grabs of the past ten years, and I regularly use the phrase “Ahhh don’t wawnt yer laaaf”, I just didn’t have any interest in something that I thought would pale in comparison, in terms of the “making fun of it” value.

After reading an essay about FNL in Chuck Klosterman’s new book, Eating The Dinosaur, I finally conceded that I should, once and for all, watch the show.  The second I laid eyes on Tim Riggins, the full back/running back for the Dillion Panthers, I was like “Who is the fuck is this bootleg Jordan Catalano?”

Like seriously, exhibit one:

I just wish I had a screen-grab of Riggins and his damn sheepskin jacket.  You know which one I’m talking about.  It’s the one that looks EXACTLY LIKE THIS:

Bomber jackets, haircuts, brooding/troubled mystique and hotness aside, I’ve actually come to the conclusion that Tim Riggins > Catalano.  And though I’ve put my Jordan Catalano dreams aside for quite some time now (you know, now that Jared Leto has become a living joke), that character still holds a special place in my heart, to the point where I really never thought I would say that someone has actually out-Catalano’d Catalano himself.  And I mean this in a good/crushable way, because in real life, you should never actually date someone like either of them.

However, here are the ways in which Riggins is way more redeemable than Catalano:

1. Riggins can actually read
True, Landry had to read aloud the entirety of Of Mice And Men to Riggins, but it’s more of a laziness issue than an “I’m a complete illiterate” issue.  Plus, I doubt Catalano was capable of making any sort of minorly complex analysis whatsoever, even if anyone had read an entire book aloud to him.  Also, I’m just glad the Brian Krakow character (Matt Saracen) of Friday Night Lights gets a girlfriend too!

2. Riggins kares about kidz…even if they’re clearly a member of the lollipop guild posing as a child.

True, I’m sure this was probably driven mostly by ego and Daddy/Mommy issues, but try and imagine Jordan Catalano picking a 5-year old up from school and teaching him how to fight back against bullies.  Does not compute.  Also, the kid in question is CLEARLY a midget actor portraying a child.  Am I right?!?

3. Riggins has the capability to fall in love….even if it is with the insufferable can’t-unclench-her-teeth-because-then-it-wouldn’t-be-dramatic Lyla Garrity.

Ok, I don’t dislike her that much– it’s more just Minka Kelly’s acting “choices” that bother me.  But anywho, Jordan Catalano is more of a lone wolf…but more because he has about 3 emotions (confused, brood-y, and horny).  Tim Riggins has at least 2 more than that, mostly because he’s actually more of a well-developed character.  But I, for one, was kind of surprised Riggins gave up drinking because Lyla thought it was lame– even if it was just for a little while.  This however, doesn’t mean that he’d be an ideal boyfriend by any means…not by a longshot.  But maybe if you were, say, his next door neighbor sans kid, it might be grounds for a rollicking good time.

4. Riggins has a sense of loyalty…even though he slept with his paralyzed friend’s girlfriend

One thing that Jordan Catalano didn’t have was a sense of responsibility towards anyone or anything.  At least Riggins has the football team, which he, more often than not, feels loyal towards.  But more than that, he actually recognizes the mistakes he’s made towards Tyra, his best friend Jason Street, and his brother, and is surprisingly articulate about it.  I’m still glad that Tyra didn’t give in to his apology, though, and get back together with him.

In sum, Tim Riggins, although he has a very pretty face, etc that may or may not resemble a certain Catalano-ian archetype, he has bit more depth and conscience than Angela Chase’s pipe dream.  I’m also fairly sure that the actor who plays Riggins, Taylor Kitsch will not go whoring around with Paris Hilton, or have some sort of 30 Seconds to Mars-type disastrous band.

But, you know the person on this show who you’d really want to date is Coach Taylor….before Tami and Julie existed, of course:

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Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.


  1. BAS Writers
    January 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Minka Kelly always strikes me as the poor man’s Leighton Meester.

  2. BAS Writers
    January 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

    With an only faintly less ridiculous name.

  3. Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler
    January 25, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I got on the FNL train late as well. It’s like Gossip Girl, but I don’t have to feel guilty about watching it and 99% of the episodes end in an EPIC FOOTBALL GAME instead of a Lady GaGa cameo. (Not that I don’t love Lady GaGa.)

  4. Anna G - Caliburg Contributor
    January 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Dude, it’s a testament to FNL that a show about football (something I’m almost completely uninterested in) has captivated me about a million times more than a show that is specifically geared towards my demographic. Watching Gossip Girl is about as exciting as watching actual sports…as wacky as that sounds.

  5. Anna G - Caliburg Contributor
    January 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Oh, yeah! Whoops. That was pretty amazing, actually. I thought that any second someone was gonna come in and be like “Wait a minute! You guys are washing dishes for this!”

    I throw myself upon the mercy of Leighton Meester.

  6. March 20, 2010 at 8:44 am

    lady gaga is one of the best singers in the world but she does bad things too …

  7. Jacqueline Shepherd
    February 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    People like to draw similarities between Riggins and Catalano, obviously for aesthetic reasons (e.g., the hair, the jacket); however, I disagree that Rigs is anything like Catalano, especially as you get further into the series. He IS the type of guy you’d want to date (that is, if you don’t require your boyfriend to know much about, let’s say, international relations). He is loyal and kind and always does the right thing (except, on occasion, when Billy gets in the way of that). He basically becomes a martyr, especially at the end of Season 4. And as much as they elude to him being a womanizer, he’s revealed to be a sensitive feminist; he’s in love with Lyla, he’s really into Jackie, he protects Julie and Becky and refuses to take advantage of either of them. Rigs is an all-around great guy, whereas the same cannot be said for Catalano, who’s selfish to the point of cruelty (e.g., the countless times he stands up / snubs Angela, the hard time he gives her when she’s not ready to have sex). Jordan’s also a really slow and uninsightful guy, whereas Tim may not be a Rhodes Scholar, but has a great head on his shoulders and understands people (and himself) probably better than any other FNL characters.

    Sorry for the tirade, I just love Rigs, and I have so much respect for what Taylor Kitsch and Peter Berg did with the character, when they easily could’ve made him just another Catalano.


  8. Just myluckyday
    November 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Lol!!!!! In the 90’s I lived for my so called life and thought Jordan cadalano was so cool. Now I am 37 and I caught a rerun of Friday night lights on t.v on pivot I believe and I saw mr riggins come running across the field and I thought sweet baby Jesus who the hell is that? And and and was immediately remained of cadalano . Since that time totally hooked I have been teAring through the old seasons , up to four now, episode after episode and falling in love with all the characters even the unloveable ones because the writing is just that good I must say I do treasure the moments when they allow us to see just a little deeper into riggins psyche. It does seem that there is so much more going on. Anyway great article!