On Friday Night Lights

Why We Love . . . Jess Merriweather

By Jen Chaney

We didn’t get to know Jess Merriweather as well as we would have liked. After all, the surrogate mother to three misbehaving brothers didn’t join Friday Night Lights until season four. And in many of those episodes, she sometimes felt like more of a pretty narrative convenience, a set of dimples and a wide, warm smile designed by the writers to anchor a (mostly) believable love triangle involving Landry Clarke and Vince Howard.

But during season five, Jess blossomed into a multidimensional young woman, a sort of combo platter of Tyra Collette’s feistiness, Lyla Garrity’s femininity, and Matt Saracen’s ┬╝ber-responsibility. While often parenting her three little brothers, she continued to work at her dad’s barbecue joint, acted as romantic partner and voice of reason to Vince, and, most importantly, became equipment manager for the East Dillon Lions.

That last job was the most significant one for Jess because it led her to the role of pseudoassistant to Coach Taylor and closer to realizing her own coaching dream. A former dance team member, ditching those moves for the world of play-calling, locker room talk, and the smell of man-sweat? Absolutely. Jess Merriweather did that happily, for the love of the game.

And for that reason, as well as the ones listed below, we love Jess Merriweather.

  • She was the kind of girl who would make an iPod playlist for Landry, one that consisted solely of crowd noise so he could get psyched up while he practiced kicking.
  • She was honest enough to  …
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