Friday Night Lights’ Tami Taylor is back, y’all! But this time she’s a hot country music superstar in Nashville going by the name of Rayna Jaymes.
Connie Britton has a new show where she plays Rayna Jaymes, an aging country music star trying to keep afloat. But I don’t like to think of it as new exactly. I’d prefer to think of Rayna Jaymes’ life in ABC’s Nashville is a Sliding Doors-esque alternate reality for Friday Night Lights’ Tami Taylor. I like to think that had Tami not married Coach Taylor and instead followed her country-music-crooning dreams, Nashville is what life would have looked like. And it turns out, Rayna’s life is not so bad. But neither is Tami’s. Shoot. Which is better?
Let’s take them one at a time, category by category, the way Coach Taylor would if he were… well, that’s between him and Tami. Here we go.
First thing’s first, right?
Tami Taylor. That sounds like it could be the white trash girl in the trailer that lives off of cigarettes and Cheetos.
Rayna James. Ditto all of the above, but now she’s a stripper too.
Verdict: Rayna Jaymes. Go big or go home, right?
Tami is dedicated to education, working her way up from guidance counselor at Dillon High to principal of Dillon High to guidance counselor at East Dillon to (spoiler alert!) admissions officer at a school in Philadelphia. True to her wholesome career, she wears some cute wrap dresses and manages to look like one of those ladies who can really make shopping at Kohl’s look like she spent a hundred bucks. At night, she slips into one of Eric’s worn-in football T-shirts. Swoon.
But then there’s Rayna. Come on. She’s a country music megastar. A floundering one with an uncertain career arc ahead? Maybe. But come on. She’s a country music megastar. I needn’t go on but I will. The clothes are awesome. It’s like your Sunday best meets my first ballet recital in the best way possible. She’s all sequins and skinny jeans. And beach waves. There are so many beach waves on this show that you feel like you can surf by the end of it. In a really good way. At night she slips into a faded old T-shirt of a Nashville hot-spot. Swoon again.
Verdict: Sing on, Rayna.
Tami is married to Coach Eric Taylor in quite possibly the most perfect marriage to exist ever in fiction or reality. It is this marriage that I will strive to achieve myself. They say a girl wants to marry her daddy. I want to marry Julie Taylor’s daddy. Because Coach Eric Taylor is a MAN. He is so freaking hot and he can conjure that stern mad look that makes you both ashamed of yourself and causes your pants to unbutton themselves. Because it’s not that he’s mad. He’s disappointed. And I’d hate to disappoint Coach Taylor.
Rayna is married to Teddy Conrad. Teddy… Teddy. I can’t. That name. I just can’t. Teddy is softer than the stuffed animal he is named after. Not to mention that he’s freeloading off of Rayna’s career because he “went bust.” I get it. The recession. I get it. But it’s not like Coach Taylor had a lot of money. There were times when it was buy the boys new uniforms or not pay the rent. But Eric and Tami built a home from love and hard work and team dinners. Teddy is as far from a man as his name suggests. There will be no team dinners at
his his wife’s home. On top of that, he’s not even cute. He looks like a poor man’s Michael Keaton, minus the points for having played Batman. But! There is a silver lining, because Rayna seems to still hold a candle to hottie crooner and former lover Deacon Clayborne. Now, that’s a man’s name. It’s the name of a man who works at the church, but still. It’s a step up from Teddy the Wimp.
Verdict: Tami Taylor and her hunka hunka burning coach, Eric Taylor. I don’t like complicated love. I prefer clear minds, full hearts.
Okay, job and husband aside, what else does Tami have? A sensible ranch-style house in Texas with some of those sage green coffee mugs that make coffee seem so much more enjoyable than it already is. Kid wise, she’s got a sometimes-surly sometimes-sweet teenage daughter, Julie, and baby Grace, who looks like an alien in the most adorable way. She’s also the de facto den mother to all of the pregnant teens and troubled youth in Dillon Texas.
Rayna’s got a nice pad. A really nice pad. It’s sort of what you think Barbie would grow up into when she hits 35 and hangs up her sequins for some sensible slacks and copper pots. But Rayna also has a lot of crap to deal with. Primarily, a hot young nemesis Juliette Barnes played by Hayden Panettiere trying to oust her as America’s country sweetheart. Rayna also has a conniving and powerful evil father and a yes-man of a sister. Oh, and did I forget her two bland daughters? You will too.
Verdict: Tami. I really love those sage coffee mugs.
So it looks like Tami and Rayna are in a dead heat. I guess it’s going to come down to:
What would a life-to-life comparison be without a straight up man-parison? Here they are, the cute, the bad and the ugly, facing off.
The Husband: Eric Taylor vs. Teddy Conrad
The Ugly Fat Dude With A Big Head In Charge: Buddy Garrity vs. Marshall Evans
The Innocent-Faced Up-and-Comer: Matt Saracen vs. Gunnar Scott
The Bad Boy With Long Hair: Tim Riggins vs. Avery Barkley
The Good Guy With An Is-It-Cute-or-Is-It-Boring Face: Jason Street vs. Deacon Clayborne
So, what do you think? Which version of life wins? I don’t think we’ll know until we watch Nashville until we’re blue in the face. Until then, I’ll leave you with one more little gift.