“Friday Night Lights” was always about more than just football. The show tackled racism, classism, abortion, disability, teenage sex, steroid use, marital relationships and more during its five season run.
But its biggest legacy is the characters it created— Coach Eric Taylor, his wife Tami and daughter Julie; football players Smash Williams, Tim Riggins, Jason Street and Matt Saracen; sleazy booster Buddy Garrity and his cheerleader daughter, Lyla; Tyra Collette and Landry Clarke, and more.
One of the biggest friendships on the show was between Taylor Kitsch’s Tim Riggins and Scott Porter’s Jason Street.
In a recent interview on Entertainment Weekly’s “Binge” podcast, Porter recalled the one scene that made him and Kitsch cry more than all the others. It takes place in season three, when Street moves to New York City to pursue a job opportunity, and is accompanied by Riggins. The episode was one of the last Porter ever shot as Street, and the emotions on screen as Street says goodbye to Riggins were real, Porter said.
“I couldn’t keep it together,” Porter told EW. “I couldn’t not cry, and Taylor couldn’t not cry.”
Here’s part of the scene he’s talking about, starting at the 10:44 mark.
Fans of the show will remember that Street gets paralyzed during a game in the pilot episode, confining him to a wheelchair. The grief and trauma that Riggins feels at his friend being injured and his inability to do anything about it becomes a major plot point of the first season, and their friendship became one of the highlights of the show by the time the third season rolled around.
“It was odd not shooting my last scene in Texas,” Porter said in the podcast. “It wasn’t where I normally had worked. I wasn’t around a bunch of people I normally worked with. It’s a special moment that I’ll never forget. Being in New York, it really felt like closure.”
Listen to the full podcast here.