#ThrowbackThursday: Austin Travel Guide for Dillion Panthers Fans

Howdy, y’all! If you’re currently in Austin, Texas you’re either loving South By Southwest or completely hating every single second of the week-long event. If you’re an SXSWInteractive person, congrats nerds, you made it through the whole thing. If you’re a SXSWFilm person, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to talk to Robert Rodriguez at the next secret industry party on 6th street. If you’re a SXSWMusic person, remember Uber isn’t going to be easy to take home after the outdoor stage concerts.

But if you’re in Austin and have some extra time before or after all your activities, and can easily answer the question: “What Friday Night Lights season two plot line do all fans consider to never have happened?”, then may I suggest taking this tour.

In 2013, I went to Austin for the first time and loved it. I didn’t go for SXSW, but rather the ATX Television Festival, which I’ve since gone to three times, including last year, when both of us went and lived in a weird dream world¬†of Dillon, Texas and Stars Hollow, Connecticut combined.

FNL was shot entirely in Austin, which is why the series has that true Texas feel, despite Austin not being a small town. Luckily for you Panthers/East Dillon Lions fans out there, there are still a number of real filming locations available to visit and snap a picture in front of. So have fun SXSW-ers, and remember if you’re stuck in the middle of a mosh pit and need to go to the bathroom during Coheed and Cambria’s set – Clear Eyes, Full Bladders Hearts, Can’t Pee Lose.

A Stalker’s Guide to Dillon, Texas

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Howdy y’all! I recently went to Austin, Texas for a brief weekend getaway, for a few reasons. One: I always wanted to go to Austin, since I heard it was the most un-Texas Texas city in the state. During my road trip across the country in 2009, Austin was on the list of possible cities to go, but we due to time constraints (and the fact we wanted to not drive across desert for another 10 hours), we opted to skip Austin, and I’ve put the city on the top of my bucket list ever since. Two: I attended the ATX Television Festival, which is a new festival for TV fans and those who want to break into the industry, and it was full of screenings, panels, and reunions from fave shows. You may have heard about the Boy Meets World bonanza, and I also attended the American Dreams and Party of Five reunions, and sat in on Parenthood and Veronica Mars panels! Not to mention Friday Night Lights. Which brings me to reason three: Friday Night Lights. The show was set in the fictional town of Dillion, Texas, but was shot entirely in Austin. Ever since I marathoned (and obsessed over) the series in 2010, I made it my goal to go to Austin and find all the filming locations.

So, if you’re a superfan stalker like me, and find yourself in Austin, here’s a guide to Dillon by way of Austin.

The Taylor House

6805 De Paul Cove, Austin TX 78723

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The house were the greatest TV couple/parents lived. They should make this place a national landmark. PS: The Taylor, Riggins, and Alamo Freeze are all close to each other, so you can do it all in one fell swoop!

The Riggins House

2604 Lehigh Dr. Austin, TX 78723

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No sign of Riggs ūüė¶

Alamo Freeze

5900 Manor Rd. Austin, TX 78723

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Fun fact: the Alamo Freeze is actually a Dairy Queen. So you can reenact Matt’s proposal to Julie and then grab an oreo blizzard.

Saracen House

3009 Kuhlman Ave. Austin, TX 78702

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Grandma Saracen and her tiara not included.

Del Valle Field

2404 Shapard Lane, Del Valle, TX

The FNL fieldhouse is still in tact and on a random street near the Austin airport. The only thing still up and running nearby are a few trailers – like trailer park trailers. But you could clearly see the football field and the stands, which is pretty cool. The area was actually used for two ‘sets’, with the Panthers on the left, and when East Dillion needed a field, they built the Lions homefield on the other side of the Panthers’ bleachers!

Here’s me and my friend Suz hanging with Riggins at the fieldhouse…

riggs and us

PS: I didn’t just come up with these locations, it’s easily found on the internet – including here!!!

And to round out my tour of FNL filming locations, the ATX Festival also had a couple of FNL events, including an outdoor screening of State (Season 1 finale) and a panel with the cast! The screening, which appropriately took place on Friday night, was great because a lot of the cast members were there to meet with fans and introduce the ep. I got to meet most of them, and I still can’t believe it happened!

AND THEN, the next morning was the FNL panel, where we were surprised by a couple guests:

COACH AND MRS. COACH, Y’ALL!!!!!! I think I may have started crying.Who knows. But you can always bet on me crying. I shared the same air as the greatest couple ever.

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Thanks for the great time, Austin/Dillon! See y’all next time!

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Clear Notes, Full Voices, Can’t Lose

When I binge watched Friday Night Lights for the first time, I couldn’t stop playing episode after episode in rapid succession. But when it came to the final few episodes of the series, I couldn’t bear to come to the reality that the show was actually ending. It took me weeks to gather the courage to watch the series finale, and when I did, it left me wanting more. But as the years go on, the less I want a FNL reunion movie. The show ended perfectly, so there’s no need to add to the story. But IRL reunions (like the one at ATX TV Festival) or cast get togethers (like the one at Scott Porter’s house) are perfectly acceptable – which is why a Friday Night Lights musical is the best thing to happen since Tim Riggins.

The fine folks at Sucker Love Productions have brought to life Cruel Intentions and most recently, The OC in musical form, and in 2016, they’re bringing the world of Dillon, Texas to Los Angeles. And if you thought it didn’t get any better, well it does, because Scott Porter, aka Six aka Jason Street is in it and he’s playing Coach Taylor. That’s right, man among men Dad of the Year Coach to all will be played by Jason Street.

PS: Scott has a history with singing and musical theatre – he starred in the Off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz, and you can be impressed with his killer pipes here, here and here.

Like I did with The OC musical, I’m just gonna go ahead and guess what songs will be featured in the FNL musical based on storylines and general music knowledge. We’ll see if any of these tunes show up – because you best believe I’m trying my damnest to get a ticket to this.

Devil Town by Tony Lucca

{Cast}

Besides the actual instrumental theme song for FNL, Devil Town is the unofficial theme song for the show. It was used in the beginning and end of season one, as well as various promo clips throughout the run. The song itself is tonally a perfect representation of the series with its simple instrumentations and the overall vibe feels small town-esque, while the lyrics suggest Dillon is more than a town focused on football.

Run The World (Girls) by Beyonce

{Tami Taylor}

We know that out on the field, Coach Taylor is in charge. But let’s face it y’all, behind every strong Coach Taylor is a formidable Tami Taylor, and she’s the one who’s really in charge. She’s smart, caring, giving, fair, and doesn’t make excuses for who she is, her values, or what she wants in life. Mrs. Coach became Principal Taylor and at the end of the series, she moved up in the ranks to fulfill her own career dreams. And who followed right behind her? Eric Taylor.

Magnets by Disclosure featuring Lorde

{Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity}

Despite the fact Lyla promises her boyfriend Jason Street she’ll stick by him during his tragic paralyzing accident in the pilot, she ultimately commits the ultimate betrayal mid-season 1 and sleeps with his BFF, bad boy and teen heartthrob Tim Riggins. Poor choices all around, but it’s the beginning of one of the series’ most iconic relationships, and TBH, I ship it. More so than Tim and Tyra. And maybe even more so than Tim and me. HAH JK.

Never really felt bad about it/As we drank deep from a lie
‘Cause I felt melting magnets, babe/The second I saw you through half-shut eyes
Uh-oh, dancin’ past the point of no return/Let go, we can free ourselves of all we’ve learned
I love this secret language that we’re speaking/Say it to me, let’s embrace the point of no return

Bitch by Meredith Brooks

{Julie Taylor}

It’s so so easy to hate on Julie Taylor throughout the entire series, and for good reason. I always come to her defense, mainly asserting that she’s supposed to be an annoying teenage girl, but I can only do it for so long.

Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney

{Tami & Eric Taylor}

There’s a scene in the season 1 finale, State, in which Tami tells Eric she’s pregnant, and it is just the epitome of true love. He obviously needs her to repeat the phrase ‘I’m pregnant’, since they certainly weren’t expecting this, and his reaction is picture perfect. Later in the ep, Eric tells Tami he’s reconsidered taking the big job at TMU and wants to stay in Dillon, but Tami is all, ‘you are so dumb’ and is like don’t give up on this big opportunity you idiot. They¬†are #relationshipgoalsAF and if any of us can get this type of love in our lifetime, we would be pretty lucky indeed.

Secret by The Pierces

{Landry & Tyra}

Yeah, you know that storyline all FNL fans refuse to accept happened? That’s this song.

Marry You by Bruno Mars

{Mindy & Billy Riggins}

One of the most endearing relationships to come out of Dillon is that of the unlikely pairing of Tim’s older, equally poor choice making brother, and Tyra’s stripper sister Mindy. Their wedding was iconic for the outfits alone, but can’t you just picture them dancing down the aisle to this song? Also, the actress who plays Mindy, Stacey Oristano, is a fab singer IRL, so she should probably be in the FNL musical.

All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye by John Mayer

{Matt}

In maybe the best episode of the series, The Son, Matt finds out his estranged dad Henry dies while in the Army in Iraq. When we first meet Matt, we find out his mom and dad are divorced, his mom left, his dad has spent most of his time overseas in the military, and he has to take care of his Grams, who suffers from dementia. Matt never really got the chance to know his father, since he was leaving constantly, much like his mom, and technically grams. It all comes to a head in one of the most powerful scenes between Matt and Coach, after he finds out Coach might be leaving Dillon.

Gravity by Sara Bareilles

{Vince and his mom Regina}

In addition to the stress of being the the star quarterback of the new East Dillon Lions, Vince has to deal with his mother, a former drug addict who relapses. He manages to get her help and into rehab, but it obviously takes a toll on him. Gravity might not be the super obvious choice for this particular storyline, but it’s all because of one of the most memorable routines from So You Think You Can Dance that deals with addiction.

Whatever This Song Is by Crucifictorious

{Landry & Cruicifictorious}

IDGI, but do whatever your heart tells you, Lance.

House Party by Sam Hunt

{Tim Riggins}

It occurred to me while compiling this list that Sam Hunt is like the Tim Riggins of music. Hot, talented in their craft, hot, popular with the ladies, hot. One sings about being in a cop car while the other voluntarily turns himself into the police. Same thing.

Brick by Ben Folds Five

{Luke & Becky}

Luke and Becky have a one-night stand in season four, and she ends up pregnant. It’s a whole situation involving HBIC and principal Tami Taylor, but Becky eventually decides to have an abortion. Is this song too real?

When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek

{Matt & Julie}

Every year at the ATX TV Festival, there’s a FNL tailgate party complete with music, a screening of an FNL episode, and random cast members avail to meet and take pix with. Last year, Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek played, and like Devil Town, their music fits perfectly with the Dillon vibe. This song is all about letting someone you love go in order for them to live their life. Matt & Julie had been dating pretty much all throughout high school, but when Matt invites Julie to visit him in Chicago where he’s attending college, she decides against it because she knows if she does go, she wouldn’t want to leave, thus putting her own dreams aside (except she ends up following him to Chicago at the end of the series anyways bc they’re engaged and stuff. Spoiler alert?).

Devil Knows You’re Dead by Delta Spirit

{Cast}

FNL has one of the best series finales in TV history, and I think a lot of that has to do with the final montage, which gives each character an ending, with their stories wrapped up in perfect bows. During that montage, this Delta Spirit song plays and gives you lit’rally all the feels.