SEC Coaches as Righteous Gemstones Characters...
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Season 2 of The Righteous Gemstones concluded this week and as always, the show is a masterclass send up of the South, of Evangelical subcultures, and of the galvanizing importance of a post-church Sunday lunch at a chain restaurant replete with plentiful baskets of luscious bread rolls.
Accordingly, I wanted to compare and contrast another tentpole of the Southern aristocratic culture against Gemstones to see how related the two were: SEC Football Coaches.
It should come as no surprise that at times during this project, there were points where I could not disentangle where these SEC coaches began and their Gemstones’ counterpart ended.
Nick Saban - Eli Gemstone
Still the standard of the industry even if their time is coming to an end. Both are resented by younger generations for bottlenecking the top of their respective professions and even though both are advanced in age, they are dangerous enough to fracture some thumbs or deal some clotheslines when they need to. Also both definitely have had some kind of dealings with the Dixie Mafia.
Kirby Smart - Jessie Gemstone
Both have distinct and polarizing hair situations. Both relay on offensive philosophies that could most charitably be described as “Old Testament-ish” (Jessie with the rock and sling and Kirby with a predilection for quarterback play that can best be described as “Elevated John Parker Wilson.”)
Most importantly, both finally stepped up this season.
Brian Kelly - Thaniel Block
A rude carpetbagger who doesn’t understand the South but expects to rent an AirBnb, talk a little like Foghorn Leghorn and get what they want.
Josh Heupel - BJ
Like BJ, Josh Heupel feels like a genuinely good guy with a heart of gold who is married to an explosive element (Judy / Tennessee fans). Like BJ, would you be surprised to find out that in his free time, Heupel roller blades but only with knee AND elbow pads and a regulation helmet? NO, you would not.
And it feels like it will take a full baptism party, a ninja star to the head, and a gunshot to the knee to earn the respect of TRUE SEC coaches to this outsider from a godforsaken realm (atheism / Big 12).
Also, in another life, Heupel seems like a guy who would love to get married at Disney World by Prince Eric.1
Lane Kiffin - Kelvin
Both are the sons of great men:
Jesse with Eli Gemstone as the preeminent televangelist of his generation and a purveyor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Lane with Monte Kiffin being the preeminent mind behind the Tampa 2 defense and a purveyor of having a lord and savior type athlete at middle linebacker (see Derrick Brooks).
Additionally, Lane also is a bit of a wayward coaching son of Nick Saban, the Eli Gemstone of SEC coaches.
Both Lane and Kelvin struggled to find their place in the world early in their careers. Both constantly surround themselves with muscular young men and both got a severe lashing when they stepped to Daddy most recently, with Kelvin getting his thumbs fractured and Lane getting dumptrucked by Bama after ending a pregame interview with “Get your popcorn ready.”
Mike Leach - BJ’s Family
Both were probably initially not against the charms of the SEC / Evangelical lifestyle, but pretty quickly became disillusioned by the constant humidity, the constant haranguing, and the importance and influence of recruitment/evangelizing.
Jimbo Fisher - Baby Billy
Both sound and act like Apex Predator Used Car Salesmen. Both describe their product as “Tasty Coconut Silkiness” (Baby Billy’s Elixir and Texas A&M’s defensive front seven).
Both have hair that do not, and should not, occur in nature and both have spent time reluctantly tethered to a less than desirable partner (Jameis Winston / Tiffany).
Baby Billy is famous for singing “Misbehavin” and Jimbo is famous for probable recruitment misbehaving.
Sam Pittman - Keefe
Both are capable, helpful, and impressive at times, but when it matters, both get relegated to front yard yurts by the other Alpha males of the group.
Bryan Harsin - Lyle Lissons
It’s unclear how either elevated to their current jobs. Neither seem to respect their staff or care for the kids under their leadership. Both have wives who aren’t afraid to get spicy and both men rely too heavily on an offensive philosophy requiring faith lassos (in Harsin’s case read: “Bo Nix airing it out”).
Neither realize that ultimately, they are doomed to be torn into shreds by wolves / Auburn boosters.
Mark Stoops - Judy
Both are weirdly impressive, secretly underrated, always entertaining, and both feel like they would punctuate most stories with “We’re whim babies. We do it Nike style, Dog.”
Billy Napier - Gideon Gemstone
Both are young and capable with big aspirations. Both have been around enough to know that things can get weird and both show a taste for danger in the choice of work (stuntman / head coach of UF).
Eliah Drinkwitz, Clark Lea, Shane Beamer - Chad, Levi, and Matthew
All of these coaches/characters are just happy to be here for as long as they can stay even if that means getting emasculated in prime time. (Looking at you, Chad)Sometimes, it’s just fun to be in the mix even if you exist to be dunked on.
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The scene in episode one of season 2 where the Gemstone family discusses said Disney World Wedding and who should or should not have officiated the wedding is a top-5 tv scene of all time. I’m not asking; I’m stating this as fact.