I’m not going to lie and pretend that I was excited to see this show, in actuality I had no desire or knowledge about whatever it was. I wasn’t even aware it existed until I was reminded that I had an Apple TV subscription to use. Among all the subscription services I guess this one was the one I gave the least amount of attention (even though their Apple TV platform is amazing), coming back to Apple TV was a result of telling myself I needed to get out of the endless cycle of “The Office” and “Friends” playing in the background while I checked Tik Tok. I promised myself I’d watch one new show per streaming service I have access to so I could, a) start writing again, b) escape from boredom, c) stop second screening the same shows over and over. This is how I came across Ted Lasso.
The series tells the story of sports coach Ted Lasso, who was originally a character developed for premier league promos on NBC. A very strange origin for a full-fledged show, but backed by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town), Jason Sudeikis (Booksmart, Horrible Bosses, We’re The Millers) it somehow became one of my favorite (if not my favorite) show of the year.
The premise is simple enough, Rebecca Wilson becomes the owner of AFC Richmond Football (soccer) club as settlement of her divorce with cheating ex-husband Rupert Mannion. As she understands that, that club is the thing he treasures the most she decides to run it into the ground in a subtle manner, by hiring the American-football college coach Ted Lasso to run AFC in the new season. Ted is completely inexperienced and has no idea about soccer and its rules, he’s constantly lost, has the town against him, gets the typical hate from fans, and is sabotaged and made fun of in every existing opportunity.
The supporting cast is made up of the first and second-team of AFC Richmond, some executives from the club, and some love interests. I believe that all the characters have their time to shine, but in all fairness, it is Sudeikis’ light as Ted Lasso that shines so bright that it enhances and compliments everyone involved. I was not a Sudeikis fan, but he pulls everything off in this show. Direction, writing, and acting are just spot on, and I found a project of his that I cannot be grateful enough to have watched.
I won’t spoil the story too much, but Ted’s adventure is a life lesson. It’s a very down to earth, sober, heartwarming, and realistic tale of dealing with changes and acceptance. Ted Lasso, is the epitome of what joyfulness is, a character that faces all challenges with an open heart and open-mind, with a good sense of humor, empathy, love, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. You can’t help but fall in love with his character, you want to root for him, you’d want to be his friend, you’d want to be with him. Of course, all the positivity needs its counterparts to make sense so he is a fish out of the water, an underdog, a hard worker, father, and husband. The hardships he faces are not easy and the show communicates to us that some things, some pains, and actions are impactful enough to break any of us. A very human depiction of reality, that connects with me, and I believe with the rest of the show’s audience.
Ted Lasso, is a very patient show that slowly but surely, lays the foundation for you to care enough about all the characters. It’s a natural, upbeat, optimistic, charismatic, and positive series that packs a good punch in ten episodes.
I read an excerpt from Joseph Meeke’s “The Comedy of Survival”, that mentioned how as a western civilization we are moved by stories in “tragic-mode”. Stories inspired by great tragedies in which larger-than-life characters try to bend the world to their will. He claims that surviving disastrous times can be done by entering “comic-mode” here is the exact quote:
“Comedy is not a philosophy of despair or pessimism, but one which permits people to respond with health and clear vision despite the miseries the world has to offer. Its mode is immediacy of attention, adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances, joy in small things, the avoidance of pain wherever possible, the love of life and kinship with all its parts, the sharpening of intelligence, complexity of thought and action, and strategic responsiveness to novel situations. It permits people to accept themselves and the world as they are, and it helps us make the best of the messes around us and within us.”
This is one of my favorite outlooks on life, especially as our reality in 2020 was warped so heavily, with anxiety, separation, loneliness, and longing for friends and family became so commonplace. Everyone knows how hard this year has been and this feels like a reminder that there’s another way.
Ted Lasso, is the “comic-mode”, someone that responds with life and purpose, who focuses on the now with humor, a man that adapts by thinking quickly as if he needed to fit a joke (or dash of humor) in every interaction he has, a father that not only finds joy in small things but is willing to share and create said joy, a human who tries to avoid pain whenever possible, and a complex depiction of how we can tackle life, and while not unbreakable, that we should default back to accept, and create the best scenario out of the mess that we’re given. If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso, I’d recommend you take this easy-going, friendly reminder that maybe it’s time to change your own story from tragic to comic-mode. I’m grateful that this came as a reminder to me that I need to be more of a Ted Lasso myself.