Hannah Diviney, Independent
After you read this, please feel free to jump in my DM’s, or leave your comments/fan theories/high level English Lit intellectual analysis where I can read them! It would mean a lot to me (:
Between the five of us, my family and I watch a lot of movies and television. For them it’s probably a combination of enjoyment and an easy watch to relax but for me, it’s where my brain really gets going; equal parts pure enjoyment and spongework, soaking up all the choices that creators and writers make, in the hope that one day, that’ll be me. I love nothing more than hungrily consuming stories, only to analyse and study them afterwards whether they’re books, TV shows, movies, music or any and all other media. It doesn’t help, that for the last four years at uni, studying Creative Writing, those instincts were honed to be on all the time, much to my family’s amused annoyance. With all of that in mind, dear reader, here are my thoughts on the most unexpectedly joyous gem of a TV show (that I think was purposefully perfectly built for these pandemic times) Apple TV’s Ted Lasso.
Over the last year or so, I’d heard lots of rumblings about Ted. I didn’t know what the show was about but I did know people were LOVING it, including friends whose recommendations for these sorts of things, I treat like fragments of gold. Not only that, but at last year’s Emmy’s, it made TV history, scoring a staggering 20 award nominations AND prompting displays of wild joy like this one from Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach, which I think says it all.
My family had been meaning to watch it for months, one of those shows we’d get to eventually, on our seemingly endless watchlist. For whatever reason, after being wrung out by spending Christmas sick with COVID and bombarbed by how badly things are going here in Australia at the moment, we decided this would be a brilliant show for kicking off 2022. And thank God, we did.
I’ve got to be honest; when I realised this was a show about a folksy American football coach from Kansas being handed the reins to an English premier league soccer team and in turn their extremely passionate fans, I was confused. Why was a show about ‘The Soccer’ (as Glennon Doyle so perfectly calls it) resonating with so many people who I knew were not the least bit interested in that sport?
Within five minutes of watching the show, I understood why; Ted Lasso isn’t really about “The Soccer” at all. It’s about a lot of things – masculinity, fathers, sons, marriages, relationships, mental health, self-worth, moral codes and the all important BELIEVE (if you know, you know) But under all of those tangled layers the single thread that runs through the show is simply this; it’s all about the choices we make and the ones we don’t, the ripple effect of other people’s choices on our lives and what we then choose to do with them.
after seeing so many people tweet about ted lasso i finally caved and looked up the show and it’s about……soccer???
— rebecca mix (@mixbecca) June 26, 2021
With only 22 half-an-hour episodes across two seasons, this show has proved the perfect easy wholesome balm for my overthinking brain and oftentimes too-full heart. Speaking of hearts, this show wears its proudly on its sleeve in the kind of way, that makes you laugh, cry and sweat over Richmond’s football scores as though they actually mattered, sometimes all three in the space of five minutes.
In all of the reactions, social media commentary, and conversations my family’s been animatedly having about this show, over the last few weeks, it keeps coming back to Ted’s unshakeable kindness, his boundless optimism and his refusal to be anyone other than exactly who he is without mind games or pretense. If you’re reading that, rolling your eyes; don’t worry. It’s not saccherine or cloying, and it doesn’t hit you over the head. You will learn that Ted is just a man even if he does at first glance appear too good to be true.
I think part of why the show is so hugely popular is because those traits feel unfamiliar. Much like the rest of the characters in the show, our initial reaction as an audience is to be suspicious. To look for the ulterior motive. To get ahead of the other shoe before it drops. Not to get too philosophical Coach Beard style, but when did that become the way we just expected humas to be? When did we accept that and why? After all of the tragedy, sacrifice, rightful anger, desperation, meaningless rhetoric and exhaustion of the last few years in particular, a show centered around kindness, forgiveness and growth of all kinds feels (excuse my Roy Kent here) fucking radical.
I’ve never watched a show before where I’m genuinely rooting for all the characters to be happy and do better. Except Rupert. Rupert can be hit by a bus. He’s too far gone. But other than that, literally everyone. Even Nate, after the end of Season 2. I may have screamed at the TV with rage at first, but I get why he did it. I’ve also never seen a show where every single character is given space to be a three-dimensional human who is more than the stereotype we first meet from Higgins The Abused Assistant to Keeley The Shallow WAG. Shoutout to Keeley for being the true dark horse of the show! They’re all messy and flawed, make good choices and bad and are capable of redemption, forgiveness and change in ways that I think are decidedly rare in storytelling.
Seriously, Jason Sudekis, I know you have a sneaky habit for finding what people are saying about the show so if you’re reading this, I need you to know; Jamie Tartt’s character arc might be the most well executed I’ve ever seen and more importantly, the show makes me want to be a better writer and a better human. Thanks for creating it and thank you for all the depth you gave all of them but especially Ted. As someone lives every day where he was at the end of last season and has also been in Ted’s Dad’s position, thank you. It made me cry. I’m working on being a goldfish. On that note, I’m a big fan of Sam Obisanya and everything he’s allowed to be on the show.
PS: You all know I would LOVE to be in that writer’s room (if only the scripts weren’t already written and filming begun!) Alas, I will settle for joyfully inhaling Season 3 as soon as it’s ready. However I do humbly request more singing from Rebecca, Keeley being a boss-arse bitch and the happiness of both Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt. What do you want to see next season?