(spoilers throughout, sorry)
Finally watched s02 and I have opinions. And they have coalesced enough to make a Malcolm Gladwell Grand Unified Theory Blog Post, so here we go.
Ted Lasso is set in a world where everyone does inner work
After s01, I was blown away by how everyone is just… believable, and good? Spearheaded by Our Hero, who is just, I mean, I’d say “unbelievable and good”, but for Mr. Rogers. Everybody has to learn some lessons, confront their demons, and they do, and they succeed because of it. This keeps up in s02, in complex and real ways!
- Jamie Tartt almost loses it all, finally realizes he’s been a shit, realizes why he’s been a shit, and starts to own up to it
- Dani Rojas learns that a freak accident doesn’t have to define him
- Trent Crimm sees the error of his ways through Ted’s incredible other-cheek-turning
- Rebecca sees the error of her ways through Ted’s incredible other-cheek-turning
- Roy Kent, by opening his gruff exterior to the love of his partner and friends, realizes he still has a role to play in these footballers' lives, and finds fulfillment through it
It’s all brilliant! I want the entire world to learn from these paragons of realistic not-simple virtue!
Ted Lasso is set in a world where inner work is easy
My gripe with the show didn’t become clear until s02, where they brought in Sharon, the Magic Therapist. She makes for some real, complex drama with Ted, where he overcomes his well-earned distrust of therapists and eventually makes a big breakthrough in his own psyche. I mostly like this arc (though it does perpetuate a stereotype that therapy is always about Confronting Your One Big Trauma). But along the way, she confronts everyone else’s issues in one session each! Rojas and Colin and even Jamie are seemingly instantly “cured”. Y’all, this is not how therapy works!
Ted Lasso is mostly set in a very safe world, which makes inner work easier
Why does it work? Maybe partially because nothing has big bad consequences. Doing The Right Thing always succeeds. You can imagine a few times it perhaps wouldn’t, in the real world:
- opening up about your mental health could cause more than a half-an-episode media panic
- Sam sticking to his guns (and Rebecca backing him up) about Air Dubai could cause them to pull sponsorship, endangering the whole team. (instead, his one simple action causes giant changes in a multinational conglomerate, benefiting his entire home country, god I want to live in the Lasso world)
- speaking of Sam and Rebecca, there’s no way that works out so neatly
- welcoming back toxic Jamie after s01 could cause, uh, more than zero infighting in the team
- fighting with 3 drunk dudes who hate you in a back alley might result in nonzero broken bones, lol
At least a few times, problems are solved with literally a wad of cash. Ok, they’re footballers, fine. I guess that also explains how they can afford to live in the disgustingly cutest London neighborhood.
(If saccharine is a problem to you, skip the Christmas episode s02e04; I got so mad I almost quit the series.)
Coach Beard is the exception here
He’s got issues, it’s not really clear what they are, he’s trying to address them, he’s not really succeeding, his relationship is kinda-toxic but kinda-life-affirming?, he’s troubled but successful? I kinda think “the Beard episode” (s02e09) might be the best of the series. (imdb people disagree.) Maybe Beard is parachuted in from the real world, trying to follow the Lasso-and-friends example but hitting realistic stumbling blocks.
And Nate, ok
but I’m bummed about him; his Anakin-to-Vader turn in s02 seemed to come out of nowhere. Maybe I missed something.
All that said, I still love the show
I feel like more shows should be set in “the world in which everyone goes to therapy.” Not that TV has to hold up examples to follow in real life, but … I don’t know, I like it better than shows that pretend to hold up examples of how you should be but are unrealistic.
Tuca and Bertie is also set in “the world in which everyone goes to therapy.” I might think more about this.
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