Ted Lasso- Leadership, Love, and Laughs. I’m a huge fan.

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to write a review about a TV show before. Sure, I’ve ranked Oscar movies from the perspective of a casual viewer with the truth that I want most movies to give me warm fuzzies, but once-a-year-I-watch-nine-movies-that-wreck-my-world-and-do-indeed-leave-me- knowing-new-things, appreciating-different-perspectives, and cheering-on-the-creatives.

[I digress. I miss the Oscar season.]

Today I have to write so I can get Ted Lasso out of my head and into the world. I’ve lived with this show for three weeks and find it applies to almost everything. The show is well-made, hopeful, surprising, earnest, funny, heartfelt, human, godly, convicting, inspiring, and again, hopeful. Because tonight it’s nominated for some Golden Globes, our local newspaper published a commentary by a New York Times writer who captures much of what I want to convey.

James Poniewozik writes,

“Being nice in Ted Lasso, is not a naive denial of the darkness of life. It’s a clear-eyed adaptation to it. The series recognizes that nice guys do sometimes finish last. It just argues that other things are more important than finishing first.” Poniewozik also highlights Ted’s positivity as a secret weapon, affirms his decency is expressed in assuming good intentions in the motives of others, and that he earns his niceness not by glossing over or denying the hard things in life because instead “his optimism and generosity are informed by the pain that’s made them necessary.”

Well said, James. Thank you.

In the bonus material for the show, streaming on ApplePlus TV, Sudeikis and team admit the humor hits you first but the call to kindness and goodness is what stays. His coaching style encourages acceptance of hard truths about yourself (especially when they come from mostly quiet but always watching Nate) and the support of others on your team. Against negativity and actual brokenness losing teams often have, Lasso encourages the team to believe. “Believe” matters in the psyche of self-confidence as well as a belief in the good of others, and the possibility of hope when those things come together.

Sudeikis says he bases Ted’s character on his dad and hopes it’s the kind of dad he is.

Sudeikis affirms a major premise for the whole show is to uphold the dichotomy of ignorance and curiosity.  In interviews, he says, “the worst combination of a human man is one that’s ignorant and arrogant.”

In one of the last episodes of the show, I was undone when Ted blatantly quotes, and exhibits, the  Walt Whitman quote, “Be Curious, Not Judgemental”. Right in the middle of being belittled, he upholds dignity. Goofy, broken, but absolutely self-secure and kind- he’s a picture of meekness- strength under restraint.

In a show about a team of men and two male coaches, the two lead females carry many of the themes of friendship, fortitude, forgiveness, teamwork, and honesty forward with grace, style, strength, and beauty.

I cannot appreciate enough the way the show lands in the middle of a divided America to highlight the values of God’s kingdom. The setting is sports and the language is adult but the messages supersede what can often become extra, cheap, or divisively distracting.

My favorite things seen in the show are:

  • Friends who stay themselves even if their closest blokes believe and act differently
    • (Seen through: the big black guy in the threesome at the bar)
  • Apologies that don’t defend intent.
    • (Seen through: Higgins, Rebecca, Ted, Nate, Keeley and Roy who say I will hold that. You’re right. I’m sorry. I should not have done that. etc..)
  • Boldness to approach someone for a relationship that is threatening to you. Each character makes it possible because of their own self-awareness and security
    • (Seen through:  Keeley and Rebecca, Ted and Rebecca, Roy and Jamie)
  • Cultural intelligence- the army guy didn’t work for Sam from Nigeria. Despite Ted’s good intentions, he took the cultural lesson learned. When American expressions fall flat and are acknowledged as knee-jerk, easy things, to say because we’re nervous- cultural intelligence and decorum increase.
    • (Seen through: Ted in the locker room- “I don’t know why I said it. Nerves I guess.” Such self-awareness at the moment)
  • Owning what you’ve done wrong and offering genuine regret and desire for repair to the offended.
    • (Seen through: Ted owning his anger towards Nate that hard night. Most would have justified it by the despair he was in. Seen in Sassy pointing out Rebecca’s ownership in her own withdrawal and imprisonment and Rebecca taking it. Relationship changing when Keeley apologizes to Roy for using him to get at Jamie. Relationship changing when Rebecca comes clean to Higgins for repair.)
  • A genuine interest in others and space for their ideas and input despite title or status.
    • (Seen through: the push to celebrate Sam in a way that honored his history and involved others in the party to raise the morale for all. Seen when Ted asks Nathan his name, remembers it, tells him the truth about a suit, takes his scrap paper idea, and gives him the locker room floor)
  • Rightly ordered anger.
    • Seen in: Roy Kent. Anger is a good emotion given for improving relationships. When righty ordered, Roy’s anger protects the vulnerable, energizes his talent gone aloof, or shakes off a snoopy photographer. In disorder, anger removes people, instead of the obstacle in the relationship. I love Roy’s character change. It might be too soon but I believe it was buried in there all along and is actually what’s most true about him all along.
  • The positivity that is heartfelt and other affirming and community embracing.
    • Seen in: Every episode, especially when Ted is kind and believing the best, despite the deceit waged against him.
  • A coaching philosophy that elevates character formation, self-awareness, growth, and camaraderie for a team over goals of winning.
    • Seen in: All of Ted’s decisions as head coach. Affirmed at the end when he says, “This is a sad moment. Really sad. But there’s something worse than being sad, and that’s being sad AND alone. No one here is alone.”
  • When Ted says something like, “I’ll be there”, or “I’m grateful for this time with you”, or “I believe in you”, or “I really want to get to know you” or , “Yes I’ll come to your restaurant” etc.. HE REALLY MEANS IT! The affirmation of his positivity is so genuinely decent. It softens even the hardest heart, Trent Crimm’s.

If you don’t have Apple TV, I’ll give you $5.oo to buy it for a month so you don’t have to take my word for it. You can cry and laugh your own way through it and walk away uplifted, closer to Jesus, and more informed about KC bbq.

Can’t wait for Season 2!!!

Congrats Jason Sudeikis on the GG win for best actor!!!





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