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Ted Lasso update: Impressions through episode #5

As requested by many, here is an update on my impressions of Ted Lasso through episode #5.


Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t watched the show, though it feels me and Elysha are the only ones on the planet who haven’t yet.

The opening sequence is genius. A perfect metaphor of the show.

There are no real antagonists (bad guys) in this show. Just people in need of love and understanding in varying degrees. This is lovely but a little syrupy.

Also, I think, just right for these times. In a world filled with pandemic and political and social division, I suspect that part of Ted Lasso’s appeal is the absence of truly terrible people. With the exception of Rupert, the club owner’s husband (who thus far is a tertiary character at best), everyone is fundamentally a good, albeit flawed, person.

When a virus is trying to kill you and democracy feels perilously fragile, a television show filled with characters who are flawed but not evil might be exactly what you need.

Ted Lasso’s greatness might have a lot to do with its excellent timing.

I have frequently been described as oppressively optimistic, overly pie-in-the-sky, and unrealistically positive from time to time.

I’ve even been accused of toxic positivity on one or two occasions, which is both a ridiculous accusation and an even more ridiculous concept.

I’ll write about toxic positivity another time, but suffice it to say:

Anyone who loves Ted Lasso and the way he approaches life can immediately stop complaining about my optimism and shut the hell up. Compared to Ted Lasso, I’m almost a Debbie Downer.

I like the character of Ted Lasso a lot. He’s uncommonly likable. Goofy yet self-assured. Comfortable in almost any situation. Kind beyond compare. Somehow cool despite also being very uncool. And it works. I believe this human being could exist in real life.

Also, the moment in episode #5 when Ted deduces that Rupert was the one responsible for Robbie Williams canceling on the fundraiser in order to embarrass Rebecca was a wonderful indication of Ted’s often concealed intelligence.

Brilliant bit of writing.

I wonder if Robbie Williams approved of his inclusion in the plot line.

The actual soccer has been cliche and silly so far.

“The best player is selfish and egotistical, so only when he is benched can the team come together and win” has been done many, many times before.

“The team needs to just pass the ball in order to win” is an identical plot point in “Hoosiers.”

Ted Lasso feels like a show about sports written for people who have never watched a show about sports, so there are no worries about leaning into tropes.

I’d like the actual soccer to either be more nuanced or simply not included as a significant part of the plot.

Stephen Spielberg once said that one of his biggest directorial mistakes was sending Richard Dreyfuss’s character – the father of three small children – into space with the aliens in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” No right minded father would leave his kids behind in order to voyage into space with extraterrestrials.

Especially not one as kind and decent as the character who Dreyfuss portrays.

Spielberg explained that he wasn’t yet a father while directing the film, so he didn’t understand what it meant to be a father or a parent. As a result, he sent Dreyfuss’s character to space, which he now sees as a mistake.

I feel the same about Ted Lasso.

Sure, Ted’s therapist advised him to give his wife space, but all the way across an ocean? To coach a sport he knows nothing about? Leaving behind his seven year-old son in the process?

It doesn’t work for me. It goes against every fiber of Ted Lasso’s being.

Lasso was a successful college football coach. He could’ve gotten a job coaching football within a 50 mile radius of his wife and son and still given her all the space she needed. I miss Charlie 15 minutes after he’s gone to bed. Am I really expected to believe that a man like Ted Lasso can simply leave his son behind like that?

I don’t. I didn’t like this plot point one bit.

Overall, I’m enjoying the show. I like it a lot, but I don’t yet love it.

At least not yet.

It’s flawed for sure, but the humor, characters, relationships, and genuine surprises make up for the problems so far.