This is all well and good, and it will be interesting to see what sausage, if any, Congress manages to churn out. If the human infrastructure bill is Dems-only, however, let me offer a friendly amendment that would improve the resiliency of the body politic: subsidies that enable everyone to watch “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV Plus.
Another subsidy for a megacorporation? I mean, yeah, sure, but that’s how pork-barrel bills work. The more important thing is that everyone in the United States needs to watch “Ted Lasso.”
Past Dan would have been appalled at such a suggestion. Last fall, I began noticing friends and follows on social media suggesting that this Jason Sudeikis show was a must-watch because it was “uplifting” and “heartwarming” and such. These sound like good adjectives, but, to a discerning television viewer, they made the show sound mawkish and cloying. As the coronavirus pandemic was worsening, and the November election was looming, I was not in the right head space for that kind of program.
Then, in February, with family members in the ICU and my spouse hanging on by an emotional thread, I suggested we give the show a try. By then, the raves about “Ted Lasso” were coming from a truly heterogenous set of folks. So we watched.
To be blunt, it rescued us. In our darkest hour, this show made us feel better. And we are hardly the only ones. I have talked to numerous people who found this show during their darkest moments of the pandemic and viewed it as an emotional life raft. If that is not human infrastructure, then I do not know what is.
For the uninitiated, the premise of “Ted Lasso” is simple. In a plot device borrowed from “Major League,” a divorcée inherits an English football club and, in an act of spite toward her former husband, hires a Division 1-AA American football coach named Ted Lasso to run the team, with the express intent and expectation that he will run it into the ground.
Except that Ted is not quite what anyone expects. On first impression, he seems like an out-of-his depth over-optimistic American. That impression is not completely wrong — but it’s mostly wrong. Ted is like a sweet Vidalia onion: There are layers of depth with surprising flavors and sensations, and the deeper you look, the more likely you are to cry a little. Here’s one example from Season 1.
I recognize that this write-up of the show makes it sound, well, mawkish and cloying. Here’s the thing, though: It’s not. Ted is not a “Mary Sue” character: He’s a good coach, but he also has his flaws. He wrestles with them and sometimes loses. But as Catherynne Valente noted, “He is a deep and well-rounded, complex character whose default setting is simply kind. I wish we could all be like that.”
Furthermore, “Ted Lasso” is replete with other interesting characters who go on their own journeys. Brett Goldstein is brilliant as foul-mouthed, emotionally intelligent veteran Roy Kent, who has a brilliant R-rated rant in the first episode of Season 2 that every single person in the audience should hear. Juno Temple plays Keeley Jones, a social influencer dating AFC Richmond’s best player, in a sympathetic way, which I did not think was possible for any character whose occupation was “social influencer.”