I, like many many people, thought that the Ted Lasso series wasn’t going to be anything special. I was vaguely aware of the character, designed for a one-off sketch, and yea, that fish-out-of-water trope can be funny. But to bring the Southern American football coach to the UK to manage a Premier League team seemed ripe for sub-par comedy. I was expecting there to be a lot of jokes at the expense of the British way of life, lots of men bouncing off each other in the locker room, and a bit of a boorish ten episodes.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. What an incredible programme this is, and how lucky we are to have it at this particular moment in time.
It’s full of hope, of joy, of the utter kindness of human beings. It promotes love and not hate, and that being thoughtful and generous will overcome adversity far better than manipulation and jealousy. There is, of course, some gentle joshing about the differences between the UK and the US, and Ted’s ongoing distaste at tea makes me laugh every time. But mostly, it’s a ray of absolute sunshine. If there’s one moment that sums up the whole thing, it’s when Ted takes the Walt Whitman quote “Be curious, not judgemental” and uses it to defend his boss, put someone in their place, and inspire an entire pub of people who tend towards disliking him. Genuinely incredible scenes.
The series came to an end yesterday after ten wonderful episodes that focus not just on Lasso, but every character has a journey to go on: from Juno Temple’s football girlfriend turned marketing genius to Nick Mohammad’s shy locker room assistant coming out of his shell. Hannah Waddingham does an exceptional job at portraying hurt, pain, and anger that never quite goes away but is tempered by the sheer weight of Lasso’s positivity. And I can’t even describe how much I love the gruff Roy Kent portrayed by Brett Goldstein - the episode where he can’t physically talk about his feelings so just grunts all the time… so good.
I’m tempted, right now, to rewatch all the episodes from the beginning and blog the joy that comes out of every single episode, it’s been a while since I did an episode by episode review and if anything deserves it, Ted Lasso does.
But whether I do that or not, over and above it all, the one lasting thing that will remain in my mind for a long time to come is: Jamie Tartt, do-do-do-do-do-do. Jamie Tartt, do-do-do-do-do-do.