“Be curious, not judgmental.” — Ted Lasso c/o Walt Whitman
My first experience with Ted Lasso was its trailers… and I hated them. I had no interest in watching a show about a bumbling white American male coming to Europe to coach a soccer team. To me, it was representative of the inevitable failure of Apple TV+, a streaming app that couldn’t be bothered to come up with a unique name (apparently our future will be dominated by Pluses, Maxes and Primes).
Then Ted Lasso came out and I kept hearing glowing raves about it. My artsy friends, my sporty friends. (Read: Friends whom I trust their judgment on shows, friends whom I don’t.) My uncle, who can be the ultimate cynic. My best friend from home. My podcasting North Star Brené Brown had an episode with creators and stars Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt.
Even with all the praise, it took me half a year to commit to watching. It had become something I was saving for the right time. Something I knew I would like, but wasn’t ready for the crushing disappointment if I didn’t love it, if it didn’t live up to the mounting expectations. Last month I was invited to guest on the Single Best Scene Podcast, which afforded me the opportunity and push to finally watch the show.
By the end of the pilot, I realized why I was watching a white American male coming to Europe to coach a soccer team, and that he was far from bumbling — my latent toxic masculinity had made that mental leap. All of my superficial judgment melted away, replaced by curiosity and passion for a show so clever that it was able to turn semantic satiation into a running joke. Love for the coaches, players and front office for AFC Richmond was indeed on the horizon.
Ted Lasso is a fresh biscuit oozing with positivity that I sorely needed, a show that dares its characters and its audience to be honest and vulnerable, to grow and change. When I was a kid, I was unable to carry my sensitive and masculine identities onto a sporting field, and here was a show about men struggling with that false dichotomy, realizing you don’t have to choose. You can embrace all that you are.
Ted Lasso reminds us of the power that comes from being sad together, rather than isolating ourselves in depression, an oft-tempting thought over the past couple years. Ted Lasso dares us to believe in hope, to believe in believe.
If you’re still cynical, if you still don’t believe, I forgive you. It’ll still be on Apple TV+ in six months when you’re ready.
For more musings on Ted Lasso, check out the Single Best Scene podcast.