It is 2013. NBC starts airing short skits starring Jason Sudekis as Ted Lasso during English Premier League. Nine years later, Jason Sudekis stars as Ted Lasso a his titular TV show. Nine years. I choose to believe the original actors, writers found something amazing back then and kept pitching it to networks all this time.
9 years of relentless pursuit is an adequate way to start talking about Ted Lasso.
Ted Lasso is a unique character. Usually, I see optimistic characters like Ted portrayed as naive &/or innocent. Their optimism stems from ignorance of world’s harsh realities. Ted Lasso is not ignorant and neither is he naive. He knows what kind of people live in the world and despite all that, he is an optimist.
In the sports world where everyone looks for someone to blame, he always takes the blame for his teams’ failures but believes that they will do better. He believes in his team, in his players. He wants everyone around him to try be the best version of themselves. He does this day in and day out while a stadium full of audience hurl boos at him, while his boss secretly sabotages his progress.
As the show progresses, we see the depth of this character: how his optimistic personality poisoned his marriage. How much his own ideals of what a coach should do stand in opposition against what a team needs. We see him biting his subordinates’ heads off, we see him avoiding his tasks & have a panic attack at a time when everyone around him is happy. We see him at the days when even he can’t be optimistic about anything.
But the next day, Ted Lasso is back to being a persistent optimist. He apologies for his mistakes & makes amends sincerely. Ted Lasso is a person who not only understands why he made mistakes, he forgives himself for it. He understands why people make mistakes, why are they mean and he.. forgives them for it.
He moves on.
There is this amazing scene between Ted Lasso, Coach Beard, Nate, Higgins & Roy Kent in one of the episodes. I can’t write this whole thing down but the last line of the scene is the most important one:
Grow up & get over it.Coach Beard
In the 2013 ads, the premise is Ted Lasso moving to UK and getting to terms with Football/Soccer. In the 2020 show, the show is grounded in reality with the help amazing supporting characters, many of whom are given clear motivation & goal (no pun intended) in the show. This medley of Ted’s cheery personality & other characters’ pragmatism/pessimism attitude makes for a enjoyable watch. Add to the fact that this show was released in 2020.
It is almost like the show knew what was going to happen in 2020.
Ted Lasso is an Immigrant Story.
I found myself remembering my first couple of days in NZ as I watched the first two-three episode of Ted Lasso. There are a lot of differences of course: Ted moved to a country with the same native language, a country whose people predominantly share his skin colour & he moved after he took a job.
However, Ted Lasso is still an immigrant story that I related with. He couldn’t sleep during his flight to UK. His loneliness echoing in the first night in a new but empty house.
The first press conference during which press tried their very best to embarrass Ted Lasso. The team members who in the beginning judged him solely on the basis of his (Southern) accent. Every single one of his decision was put under a microscope and dissected to the point that it looked malevolent.
There were multiple mentions of how ‘He[Ted] should go back where he came from.’
Ted Lasso never relented in his pursuit. He faltered but never let go.
This is a story about an immigrant’s hope. An immigrant’s story about self-belief and a passion to get better. Ted Lasso knows he doesn’t know anything about Football, but from the very first scene he makes a point to learn new things. Ted greets everyone with respect and patience, which on any other person would look like a desperate attempt to assimilate into the new country, looks genuine.
Ted Lasso’s resolve to move past all obstacles with the same sunny attitude he started with made me wish this show had existed in 2016. I wish it had because the days that I needed a dose of positivity, Ted Lasso could have given it.
He would have stuck a banner with the words ‘Believe’ on top of my door.
Ted Lasso will continue his journey in a country that has accepted him begrudgingly in season 2 and 3. I am eagerly waiting for July 24th to start the next chapter.