Zero stabs. This show does not make me want to stab my eyeballs out at all, from a feminist perspective.
Ok, so if you know me personally, I've probably already convinced you to try the Apple TV show, "Ted Lasso," and if you've tried it, you've later messaged me that ohmygod you loved it thanks so much for improving your life. Your'e welcome! If you're one of those who has already heard my forty-seven minute monologue about why it's the greatest show ever and you need to watch it immediately, you can skip this post. Make sure you come back for the following, though, because I'm going to do an episode recap weekly as the second season started this week and is slowly dripping out to us ONE DAMNED EPISODE AT A TIME FOR THE LOVE.
These will contain spoilers because I simply cannot keep my glee inside my pants. It's like this show was written specifically for me. I just...I....sputtering happy noises.
Now, you may have come upon the show independent of me, I suppose, as this show is winning all kinds of major awards and all sorts of critics and famous people are also falling all over themselves for it. Of course it is/they are. It's people at the top of their craft all making revolutionary comedy and drama. It's exquisite. Am I overhyping it? I don't think so. It's that superb. So, what's it all about? Coach Ted Lasso, a sweet, disarmingly funny, vulnerable, caring, intelligent character full of folksy one-liners, was originally built by Jason Sudeikis for a series of 2013 promos for some NBC sports thing about soccer (sorry, football). He then worked with producer/writer/director, Bill Lawrence, the creator of "Scrubs," and actor/director, Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard) to make the show based on him.
Coach Lasso is an American (Kansan) Division 2 arms-passy football coach with character and charisma out the wazoo, who is recruited to coach foot-passy football in London. He's in the midst of a separation from his wife and they have a kid. He brings his assistant coach, Coach Beard with him, and they charm their way into the stony hearts of the players, owner, and fans. It's discovered during the first season (2020) that Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), the owner of the team, is trying to sabatage the team by hiring an American doofus to coach it into the ground, because she won the team in a bitter divorce, and since it was the thing her ex loved most, and since the reason they're splitting is his constant infidelity and general smarmy terribleness, she's righteously planning its demise. BUT in steps Ted Lasso who, ah hell, wins games and her heart (platonically) and her plans are foiled.
If you're thinking, eww it's wholesome!? I'd say yes, but in a beautiful way. There is a kindness to it, a goodness, that's easy to cheer for, but there's also biting, brilliant humor, and an edge of despair that keeps it from becoming saccharine. If you're thinking eww a sports show!? Honestly, it's fine. Like "The League," the sportsball is only the reason these wildly interesting characters are all together, and now we get to watch them interact and live their lives. It savagely makes fun of sports tropes and toxic masculinity.
It's a show about men's football, so the majority of the characters are men, BUT about half of the lead, most important characters with the most speaking parts are women. And fully formed, complex and interesting women whom the lead men respect and enjoy in non-sexual ways, and vice versa. There is Rebecca, the owner of the team (Ms. Waddingham, the exquisite genius previously found in Game of Thrones, in London Broadway, and as one of the lesbian moms on Sex Education- another great show, btw. She is so poised, so precise, in every single eye twitch and word, you just can't take your eyes off of her. Plus, she's super tall like me, powerful, feminine, stylish and just generally fucking cool and heart breaking when she shows vulnerability. Anyway, she is only slightly older than me but is now my personal model for how to be a woman. Nbd). Then there is Keeley (Juno Temple, previously found in loads of stuff, but the things I'm familiar are as one of the fairies in Maleficent, and as the sex worker in the movie 'Afternoon Delight' with Kathryn Hahn). Anyway, her character is one I'm ready to not like initially because I've been trained to feel bitter toward small, pretty women, but I quickly became loyal to her, as well. Keeley is a model/influencer, but she doesn't take herself seriously and always says/does the thing you're not expecting her to do/say. Plus Ms. Temple is hysterical and irrisistible. She starts the show as the girlfriend of Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) a cocky, emotionally damaged/stunted star player but ends up deciding she deserves better. Later, she and the veteran on the edge of retirement, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein- SO FUCKING GOOD and good at reminding me that I'm heterosexual) get together and make sweet magic.
This show is respectful of all the many cultures represented- like gently makes acknowledgements and careful jokes about colonization and various religions. It explores mens' friendship in a big, profound way that I've never seen before. All of the characters, even the small parts, are just delicious, but the other two main leads who regularly show men at their best, are Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed) and Higgins (Jeremy Swift). It blows up all kinds of stereotypes- or rather explores them, talks about them, tries to heal them, even? It's playful but there's nothing sloppy about it. It's conscientious and caring, from soup to nuts. And the jokes never stop. I have watched the first season twice (once with my husband, then we went back and re-watched it with our ten year-old, who picked up SO much great British cussing) and I caught more jokes the second time around. It's just like watching a tennis match between pros, them lobbing smart, quick jokes- especially the two coaches. Holy shit, their chemistry.
Ok, that's good for now. I could do this all day, but don't want to bore anyone. I'll just privately go write some fan fiction which will definitely NOT just be one long sex scene between Keeley and Roy. It'll totally NOT be that. ;) What I will PUBLISH soon is a quick summary of the first season and then get into the recap of Season 2, Episode 1. If you haven't watched any of it yet, catch up!