Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” is a bonafide hit, and people are talking about it. It is the rare show that comes along at just the right time and provides a little something for everyone.
And last week’s episode, “Rainbow,” may just have been one of the most well-written episodes of any television show ever created. Season two, episode 5 should go down as must-see television.
Season one introduced the character of Ted Lasso and people took notice. And of late, the business world has truly latched onto Ted. There was an article weaving its way around LinkedIn last week titled the “Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso.” If you haven’t read it yet, I highly encourage you to go check it out.
That post talks about leading with empathy, lack of ego, lack of hierarchy, positivity and more. It takes the lessons from “Ted Lasso” and applies it to our day-to-day engagement in the workplace.
In season one, Ted was almost a caricature of a person, optimistic to a fault. His routine was borderline comical. The only kink in his armor was his marital separation, about which he had begun to show some true emotional depth in a way that was rarely seen through the rest of the season.
Ted’s optimism and humorous approach made the show a rare form of escapism where his best characteristics were exaggerated to make a point and still managed to keep us happy. It was required viewing during the pandemic because it gave us something positive to look at while everything else was feeling more dire in the real world.
Fast-forward to season two, where there’s more drama and more conflict. The first few episodes were a little rough to watch, if I’m being honest. There were too many allusions to therapists and elements of self-doubt. I was concerned.
All that started to change with the Christmas episode, and then the episode about “rom-communism” completely turned it around. This is the episode that cements the show as one of the best you will ever see. It was written from the point of view of love: Love of the best romantic comedies in history. Love of the idea of love itself, and of optimism that things always work out in the end. It’s the only show I can think of in the last few years where I immediately wanted to sit down and watch it from start to finish again.
That combination of a narrative about optimism coupled with the references to those same moments in entertainment history which are almost universally understood makes for a refreshing kind of television. Those references could have easily been goofy or patronizingly daft, but they weren’t. They were used to further the narrative and they never felt out of place. They were also woven into the originality of the show itself. Case in point: When my wife and I finished watching, the line that kept coming back to us was “He’s like a wigwam and a teepee: two tents”-- that is, “too tense.”
“Ted Lasso” has resurrected two things for me: appointment viewing and water-cooler television. We sit down to watch the show on Friday night when it premieres, and the next morning we are talking about it with other parents during the sports our kids are playing. Sometimes swimming, sometimes futbol. Sometimes basketball, but it doesn’t matter. It is now a universally appreciated program and one I hope will have a long future.
I hope the world around us doesn’t try to squash the inherent optimism of a show such as “Ted Lasso.” I hope it allows us to still appreciate the benefits of a good rom-com from time to time and doesn’t leave us “two tents” to simply sit back and enjoy.