Imagine a kind-hearted, naive and overly optimistic coach of an American football team being imported into the incredibly hostile world of English football (a completely different game, btw). He is to coach a team handed over to a revenge-hungry divorcee as alimony from her adulterous spouse. She has only one purpose in life, to destroy the very thing her husband loved, his Premier League football team.
The new coach on the other hand, who has never played the game in his life, has to save this team from being disqualified, contend with the vicious and scurrilous media and deal with fans who only know how to express their support with foul-mouthed insults of the most creative kind.
This is the plot of Emmy-award winning comedy series, Ted Lasso.
This is no ordinary sports-themed, inspirational drama. (Spoiler alert: don’t expect any last-minute heroics where the underdogs rise from the pits of despair and upset the best team in the league while the clock ticks in slow motion). But if there was one show that this pandemic-stricken world needed to rise out of the pits of despair and learn how to smile again, it is Ted Lasso.
In a world where TV show protagonists respond to their situations with violence, revenge, manipulation, and questionable ethics, Ted Lasso shows us that the world can still be changed with kindness, forgiveness, love, selflessness, integrity, trust and joy. Plots can be simple, and yet be immersive.
The show doesn’t shy away from showing us a real and messy world. More so, Ted Lasso is not a perfect man. He struggles with his own painful past and present life situations. His optimism, at times, seems overbearing and unrealistic. But his kindness is persistent. His hope is contagious. Instead of trying to learn the sport, he focuses on understanding the players. He is willing to get his hands dirty, but yet keep his heart clean.
The immense success of Ted Lasso reveals something about the current culture. The pandemic has left the world in a very vulnerable state. Right now we don’t need more pain, suffering, violence, gore and sad-endings. We just need a little recognition, acceptance, kindness and patience. We need a source of goodness with a pinch of hope. And if we have even a little bit left or manage to find some, let’s share it with someone else. That’ll do.