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Ted Lasso Season 2 is taking risks and challenging itself -- it's been the good kind of messy

  • "It’s not altogether surprising that this introspective second season of Ted Lasso has been more controversial than its first," says Caroline Framke, "even aside from the fact that the show became such a phenomenon that some level of backlash and disappointment was as predictable as Ted’s preferred genre of references (which, in the words of Dr. Sharon, are always 'something very specific to a 45 year-old white man from middle America'). Whereas the first season chugged along with clear purpose from the outset, the second is far more willing to take detours along the way. This impulse is evident in a literal sense when looking at the episode runtimes. The longest episode of the first season is its 35 minute finale; 10 episodes into the second, three chapters have already run 45 minutes long. And in its dedication to fleshing out every individual character, the second season of Ted Lasso has absolutely abandoned the plot machine of the club’s success that previously kept the show moving at such a steady clip." Framke adds: "It’s not a shock that this second season of Ted Lasso isn’t as broadly popular as the first, nor that it clicking into a more contemplative gear has thrown those who loved — or even hated — what the show initially did for a loop. But its willingness to tackle its messier themes in messier fashion has nevertheless made for a far riskier season of television than not. Even as Ted Lasso made clear in the first season that it was interested in spilling its characters guts, the show could have easily settled into complacency, depended on its charismatic cast to deliver reliable laughs, and embraced the blind hope of its 'be a goldfish' slogan. Instead, it challenged itself to dive deep below the surface and shine a harsh light on the twisted truths none of its characters wanted to see let alone resolve. The fallout might not be as viscerally satisfying as the first season’s cleaner story of a rise and fall, but if done with the kind of care and consideration Ted Lasso has shown in the past, it could prove to be something more extraordinary.


    • Ted Lasso is a match made in globalizer heaven: "It took a U.S. media/tech platform to make an iconic show about English football, and it took English football to make Apple TV+ a legitimate global media player," says Andrés Martinez. "Certain Brits and certain Americans might be offended by this truth, but Ted Lasso would not have the same global reach if it were a British production, and it would not have the same global resonance if it were about one of our homegrown U.S. sports. The acclaimed Apple TV+ comedy, which just won seven Emmys, is many things to many people — a call for optimism and kindness in an age of negativity and anger; a leadership masterclass; a Christian allegory; a primer on mental health; a case study in cross-cultural learning and personal growth; a repudiation of tea-drinking. But for globalization’s story, Ted Lasso is here to mind the gap (to borrow the type of everyday Britishism that so tickles the former Wichita State coach now managing AFC Richmond) between America’s dominance over most forms of global pop culture (think film, music, TV, social media) and its historical isolationism when it comes to sport. This gap helps explain why soccer, despite being the world’s default sport, is severely underrepresented in the pantheon of great sport movies ...Separately, both Apple TV+ and the English Premier League, the most globalized of any domestic sports league, streaming live to 189 countries, boast of their ability to reach a billion screens around the world, which is another way of saying these two were meant for each other. And with sport becoming more important and valuable by the day as a form of entertainment still consumed and shared in real time, Apple TV+ is hardly alone in leveraging the popularity of the world’s game. The Ted Lasso character, let’s not forget, was born as a series of inspired NBC Sports promos in 2013 when the network acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to the English Premier League."
    • Ted Lasso haters are taking the show too seriously: "The thing about Ted Lasso – which has inspired a seemingly infinite number of think pieces since it first aired last August and has just won seven Emmys – is that I can’t find it in me to be too pretentious about it at all. It is a perfectly good sitcom. It is the sort of thing you can chuckle along to while scrolling on your phone," says Arwa Mahdawi. "It is a nice show about a nice man being nice. It is fun to watch during a depressing pandemic. That is it. I have no deeper meaning to proffer. Alas, I appear to be an outlier. Ted Lasso has become a cultural lightning rod. Some people seem to have turned hating it into a personality trait. Others have turned dissing people who diss Ted Lasso into a personality trait. Meanwhile, the show is being used to discuss everything from American decline to gender. It won a Peabody award for 'offering the perfect counter to the enduring prevalence of toxic masculinity.' Are you kidding me? You can get an award simply for having a show featuring a nice man? This feels like a scam. I don’t think Ted himself would approve. Uh oh, I feel my interpretation impulses kicking in. I had better stop now before I give you 2,000 words on how doorknobs in Ted Lasso reflect on-screen sexism. You’re welcome, in advance."
    • It's okay for teens to watch Ted Lasso, despite its profanity: The Apple TV+ comedy can benefit teens, even with its profanity, because it's "a master class in positive relationships, mental health and modern masculinity," says Whit Honea. "It is as nuanced as it is honest, which isn’t really what I expected when I first started watching. At the time, I figured it would be something for a laugh, full of fish-out-of-water stereotypes and tea jokes. Which it is, and so much more."
    • Many workers dream of having a boss like Ted Lasso: Jason Sudeikis’ Lasso "had me at his handwritten, slightly crooked 'Believe' sign posted over his office door," says Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary. "His corny expressions and pep talks to the soccer players — even after a brutal loss — make you wish you had a boss like him...Lasso’s personality is so sunny you need a pair of sunglasses in his presence. So, what’s this got to do with personal finance, you might ask? Well, many people resign — sometimes without another job — because they just can’t take the abuse from their boss. Others retire too early and without the financial security they should have, concluding that staying is not worth the cost to their mental health. Every year, U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion to voluntary turnover, according to a 2019 Gallup report."

    TOPICS: Ted Lasso, Apple TV+

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