"All it took to get me to appreciate Ted Lasso was an assault on American democracy," says James Poniewozik. "Plenty of fans and fellow critics had recommended the comedy, based on an NBC Sports promo sketch, about a good-hearted, optimistic Kansas football coach (Jason Sudeikis) who moves to London to manage a soccer team. When its first season arrived on Apple TV+ last summer, I found its early episodes chuckle-worthy, but nothing compelling. It was … sweet, I guess? Nice? Eh. I moved on. Cut to January. A mob attacked the U.S. Capitol, the MyPillow guy was walking into the White House with notes about martial law, and the once-rote transfer of power became a white-knuckle ride. On Jan. 20, I spent a day writing about the uneasy TV coverage of the inauguration, then a night reviewing the prime-time inauguration special, its notes of hope cut with minor-key reminders of strife and pandemic. Too wound up to sleep, I needed an antidote for all those days of cable-news doom-watching. I decided to give Ted Lasso another shot. It was … sweet. It was nice. And God, did I need that..."In this den of cynics and prima donnas, the cheerfully uncool Ted has a secret weapon: his positivity."