There seems to be a new wave of shows coming out recently that, if I didn’t know better, are a reaction to the decades worth of shows about anti-hero, Sherlock-esque, mavericks (ala ‘House’, ‘Sherlock’, ‘Dexter’, ‘Breaking Bad’). These shows, ‘Brooklyn nine-nine’, ‘Schitt’s Creek’, and now ‘Ted Lasso’, seem to pose a completely different idea- what if the people in the stories were not only emotionally healthy people with normal sized egos, but also persons mature enough to just…talk stuff out.
At least that’s what I think is happening and I am here for it because the three shows mentioned above uplift my spirit every step of the way. Just by re-imagining this core idea, the nature of the conflicts and the resolutions the stories arrive at, are completely flipped. For example, in shows where adults don’t talk , the characters often go through multi-season long arcs of suffering and ‘will they or won’t they’. The above mentioned shows reduce such arcs to one episode. Why? Because in the new reality that they pose, adults who love each other are happy to talk their issues out. They have the courage to ask for forgiveness and the kindness to give it. Other things these new shows do differently is depict men who are aware that the world is unfairly biased towards them and that they can and should try correct this balance in favor of women and minorities in general. This simple recognition and general self-awareness is so refreshing that these characters that would otherwise seem tropey, appear completely new and reimagined. And well, they are…
If all this were not enough, the shows also have women being supportive of each other, a refreshing change from the usual backstabbing manner in which female characters are frequently depicted.
Ted Lasso, the subject of this review embodies all these traits and I loved every episode of the show. Not only is the protagonist the most lovable, humble, kind-hearted man, but the conflicts he faces are mature and nuanced. Without spoiling too much, his issue isn’t his ability to confront his emotions but rather the pain of being fully aware of them. This not only presents a great male role model for young men like me to relate to, but also depicts issues that go beyond the drama of a young adult love life.
Ted lasso also does a stunning job of depicting a range of interesting female characters. Not only does it manage to present an antagonist that is truly fearsome, the show manages to make her extremely relatable. The task of writing relatable antagonists that aren’t just bad for the sake of the story is one that makes even experienced writers balk. And yet here, it is done seamlessly. Another great female character includes a lively young woman learning to seek out healthy relationships, not with nice guys, but with good guys.
These refreshing takes are good in themselves but work particularly well because the writers still manage to challenge these characters and thus write compelling narratives.
All in all, I am here for this new wave of positive, healthy, diverse, nuanced television that tells the same old stories but with a far better lens. One can only hope that the generations to come will want to be more like Ted Lasso and less like Chandler. I say this fully aware that I spent the last decade thinking I am Chandler.