In the years ‘B.C.’ I would commute to work by train, usually minding my own business just like my fellow travellers, either pretending to be asleep or scrolling through some app or another. But once in a blue moon I would see a sunrise so beautiful that I would tap on the knee of whoever was sitting opposite me (pretending to be asleep or scrolling through some app or another, or maybe even reading an old-fashioned newspaper) and point outside.
For a brief moment we would both look in awe at the spectacular reds, yellows and oranges, and sometimes even purples that filled the sky, before returning to our routines. These days I commute to work by walking from my breakfast table to my home office – often missing the sunrise altogether. But I am tapping on your knee, pointing to the must-see series that is Ted Lasso.
I am going to do my best and avoid spoilers, but I can point out why I (and many others, including the committee that nominated Ted Lasso for 20 Emmy awards) find myself literally cheering in front of the telly at least once every episode. It is THAT good.
Yes, the narrative of an American football coach coming to London to coach a Premier League football team is lovely: optimistic, funny, kind, and sometimes properly tear jerking. The characters are all extremely likable, and layered. The show uses great songs and the editing deserves a chef’s kiss. But I want to talk about the references!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
If I ever see a Ted Lasso script, I’m hoping it will be structured like an academic paper, using superscript, and adding footnotes for every reference. They’d include Richard Curtis, Nora Ephron (et al.). In Season 2, episode 5 Ted (played by SNL’s Jason Sudeikis) only needs 16 seconds to quote When Harry met Sally, Jerry Maguire and Notting Hill. Channelling Meg Ryan’s Sally: Yes! Yes! Yes! And it all makes sense too!
Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt (et al.) have created something special. It’s the kind of sunrise that I could watch again and again without getting bored.
The references are sprinkled over such clever writing that I’m not sure where to begin. Dutch subtitles can’t keep up with it, that’s for sure. I completely missed a Gay Talese reference the first time (do read Frank Sinatra Has a Cold if you want to know what Ted is talking about). And it wasn’t until I rewatched the entire first season that I noticed just how well story lines are set up, even across seasons. And it isn’t just dialogue. The way one character actually vomits when another mentions the proud boys (a miniature spoiler there, sorry) is just one example of the many, many subtle ways in which current affairs are woven into this fictional story. I am truly jealous of the writers, especially Brett Goldstein who is both a writer and a cast member (in one of my favourite roles). And of David Elsendoorn, the Dutch actor that joined the cast for the second season.
I am quite sure that I haven’t even seen all references. And it’s probably a stretch, but I’m wondering if any of the writers ever saw the Australian cult hit The Castle. The optimism, greyhounds and moustache reminded me of it.
Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt (et al.) have created something special. Ted Lasso the kind of sunrise that I could watch again and again without getting bored. And I’m sure I’ll continue to tap on some more knees too to make sure people don’t miss it. All I can say to the creators is: Bravo!