The AppleTV+ show Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is the best watch on streaming, both for its fantastic plot line and because it avoids the excessive virtual-signaling known to so many other series on offer today. Another reflection about ol’ Ted may appear gratuitous at this point, given that the WSJ and Kyle Smith of NR have already written about him in the last 24 hours; however, there is an unsung sociological component external to the show for which I must pen my appreciation: Everyone loves Ted Lasso.
Right and Left, Whig and Tory, Bob and Ferdinand, no matter who or what an individual is or thinks, we all enjoy this heartfelt comedy about an upbeat, out-of-place Midwestern football coach winning over the dour British soccer scene. It’s one of the most pro-American series of the last decade, showcasing U.S.-bred optimism and warmth without the cynicism that writers so often feel the need to include. There are some woke-ish bits about feminism and race, but they avoid nauseating preachiness and add to the protagonist’s surprising complexity.
Unremarkable though this broad appeal could seem to some, there are few enough pieces of media, chicken restaurants, or pillow companies for which there are not attendant political assumptions made. It’s refreshing to sit down with a left-leaning family member and watch Ted Lasso without feeling like you’re about to walk into a grudge match about what parts are funny and what is offensive.
In his book Coming Apart, Charles Murray discusses the schisms that have developed between Americans in a variety of consumer preferences, from food choices to vacation destinations, since 1963. While Murray’s book concentrates on class more than region, most wealth exists on the coasts. (I’ll conflate location with income here, understanding that it’s not an exact parallel.) The theory goes that as we drift from one another in how we live, we find it that much more challenging to relate to our far-flung countrymen.
One area of profound difference is in television choice. The coasts prefer series such as Game of Thrones — at least before its writers gave it the Red Wedding treatment — and Modern Family, while the country’s interior prefers Duck Dynasty and Shameless. Medieval fantasy Machiavellian power struggles and consciously Christian duck-call manufacturing don’t have much crossover. But, something we can all get behind is mustachioed Americans baking cookies as goodwill offerings to curmudgeonly Englishmen. It makes you feel good no matter one’s zip code.
With the forthcoming release of Ted Lasso’s second season on July 23, my prayer is that they can maintain the universally attractive qualities that made the first so revivifying for TV-watchers the world over.