Ted Lasso has changed my life. It’s a comedy series on Apple TV+ about a coach of an American football college team who, improbably, is taken on as manager of a Premier League football team in London. Ted, played brilliantly by Jason Sudeikis, knows nothing about our kind of football. If you can get over the absurdity of the premise, it soon becomes funny and entertaining. But getting deeper into it, I sensed there might be something more profound about the show.
Ted, notwithstanding his cluelessness about the game, apparent naivety about everything and endless stream of corny jokes, somehow gets on. His players and the press start out savaging him, but he manages to win them over. He does so largely through sheer goodness of heart. He’s always smiling, patient and kind, rising to none of the nastiness thrown his way. In its own quiet way, it’s beautiful to watch.
Obviously, it’s all a ridiculous fantasy. Anybody so relentlessly patient and kind would be destroyed in the real world. Or would they? Either way, I’ve resolved to try to be more Ted Lasso, and I’m a happier person for it. I instantly forgave the chap who nearly knocked me off my motorbike last week and I made friends with the woman in the park who was angry with me about my dog’s behaviour. And when the satirical news magazine Private Eye devoted half a page in its last edition denigrating me as the crappiest writer ever, I dug deep into my Lasso-ness and came up smiling. Perché, ho pensato, for years I’ve enjoyed reading Private Eye being rude about people; it would be hypocrisy to be upset when it’s my turn. I remember well how much my mum loved reading AA Gill week in, week out, until one Sunday he put the boot into her boy. At that point she said she loathed him and would never read his words again.
No, I am serene. I am Ted Lasso. My mum, tuttavia, very much is not. So if you happen to know the name and address of whoever wrote the Private Eye piece, she would like to pay them a visit.