Have you watched Ted Lasso yet?
In recent memory, I’ve consumed some brilliantly written (and executed) TV series, and as usual, I kept wondering how did the writer/s conceptualize this scene and that moment and kickass dialogues. Or did they just happen by freak coincidence?
Don’t think so.
For examples, there were several moments in The Bear (2022-) that made me want to run out of their kitchen and look up at the sky to gasp hard. How do you create those sentiments at the audience’s end via words? Somebody has to sit down and think of the intensity that is needed to translate onto the screen. When you read the script of the very last scene of Succession (2018-23)—ably executed by a seemingly lost Jeremy Strong with sun dawning on his brow—you realize how beautiful thoughts give birth to splendid onscreen moments.
Similarly, there are many instances in Kohrra (2023) and Dahaad (2023) which makes you lean into your laptop. Such reactions are a result of excellent writing, more than anything else, including the performances. The point being, everything, here, begins with words.
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Now that this post has given the writers their due credit, let me move onto my recent favourite series: Ted Lasso (2020-23). My friend Arun recommended this marvelous piece of entertainment and I finished the three seasons within three nights. Quite addictive, I must add.
First thing first, Apple TV struck gold with this show. It holds the record for most Emmy nods (20) for debut season. Can’t think of a bigger pivot: Ted Lasso is basically an extension of an ad campaign from the past. But, what works for this comedy-drama is the moral grip of the protagonist: an unlikely American football manager who struggles to gauge the difference between soccer and the real thing. Moreover, here is a man who would do no wrong to anyone (deliberately) and even if he does misspeak an unkind sentence, he’d be the first to apologize the following morning.
That’s Ted Lasso for you.
His zen approach to life—to rise above the limited highs and lows of success and defeat with relatable anecdotes and lame attempts at puns—is brutally refreshing. It’s not that he doesn’t care about victory; just that he doesn’t want his to miss out on life. Football is life as long as you’ve got a life, capiche?
I can go on and on about Ted Lasso’s character but that would be reductive and is bound to throw spoilers. So, let’s shift attention to other characters in there. In a nutshell, it’s near-perfect casting. The British accent helps, too. As the episodes progress, you see how tightly guarded each characters were, and their anxieties peel off as we move ahead. It’s nice to see a show that is about people: from the misguided football club owner to a naive kitman.
In the end, it’s concluded that we are all humans, with flaws and worries, looking for a chance to redeem ourselves. And in the middle, there is a Kansas rock named Ted Lasso staying strong, or at least trying, to breathe common sense into others, without having to treat them like a nail. He has his unresolved issues too. It’s amazing; the whole arc of emotions: men opening up to each other, women building bond that might last a lifetime, closeted individuals finding the room to embrace their identities, humility giving way to pride and vice versa, rising voice against bigotry, and so on and so forth.
Like I said, amazingly done. The third season is a bit hurried though.
Of course, most probably, you must have watched this entertaining-cum-enlightening show by now. In all probability, I am the latecomer here, but if you haven’t, do yourself a favour. As for me, I wrote this post because I simply want to throw some spotlight on the quiet uncelebrated folks in the writing room. This is for them. Cheers.