This Month’s Featured Article

Love, laughter, and the Lasso effect

By Published On: April 5th, 2023

There can be something mildly satisfying about standing in the check-out line at your go-to grocery store, waiting for Jill, or whoever your favorite checker might be. We can recognize that “self check” might save time and certainly save the grocery management salaries, but waiting (im)patiently in line allows us to listen in on a variety of casual conversations.

There are the predictable musings from a nearby couple about whether all the groceries on the list have been collected. There may be the fragment of discourse about an up-coming soccer game, dance recital, or science project or a lament about too much time on social media for the usually quite bored teenager.

But, every once in a while, before the cold cuts and frozen peas are loaded on the moving belt, one can catch a recommendation for an experience not to be missed – a mandatory bout of at-home viewing, a mention of a series currently streaming that is so magnetic that it deserves sharing.

Uniters, not dividers

And, so it was, that taking an informal poll over the last three grocery visits, we tabulated resounding praise for the third season of Ted Lasso. The name spoken reverentially, like that of a local hero, it was often prefaced by “have you seen the latest …?” An experience to be shared. Common ground for conversation. The rare ability to find a subject that could unite, not divide.

The third season of the comedy is currently streaming on Apple TV+ which, if not available on your home set, may be well worth considering as an addition to your entertainment line-up. No, this is not a promotional message for the streaming service, merely a friendly suggestion. Rather like a smile-bracketed comment made in a grocery store check-out line.

For those not familiar with the series, Ted Lasso is an 11-time Emmy winner that tells the story of an American football coach who is transported to England and engaged to coach a struggling professional soccer team. Viewers discover, early on, that he’s been recruited to make sure the team loses. Rebecca, the current owner, who obtained the team through an acrimonious divorce, wants to spite her philandering ex-husband by destroying the one thing he loved most. For her, AFC Richmond should be humiliated, and Ted Lasso is just the person to handle that chore.

Love. Belief. Hope. 

The first season of the show shared the challenges, pitfalls, and foibles of Ted bringing his genial, comedic presence to an environment where laughter and mutual respect were quite foreign. Wins, losses, egos, anxieties … the setting may be London and the through line the ups and downs of AFC Richmond and the assortment of characters surrounding the team, but the emergent theme that is reinforced again and again is hope. Ted’s homespun humor, his relentless optimism, and his undying respect for everyone he meets becomes infectious. He sticks a handmade “Believe” sign up in the locker room because he does – and he wants the members of the team to do the same.

There are love stories in the traditional sense, but there are also love stories in the sense of people honestly caring for each other, recognizing their own weaknesses, and reveling in the strength and ambition of others.

After the first season of Ted Lasso Variety writer Caroline Framke offered up a description that is truly apropos. “There’s something undeniably satisfying about spending time with good people who are just trying to be the best they can, on and off the field.”

Is it always right to be right?

We may have to slip into the imaginary world of a struggling London soccer team to be reassured that silly notions like hope and love and laughter can actually make a difference in life. There’s a consistent moral to the Ted Lasso story, and if we allow ourselves to be open enough to not only get the message, but also see if it fits, then … well, we’ll leave the rest of the formula up to each of us.

During the most recent airing of the Academy Awards, the “Oscars,” the traditional “In Memoriam” segment featured the faces and contributions of those from the film community who had died in 2022. Those who watched saw the predictable mix of famous names and more obscure individuals – actors and directors who were well known and producers, writers, editors, technicians who had been important parts of the entertainment world but were not well known to the broader public.

Well into the montage of photos appeared the picture of a dear friend who left us this past October. Nick Bosustow, whose father had created Mister Magoo. was a producer of animated films, who had won an Oscar for his film presentation of Dr. Seuss’ Gerald McBoing-Boing.

In the photo the Academy chose to remember Nick, he is holding his own “Oscar” won for a short film, the title of which ties this rambling discourse together. The title of the film? Is It Always Right to be Right?

Interesting question, and one that finds a series of intriguing answers in the jubilant segments of three seasons of Ted Lasso. There is abundant laughter. There are glowing moments of conflict and resolution. There are tears, of course, but in summary, the investment of leisure hours being immersed in the Lasso effect might help us all answer the question of whether being right is always right. Sometimes it may just as important to live, laugh … and love. •