By Kimberly Witt
June 1, 2023
In August 2020, when we had all settled into our mind-numbing, isolating COVID-19 routines, Ted Lasso arrived to rescue us from our virus-inspired doldrums. It started as a whisper that grew to a roar: “Have you been watching Ted Lasso?”
Eventually, our family couldn’t ignore the pressure from my siblings and our neighbors anymore, so the four of us took a break from our other pandemic sitcoms to give this new show a try. Before long, we all fell in love with the unconventional soccer coach and the Richmond AFC Greyhounds.
Ted Lasso became a common language. I texted my brother with Roy Kent memes after his long shift at the county hospital. When my teens were suffering through days of virtual learning, I popped in with cheesy Ted quotes to keep them going.
Now, when I think of those first painful months of the pandemic, I think of sewing homemade masks, stockpiling toilet paper, and watching Ted Lasso. Only one of those three activities gave me hope.
Currently in its third and final season, we’ve continued to watch Ted Lasso for several reasons.
*Disclaimer: My sons are older, and they can handle swears and some sexual content. They’ve even (gasp!) heard some of those words from my mouth. However, you know your teens, so enter at your own risk and read other parent reviews to decide if the show is right for your family.
Ted Lasso Features Sports — Need I Say More?
In our household, TV watching centers around worldwide sports calendars. From the World Cup to the Super Bowl to March Madness, if there’s a competition on, we’ll tune in with our teen sons. So, no surprise here, Ted Lasso’s soccer storyline was what initially drew us in.
From the jokes about Ted’s lack of soccer knowledge to practice and match montages, every episode of Ted Lasso connects back to one of our favorite sports. And while Richmond FC might be a fictional team, it’s still entertaining to get a behind-the-scenes look at what might go on in a Premier League football club.
Ted Lasso Shows Men Being Sensitive and Dealing With Real Issues
Given that we are a sports household and even more so because I am the only woman in our house — even the dog is a boy — I’m especially grateful that Ted Lasso shows men, especially athletes full of machismo, talking about their emotions in healthy, productive ways.
Through Ted’s friendship with Coach Beard and vulnerable conversations between players in and out of the locker room, we see men of various ages and races talking about their emotions. The characters aren’t perfect at this. Instead, we get a realistic depiction of guys struggling through hard things. Their growth — like everyone’s — isn’t linear. We get to see their ups and downs as they learn from their mistakes.
Jamie Tartt, for example, starts season 1 as the epitome of a self-absorbed alpha male. As the seasons progress, though, we witness welcome changes in Jamie as he discovers his softer side. We also watch the evolution of the Diamond Dogs, a group of men who gather together to discuss various kinds of relationship woes, or “a group of people who care … not unlike folks at a hip-hop concert whose hands are not in the air,” as Ted describes. We even get to see stoic Roy Kent participating in Diamond Dogs meetings as the seasons progress, proving tough men have soft sides, too.
Ted Lasso Normalizes Therapy
Beyond talking about emotions, I’ve stressed the importance of therapy to my sons for years. It’s so helpful to see some of their favorite TV characters practicing what Mom has been preaching.
In season 2 of Ted Lasso, Dr. Sharon, a sports therapist, becomes a show regular. We get to see glimpses of her sessions with coaching staff and various team members week after week.
And the show doesn’t simplify therapy, either. We hear athletes and coaches talking through a myriad of relatable issues and how Dr. Sharon helps them unpack their traumas and pain. In episode 7, titled “Headspace,” Dr. Sharon tells Ted, “Well, I can’t be your mentor without occasionally being your tormentor.” Ted replies, “Ooh, I like that.” Dr. Sharon answers, “I knew you would.”
Ted Lasso sets a great example by addressing mental health and normalizing therapy for men.
Ted Lasso Handles Heavy Topics With Appropriate Levity
The serious topics handled in this show are many — divorce, revenge, parental death, alcoholism, corporate corruption, sexual identity, mental health, and more. What I especially like is, those conversations on the show are handled in a way that’s similar to how we handle them in our family: with honesty and a side of humor.
Whether buffered by one of Ted’s famous silly quips, or insulated by a classic gruff comment from Roy Kent, the challenging content isn’t belabored. It’s presented in a palatable way that doesn’t annoy my teens. Put another way: Parents, this isn’t the cheesy Afterschool Special of our teen years (even though Ted’s character can be overly cheesy at times.)
Ted Lasso Fills Us With Hope
In a world where negative news headlines far outnumber the positive, watching Ted Lasso has been like taking comfort from a trusted and insightful friend. Even as each season of Ted Lasso grows progressively darker, the show does a great job at balancing the heavy moments with sweet moments of friendship, soccer montages, and a killer soundtrack. I especially appreciate that underneath it all, the heart of this show holds steady as it beats out a rhythm of hope.
This week we saw the series finale of Ted Lasso. I was, as predicted, a puddle of tears as I closed another chapter with my sons. My family will always be thankful for the enjoyment we’ve received from watching Ted Lasso. The show isn’t perfect, but the imperfection provided conversation topics, too. And as the parent of teens, I’m always thankful for something that gets us all chatting.
In this house, it will always be “Richmond ‘til we die!”