“Ted Lasso,” which premiered in August 2020, earned 20 Emmy nominations after its debut season on Apple TV + and won seven, including Outstanding Comedy Series. The innocent and charismatic American football coach played by Jason Sudeikis captured the hearts of millions of viewers as he stumbled across England and coached an English Premier League side, AFC Richmond, armed only with his whistle and its motto: “Believe”. Starring adorable characters such as bad boy football star Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), internet influencer Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) and kit-man Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed), the show had all the keys to it. ‘a fun sitcom, with strong recurring jokes and opportunities to laugh at good old Ted Lasso and his antics.
However, the writers took the show in a different direction in season two.
With the introduction of sports psychologist Dr Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) in the season premiere, the plot shifted from a dumb American overseas to the intricacies of mental health and the desire to belong. in today’s fragmented world. Originally brought in to help player Danny Rojas (Cristo Fernández) recover from the trauma of accidentally killing a dog with a penalty, Dr Sharon has played an increasingly important role in each episode. Following his traumatic divorce, Lasso’s distrust of therapists causes tension with Dr. Sharon and the players who benefit from his help. These tensions reach a climax in the eighth episode in which Dr Sharon’s bicycle accident and a physical altercation between Jamie Tartt and his abusive father prompts Lasso to reveal a traumatic event from childhood.
While his crumbling marriage and isolation in London developed the character of Lasso in the first season, this climax reveals a new Ted, completely unrecognizable from the goofy Kansan of the first season. While the old Ted is compelling for a comedy series, the new Ted brings a beautifully human truth to the table: [pain][CAPS] can hide in a seemingly endless joy. Many times one finds the desire to bring joy to others precisely within that pain.
Additionally, Dr. Sharon’s development as a psychiatrist in the face of his own mental struggles creates a level of nuance not often found in therapist roles on television. She’s neither the Omniscient Doctor nor a character introduced just to guide Ted in the right direction, but her ever-evolving symbiotic relationship with the Ted shows that coaches and psychiatrists face the same issues as everyone else.
And what better place to tackle the complex theme of mental health issues than a transatlantic football comedy? Seriously, it works.
Movies and television often approach mental health in a variety of ways, from teenage addiction in “Euphoria” to sardonic nihilism in “BoJack Horseman,” but we rarely see athletes at the forefront of our discussions of mental health. Don’t athletes wrestle in silence like the rest of us? Representation in all sectors of our world is essential to create a society in which people are not afraid to discuss the issues they face. If anything, sport is a domain [in which][WHERE] mental health must be a priority. Competitive attitudes, rigorous training, and overall perceptions of masculinity can place unnecessary burdens on athletes, which they are not comfortable sharing with teammates or coaches. Recently, American superstar and Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic opened up about his mental health and revealed he had seen a psychiatrist in London to cope with the isolation of living alone in a foreign country. “I felt like if I had to talk about how weak I felt or something,” he told CBS Sports.
“Ted Lasso” tackles this stigma in its second season, while analyzing the complexities of family, friendships and football training in a new country. One cookie at a time, Ted continues to spread his revolution of benevolence and to show that indeed, “football is life”.
New episodes of “Tes Lasso” are released on Fridays on Apple TV +.