Ted Lasso: here to save the day
My parents asked me to watch Ted Lasso with them approximately 100 times before I said yes. I knew that people were raving about it, and the plot sounded decent, but I was utterly convinced that I did not want to watch a new TV show - I’d be fine continuing to watch Friends for the tenth time.
I used to love watching and obsessing over new shows. But, by the time quarantine started to wind down, I hated watching TV of any kind. Seeing as there was nothing else to do for that bleak year, I had been tearing through movies and shows. I just couldn’t do it anymore - my attention span had literally become too short for me to watch anything that required effort. But most of all, I was trying to avoid watching anything that was even slightly emotional. Covid was depressing - I didn’t want to feel more upset after watching a particularly thought-provoking show. I only wanted to watch things that made me laugh.
I also know that I wasn’t the only one feeling like this - many of my friends and family had the same desire to watch mindless TV, or at least something that would bring joy into their lives.
So, when the Academy Award nominees came out, it was especially odd to me that all of the nominated films featured completely depressing plots. From Minari to Sound of Metal, they highlighted depressing stories, ranging from intense divorce to an individual’s loss of hearing. Could directors really not give us one year of guilty pleasure rom coms?
Eventually, my parents convinced me to sit down and watch one episode of Ted Lasso. No surprise, it only took 30 minutes for me to get completely hooked. Why? Because Ted Lasso is a streak of pure joy. And I’m convinced that’s the reason for the show’s seemingly overnight success. Because finally, someone has released something that doesn’t make you question your entire existence or feel like a horrible person. Instead, it celebrates family, encourages laughter, and has a cast of people with British accents - what else could you want?
When I realized that Ted Lasso was the only remotely joyous thing I had seen on TV recently, I began to wonder how film ended up in such a dark place. Why are directors so determined to share heart-wrenching stories?
The probable theory is that “art mirrors life.” We tend to channel our everyday emotions into our creative projects. So, considering that Covid was a pretty obscure, stressful time for most of us, artists based their work on their darker thoughts. Obviously, this can be therapeutic and healing, but sometimes it feels like people create a depressing film just because they think it is the only way it will be critically acclaimed. And that is where I find major fault in the film industry right now.
Society seems to have gradually adopted the view that film can only be taken seriously if it fills us with self-disgust or makes us leave the movie theater sobbing. There are plenty of joyous, light-hearted movies from the past that have been praised and recognized across the world. Think: Forrest Gump, The Sound of Music, and Shakespeare in Love. So, why have we convinced ourselves that joy in film is no longer allowed? Film can and should be reflective, but most of all, directors should aim to make something unique. And if everyone prioritizes the same goal of creating a depressing story, how unique will their films really be?
I strongly believe we should stop punishing ourselves by allowing only the darker things in life to reincarnate on our screens. We’re allowed to remind ourselves what it means to be happy. We’re allowed to forget about upsetting events. Let’s listen to Ted Lasso’s advice: “You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? It’s got a ten-second memory. Be a goldfish.”
If you’ve seen Ted Lasso, take this as your sign to keep watching and enjoy every second of the frivolous humor. Keep finding more TV shows that make you feel the same way. And if you haven’t seen Ted Lasso, this is your sign to watch it. Because I think everyone needs more characters like Danny Rojas on their screen. So shout out to you, Jason Sudeikas.