Lockdown, life, and Ted Lasso

Justine Toh writes about why we need Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso in lockdown - and why we might need God as well.

If Ted Lasso didn’t exist, it would have been necessary to invent him.

Sure, the French philosopher Voltaire originally said as much of God. And no, that doesn’t mean that the moustachioed, aviators-wearing football coach of Apple TV+’s feel-good sports comedy is God. Or that God and Ted are both works of fiction.

It just means we’re in dire need of both right now.

For millions in lockdown in 2020, Ted Lasso was the perfect pick-me-up: cheerful comfort viewing offering welcome relief from our grim pandemic reality. Now, as the highly contagious Delta strain locks down over 13 million Australians in the midst of winter, the show’s second season makes its debut. Today.

His mercies, as some might say, are new every morning. God’s, that is.

The stress of uncertainty makes it easier to retreat inward. To look after our own team, so to speak. But Ted Lasso is about the possibility of kindness in broken people, even if they happen to be on the brink of personal and professional disaster.

The show reminds us to lift our gaze beyond the immediate demands of the moment and to have a heart that swells for others.

It also reminds us you can’t force the magic to happen.

In a chat with Brené Brown, show creators Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt (who play Ted Lasso and Coach Beard) discuss creativity. Sudeikis quoted Quincy Jones’ approach as inspiration: get the work almost right, then “leave space for God to walk through the room”. You do your bit and trust that the overflow is someone else’s responsibility.

As with lockdown, as with life. We need a big enough perspective to allow a little help from outside.