First of all, for those who don’t know, we highly recommend watching Ted Lasso on Apple’s TV+. A comedy, it succeeds on the most basic level: it’s quite funny.
But it’s more than just funny. It’s good on many levels, including just being about people being decent to people, something we could all use more of and which may, in fact, explain its considerable success.
The show is about an American football coach at Wichita State who spends one year there, leading the team to a national championship, before taking a job with the Richmond Greyhounds, a fictional British soccer team (obviously they call it football), despite not knowing anything about the sport.
The team’s owner has been through a bitter divorce and wants to spite her ex-husband by hiring a guy who, she assumes, will run his beloved team into the ground.
Needless to say, it backfires and Lasso wins everyone over, including the owner.
Well that’s where the show gets really interesting, especially, perhaps, for real sports coaches.
Lasso makes his team successful by getting everyone to buy in, and, as it turns out, real coaches, especially in basketball, are watching - and taking notes, including former Blue Devil Quin Snyder, now the head coach of the Utah Jazz, who really liked a quote about the happiest thing on earth being a goldfish because he has a 10-second memory.
A lot of the show, it turns out, is cribbed from basketball coaches, including John Wooden, and the dance that starts it off is a direct copy of a Roy Williams move when he was at Kansas (star Jason Sudiekis is from Kansas and a big Williams fan). There’s also a rant about practice which was copied,nearly word for word, from Alan Iverson’s famous dismissal of practice (a lot of people don’t realize that he was grieving over the loss of a life-long friend, which helps put that episode in a very different focus).
We got this far and realized that while we saw it on the phone without a problem, the article is actually behind a firewall. .
Even so, we’d like to recommend you read it though it might take a bit of effort if you don’t subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. And needless to say, we recommend the show. Season II starts on Friday.