Liberal Arts Blog — “Ted Lasso,” “Pollyanna,” and the “New Sincerity”

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Today’s Topic: “Ted Lasso,” “Pollyanna,” and the “New Sincerity”

At first, I hated it. I could not understand how my son could possibly have recommended it to me as something I might like. Then I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker. It took three episodes, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Then It dawned on me. “Ted Lasso” is a Christ figure. He is “Pollyanna,” and “Mary Poppins.” This time dressed up as a clueless, mustachioed American coaching a failing British Premier League soccer team with the help of a taciturn, bearded sidekick. And an absolutely amazing supporting cast. Today, a few stills and a few notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

1. “A fish-out-of-water sports comedy on Apple TV + takes folksiness to a new level of sophistication.” (NYT, first link)

2. “In its relentless positivity and commitment to making its audience comfortable while maintaining a sheen of pop-cult knowingness, “Ted Lasso” is the dad pants of sitcoms. It contains some of the foul language and snickering sexual humor that streaming allows, but they’re an excuse for Sudeikis to goggle his eyes and purse his lips in a way that says Lasso is wholesome enough to notice but cool enough not to make a thing out of it.” (ditto)

3. “It’s the kind of show we need right now” became a defining theme in the emergence of “Ted Lasso” as one of TV’s surprise hits of 2020.” (NYT, second link)

NB: “The series’s 20 total nominations broke the record for the most-nominated freshman comedy in Emmys history, topping the 19 nods garnered by the first season of “Glee” in 2010. Among the accolades — the most for any comedy this year — were nominations for best comedy, best lead actor in a comedy (Sudeikis), and several for the show’s supporting cast.”

FABULOUS SUPPORTING CAST — Nick Mohammed, Sarah Niles, Jeremy Swift (below)

1. Why the success?

2. “Certainly people were probably tired of people using their pulpits for toxicity and negativity….” (Brendan Hunt, who plays Lasso’s side kick)

3. “And maybe people didn’t mind being reminded that we can also be good to each other — and have fun doing it.” (Hunt)


1.”The show Ted Lasso is a far cry from the kinds of TV shows that used to dominate the airwaves. Over the past two decades, there’s been a shift away from the irony that defined TV comedies like The Office, Curb your Enthusiasm, and Arrested Development to the sincerity central to the Ted Lasso’s of the world.” (James Poniewozik, NYT)

2. Another example: “Modern Love” an Amazon series based on the New York Times series of the same name.

3. One Catholic theologian has written about the “anonymous Christianity” of “Ted Lasso.” Another Christian commentator: “Slow to anger and rich in live, the out-of-place hero of the Apple TV series captures the curious kindness of Chirst.” (see fourth and fifth links)

NB: Hannah Waddingham (above, no clicker) stars as Rebecca, the owner of the soccer club. who “initially wants to ruin the team as it was the only thing her ex-husband loved, but slowly comes around due to Ted’s coaching.” Juno Temple (with clicker) stars as Keeley Jones, a model, girl friend of two of the soccer players in succession, and pal of Rebecca. Both Waddingham and Temple received Emmy nominations.

How TV Went From David Brent to Ted Lasso

How Jesus is like, but better than Ted Lasso — Like but better

Ted Lasso

Jason Sudeikis

Sarah Niles

Jeremy Swift

Hannah Waddingham

Juno Temple



PDF with headlines — Google Drive


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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.