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'Ted Lasso''s depiction of macho men enduring mental health crises is revolutionary

5 14 31
24.09.2021

(Warning: The following column contains some spoilers for the second season of "Ted Lasso.")

"Ted Lasso" — the multiple Emmy-winning Apple TV show and surprise hit of 2020 — is both loved and loathed for essentially the same reason: It's unapologetically earnest.

Lurking beneath its edifice of "niceness," however, is a show that delves deeply into the darkness of its male characters' respective mental health crises and it does so in a way that's positively transgressive.

It's hard to dramatize the ways anxiety and depression manifest themselves physically, but "Ted Lasso" does just that. It also shows how in a profession specifically driven by competition, career "success" isn't a panacea for what ails the soul.

Most crucially, for a show that so-often relies on glib self-help one-liners, it recognizes that there are no easy ways out of a mental health crisis. It takes work, and enduring a lot of failure, to get well.

The foundation of "Ted Lasso '' is built on the relentless optimism, kind-heartedness, and holy fool wisdom of its titular character — a Midwestern American football coach hired to lead a top-flight English soccer club.

The show's "work hard and be kind" ethos and rat-a-tat joke delivery made it the perfect salve for pandemic-weary viewers looking for relief from the daily horrors of COVID, as well as the myriad political upheavals wrought by Donald Trump and the 2020 election. This led to critical praise and a slew of awards for the first season.

The show's unexpectedly huge popularity also invited an inevitable backlash. Some critics accused the show........

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