Professor Ted Lasso’s Little School

It pains me to complain about Ted Lasso, even more supposedly in the farewell. As far as we know, there are three episodes left before we say goodbye to the series and once again I was frustrated. From intelligent, subtle and tied, and exciting, the series became hokey, didactic, and patronizing. Characters transformed 100%, and others didn’t move. There are people who come and go, without adding anything (that’s right, Jack and Zava!) and the #tedbecca or #keeleyroy trolling at this point is already boring. The series will not come out on top, in my opinion.

In an addendum to foreign readers, in Brazil, there is a comic show, A Escolinha do Professor Raimundo (Professor Raimundo’s Little School) in which critical themes are shown supposedly as jokes, but in fact, there are important analyses of politics and other social issues. Eventually, a serious message is given in the Professor’s teaching so hence the pun of the title and somewhat, this whole post as well.

The vertiginous fall of the text impacts moments that would be emotional like Colin confiding with his friends from AFC Richmond. I know the words placed in the episode were beautiful and important, but again, they interrupted the narrative. By the way, this seems to be the big problem of the second half of the third season: Ted Lasso‘s commitment to “teach” people how to act, think and live, in a drastic change in how to convey the message. Until now, important points of mental health, empathy, and commitment, to name just a few addressed, were narrated lightly, yet precisely. It’s no longer the case. More often than not, suddenly it feels like the screenwriters found themselves obliged to speak as we are always dealing with beginners, and forgot how they were building the characters to get there.

I’ve been complaining about it since the beginning of the third season. For example, when they used the ‘team’ as comic relief in a block, where everyone is always together, and the captain dictates what to eat, drink or do in their free time. How on earth do all the players accept it? No individuality? So much missed opportunity there! They have rehearsed dialogues absolutely without any reference to the universe of the series: the sexist, oppressive world of football.

Even I, who do not play football, was mad at the episode that showed Ted Lasso ‘discovering’ Cruyff’s technique. It is very Ted Lasso, to be that slow, but also offensive enough that after two years he doesn’t know the game or cares about winning. One of the main things that rightfully drove Nate away. It goes on.

By lecturing supposedly professional players who were seeming to hear everything for the first time, IS offensive to audiences around the world, as this is simply treating fans as clueless as Ted is. Every child knows about ‘total football’, even those who don’t even play football. These are details that disconnect us from what the series had been dribbling with praise until then.

Ted Lasso is now patronizing and, with frightening frequency, irritating. The last two episodes feel like HR training. I’ve been speaking out about the changes in Rebecca and Keeley’s stories, which lost connection with important female messages to return instead to the old stereotype of neurotic women looking for love. And La Locker Room Aux Folles was made to address homophobia in football, but for me, it missed the penalty spot. Let’s recap each step.

First, Keeley, who puts the ball in play before the others. The screenwriters quickly position us that her romance with Jack is really ‘finished’. Keeley, who gave a show of how to act with two classic machos – Jamie and Roy – makes ALL the “mistakes” of a person in a broken relationship, dragging after her girlfriend until she is justifiably ghosted. No one is regretting Jack’s departure, not least because the series included her out of nowhere, exposing Keeley as a ‘serial dater’, a person who only relates to people in her work environment and, in particular, with a power relationship over her.

Jack, who although clearly invasive and bordering on a stalker, was presented as a cool, upbeat, interesting woman, then went from that to a retrograde, prejudiced, misogynistic, and irresponsible person when Keeley’s past gets in the way. She judges and walks out, not before putting our PR on a tightrope in front of her team, as she dated her boss and got dumped when an old intimate video was hacked and posted on social media. If Barbara is still working with Keeley after all this I will have to revise my point of view about her because if it were consistent, Keeley would be doing very badly professionally thanks to Jack.

No more Keeley from there on. Rebecca, who signed a star player (Zava) and lost him as if nothing had happened the very least financially, has finally gone back to being “Rebecca the Boss” to frame Roy. It lasted too few seconds, though. The fact that he disobeyed her and didn’t even care when she got mad about it shows how she lost control of the business. She’s lucky to be in Ted Lasso, where coherence doesn’t apply. Going through Roy’s narrative, which needs to change, she accepts his apology and he makes an effort to do what he has to do in his job. Happy episode for them.

This brings me back to Sam’s Twitter fight with a conservative politician who never makes it onto her desk or Keeley’s agenda, and that worries me about the professional skill of both Keeley and Rebecca, not to mention the lack of empathy that made neither – or Ted, Beard or Roy – look for the player to support him. I don’t understand how Sam is still at AFC Richmond! He had his restaurant destroyed and NONE of his leaders stood by him.

Before moving on to what matters, another aside to talk about Jamie. He was brainwashed and should even take on another name. Today he is sweet, he is mature, he is a companion, he is cultured and he is talented. At least he remained vain! The Jamie who got kicked out of a reality show for being a terrible person is unrecognizable. Ted Lasso Way works!

How to skip Nate? After showing the painful path of mistakes that a good but susceptible man can go through, the series is now ‘recovering’ the ‘old Nate’ in an exaggerated hurry. Yes, it’s smart now to show him still being sweet inside, but his tough-guy facade is rapidly falling, and why? Because he’s in love.

He still tries to be Ted, failing, but he doesn’t have the same frustration about it anymore. It would be interesting, yes, to show this change, but having the love of his life precisely in the racist waitress is kind of strange. We already understand that Nate will be disappointed in Rupert when the boss tries to steal Jade from him. Bravo for Nate having given the limit to despise a night with Rupert, but the Nate we know would never have the courage to do that. If we were in another series, Jade would take down Nate by staying with Rupert, but I believe she will lecture the most simplistic villain of all series and Nate will happily return to AFC Richmond. Even after everything he’s done to the former friends. Boring, Ted Lasso!

And we come to Colin, the star of the episode and the season. By sharing the secret of the player, who is homosexual and does not open the game to anyone, Ted Lasso flirted with one of the biggest sporting taboos, and even more so in football. It is, therefore, an important and delicate narrative, with refined words and feelings. Early in the season, we see Colin excited about his boyfriend, but they maintain the facade of good friends (later, in the episode in Amsterdam, we find out that Colin was dumped for his lack of transparency). Colin is right to keep it all to himself, he doesn’t have the ‘obligation’ to ‘explain’ or ‘reveal’ his life to anyone, not even or much less to the team. Straight people think they are right to demand explanations and this insensitivity is perpetuated in many situations, shown in particular, with Isaac.

We see that after discovering Colin’s ‘secret’, the captain does not interact with him, loses focus on the game, and is expelled from the field for attacking an idiot in the crowd who uses the pejorative term of ‘threatened males’. It’s unclear whether it’s Colin’s defense or personal offense that propels him to lose his cool, perhaps both. As the story progresses and they makeup, Isaac still asks hurtful, stereotyped questions from a macho preoccupied with being in intimate settings with his homosexual friend (shower, locker room), and remains insensitive when he blames Colin for not telling him sooner. That’s why the locker room scene, in which Colin is forced to open up to his colleagues, is relevant.

Apparently, none of the players reacted badly, as they repeated the hipster mantra “I don’t care what you are, I like you just the same”, which leads to the speech moment getting in the way of the message. Ted goes on about how that thinking is a trap: caring about people and what they are is not synonymous with ‘not caring what or who they are’. You have to care. Beautiful is not it? But it was so chewed up, with music cues in the background that it ruined the moment for me. Colin deserved better than that. And the Ted Lasso who won us over knew how to deliver better than that. It was didactic in exaggeration, it was simply a bad script. Just like the lap class dealing with nudes or intimate messages from the last episode.

The pressure of being positive, of being a vehicle for sensitive messages cannot weigh on Ted Lasso‘s strategy, which is one step away from becoming A Escolinha do Professor Raimundo. Unfortunately, by now I’m rooting for the end of the game. Shall we go to the second half?


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