[REVIEW] ‘TED LASSO’ or a Smile Means a Lot

During the peak of Christmas season watching, my friend Jen told me about a little show she loved called Ted Lasso. I’m normally not much of a TV person so I put it in the back of my mind and didn’t watch it until this last week. I needed a break from the heady nature of Sundance films, so I decided to give it a shot. Now after watching it, I can add my recommendation to the many, like my friend, who love this charming, sweet and funny show. Ted Lasso is a delight!

In some ways Ted Lasso reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite. Now if you are someone who hates Napoleon Dynamite: hear me out. It doesn’t have the dry humor of NP. The style of comedy is very different. However, they are both carried on the back of extremely likable lead characters who are a weird mixture of both confidence and naivete.

Jason Sudeikis plays Ted as a man who is clearly over his head coaching a sport he’s never played (He is hired as a football coach for British football, which is soccer) and yet he is absolutely convinced that optimism and team spirit will make the team great and win matches. And you know what? He might be right.

After all, these professional players know the game. They’ve been playing it their whole lives. What they need is someone who is going to believe in them and keep them practicing each day. In that regard, Ted Lasso is an ideal candidate for the job!

Sudeikis is so great as Ted, and he brings a vulnerability to a role that might otherwise be a joke. I also loved the rest of the cast including all the players and Nick Mohammed playing the shy Nathan who works for the team and Ted calls ‘Nate the Great’.

Ted builds relationships with every single member of the team and crew and that makes it easy to root for him. We want someone to succeed who cares so much about others. It’s similar to watching Napoleon dance for his friend. We root for him because he is serving others with such delightful abandon.

I also really enjoyed Hannah Waddington as Ted’s tough but sweet boss. She knows hiring Ted is a joke. This is by design to hurt her ex-husband; however, his cheerful ways start to wear even her down. It also doesn’t hurt that Ted brings her delicious biscuits each week for Biscuits with the Boss (biscuits are shortbread in England).

I also really enjoyed Juno Temple as Keeley Jones a model and struggling actress dating the star player. I particularly liked her interactions with Rebecca as the 2 are very different types of women but they learn a lot from each other in the first season.

The most important part of Ted Lasso is its heart. I know I say things like that a lot but it’s true. This show is so good-natured it would be difficult to not love. I am sure there is someone out there who dislikes it but not this critic. I loved it!

Have you seen Ted Lasso? I would love to hear your thoughts. It’s also a quick binge. Only 9 quick 30 minute episodes. You can easily knock it out in one evening. I look forward to season 2!

9 out of 10

Smile Worthy

There is some language in the show and a little bit of sensuality.

Character Profile 3: Napoleon Dynamite

The poster really is right. He is out to prove he has nothing to prove. I’m so envious of that skill!

I wasn’t going to post a character profile today but I feel inspired to talk a little bit about the great Napoleon Dynamite.  I feel a special kinship to Napoleon because it was made by Utahns (and Mormons) and speaks to a culture I can relate to a little bit.  I guess you could consider it a one hit wonder of movies as none involved have been able to strike such a home run again but some one hit wonders are classics and so is Napoleon Dynamite.

If you don’t know Napoleon Dynamite is a movie about a boy in high school named Napoleon who is an unusual kind of misfit.  He is a terrific character because he doesn’t know he is a misfit and that makes him incredibly likable.  He’s happy with his life despite the fact that everything which happens in the movie is kind of sad.  In another writers hands it could have been a tragedy.

Think about it- his brother is a borderline creepster, his parents are MIA, his grandma is injured and his uncle is a mess.  He gets rejected by the girl he likes.  He only has 2 friends and everyone kind of makes fun of him. Then why is it such a cheerful picture?  Because Napoleon is a content character.  He gets pleasure from small things like drawing ligers, acquiring skills, helping his friend win an election, learning karate and eating tater tots.  One might say he has learned to be happy on very little.  Easy to please.

napoleon and crowdAnd yet he is certainly not a cheerful or bubbly character.  Napoleon is very deadpan but this is where you get most of the laughs.  It is funny to have someone talking about tatertots or ligers in an intense/deadpan way.  It’s just a funny way of speaking.  He’s so easily pleased by simple things that as an audience we root for him to get those things.  The dialogue makes us laugh along the way (the plot isn’t particularly funny.  It is the script that makes us laugh and root for him).

Here’s a great example.  Whether it’s reciting current events, advocating for our underwater allies, signing with the happy hands club or eating tots, Napoleon is happy with his life.

He doesn’t care that the jock is making fun of him.  He cares when he takes his tots and calls him an ‘idiot’ but as far as people and his self esteem he remains consistently strong. It makes him extremely likable and funny (oblivious and unaware people can be the most funny because we think about how we might feel in that situation and maybe are even a little envious of Napoleon).


The ultimate example of this deadpan freedom is in his dance.  He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.  He only cares about his friend and what he thinks is cool.  Wouldn’t life be great if we were all a little more like that? If we didn’t need the praise of the world to be happy but could be satisfied by such simple things?

So I think we could all learn a little bit from Napoleon.  Enjoy the life we’ve got and be a little bit less worried what others think about our choices.  Have a good laugh and watch Napoleon Dynamite again.  It’s certainly one of my favorite characters in the movies. Vote for Pedro! 🙂