Merridith Frediani shares her take on a show that's being praised for bringing kindness back.
Growing closer to Jesus means seeing with new eyes the brokenness not just in myself but in the world. I’ve learned that it’s important to be aware of what I let into my life and heart. I’m more selective with what I read, watch, and listen to because these things have an effect on us. Casting aside certain books or songs has not been a hardship, but I struggle with television shows that portray immorality or meanness while also depicting decent people trying to get by and frankly, making me laugh while they do it.
While attending a Theology of the Body conference this summer I learned that it’s ok to enjoy secular TV shows and not feel guilty. The presenter, Christopher West, is a consumer of secular media who finds the good while discarding the bad. He taught that secular entertainment doesn’t have to be avoided, rather consumed with a critical eye toward the bad while enjoying the good. Enter Ted Lasso.
As a show, Ted Lasso leaves much to be desired in terms of morality and language. Even though the f-word sounds less offensive in a British accent, it’s still the f-word and hearing it too much makes us immune to it. There’s a decent amount of sex and alcohol but when you peel these away, underneath the smut is a lovely layer of lessons from Lasso.
The show is being lauded for bringing kindness back and I’m delighted to see a main character who is kind, thoughtful, and not weird. These traits are eroded these days but Ted Lasso has embraced them. While we don’t know the source of Ted’s optimism and desire to affirm others, I suspect the BELIEVE sign hung above his office door is a clue. People like him are often deeply rooted in their relationship with Jesus. Ted lets others know he cares through word and action. He routinely tells people he appreciates them, and he brings his boss homemade biscuits because he knows she adores them. His cheerfulness is contagious.
I choose to believe that Ted believes in God and the goodness of people.
Lesson from Lasso #1: let people know you care. No one wants to be friends with an Eeyore, after all.
Ted’s bestie is Coach Beard, a man of few words whose loyalty compelled him to move to England with Ted. But also of note is the friendship of Keeley, a 20 something, and Rebecca, a 40 something. Their relationship is improbable. They have little in common. But it’s believable and hopeful and a reminder that we don’t need to be friends only with people close to our age or in a similar stage of life. Friendship bridges gaps. My son once asked why I hang out with people who are much younger than I. The answer - because they are faithful Catholics who are striving for holiness in a beautiful way. They inspire me. They prioritize God and as a result prioritize the people in their lives. I’ve never felt as loved, known, and comfortable as I do with my young adult friends. They don’t care about our age difference and neither do I.
Lesson from Lasso #2: be friends with the people who bring out the best in you, inspire you to be better, and love you as you are. There is no age in heaven, after all.
Underneath Ted’s cheeriness though is a broken heart. His marriage has failed and he’s still mourning the loss of his father to suicide. We can’t escape loss in life. It leaves a hole and on some days it’s easy to slip into that hole and grouch around. Ted feels the feelings but he doesn’t let them take control. Instead of focusing on his own sorrow, he focuses on others, unlike Nate who is so fixated on his own sense of inadequacy that he turns on others, or Jamie who is trying so hard to get his father’s approval that he forgets he’s part of a team.
Ted turns his gaze outward where he can do some good instead of an inward place of rumination and anger.
Lesson from Lasso #3: hardship doesn’t define or own us. Turn your gaze on what you can do to help someone else. Let those around you love you. Rely on the Lord. Jesus is always waiting to help us. Admitting we need him will make us stronger.
Click to tweet:
There’s a lot of garbage on television and in books and it gets tiring sifting through it, but just often enough, a gem pops up and we see goodness. #catholicmom
There’s a lot of garbage on television and in books and it gets tiring sifting through it, but just often enough, a gem pops up and we see goodness. I don’t recommend watching Ted Lasso with anyone under the age of 17, but I do recommend watching it. Discard the sexual immorality and atrocious language, and look beneath to the people in the story and how they navigate life together. There is no explicit mention of God but they do BELIEVE and that’s what makes the difference.
Copyright 2021 Merridith Frediani
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. Merridith writes for Catholic Mom, Diocesan.com, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book, Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration, is available at Our Sunday Visitor and Amazon. You can read more at MerridithFrediani.com.