WHY TED LASSO?

Changing American Tastes in TV

When I first heard the name Ted Lasso, I thought he might be a Lash LaRue character from a 1950s cowboy movie. Then I found out this modern-day character is played by Jason Sudeikis and my interest was piqued. I wanted to give the show a try but was disappointed to learn it was on Apple TV+, one of the few video platforms we didn’t have.

While out West for a wedding this summer, my significant other spent some time with her old friend who had Apple TV+ and she watched the first eight Ted Lasso episodes. She got hooked and she bought the Apple gizmo when we got home so we could experience Ted Lasso.

I’ve always liked Jason’s approach to humor, so I expected quality comedy, but after watching the first season I realized a number of things were happening with Ted Lasso.

First, the premise isn’t new. It’s similar to the Charlie Sheen movie Major League, which was released in 1989 when Sheen was still funny. Both feature a woman who takes over a professional sports team, but the similarity ends there. The woman in the Sheen film wants to grow her franchise for profit while the Lasso woman wants her London soccer team to fail to anger her ex-husband. To that end she brings aboard Mr. Lasso, an American college football coach from Kansas City who knows nothing about soccer, a game known as football in the UK.

I had an epiphany watching Ted Lasso win seven Emmy Awards the other night. Americans are moving toward different kinds of entertainment and sources of distribution. Maybe it’s not such a remarkable observation. After all, technology has been driving the migration away from over-the-air television during the last ten years. But thinking about the many aspects of how Americans now consume entertainment made me realize just how profound the changes are.

Network TV is no longer satisfying people, especially those who can afford multiple platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Paramount+, Disney+, Peacock, Apple TV+, Sling, YouTube and, well, I could go on, but I’ve made my point. Smart TV’s have enabled the use of those applications at the touch of a button, but it’s not just technology that drives binge watching, it’s the content.

Ted Lasso came along at a fortunate time. We fell for this guy who’s been forced to be away from his family back in Kansas City, perhaps reminding us of FaceTime with our kids and family during Covid. In a sense, the soccer team members are Ted’s kids, and he is trying to give them fatherly advice, even when in the beginning of the series, they totally disrespect him. Lasso knows nothing about soccer but that doesn’t matter. He was brought in to destroy the franchise.

Ted Lasso is a story about redemption. The lead character’s analogies, metaphors and daily doses of shortbread biscuits brought to his boss are totally misunderstood by the locals, but he slowly grows on them. The success of the show has also spawned social media and exploitation experts to give us things like this.

It’s not a sports story as much as it’s a “dramedy” filled with tons of pop cultural references that are easy to miss if you aren’t watching closely. Corny pun driven quips flash by to keep the pace fast and crisp. Clever writing like, “This place reminds me of that movie Once. I liked it so much I watched it twice!” will make you laugh.

The show was developed by Sudeikis, Brandon Hunt, Joe Kelly and Bill Lawrence. The lead actors are totally involved in the writing, as was true with Jason’s roots in Second City and SNL. Unlike most shows, the characters’ lines are not created by a committee of writers and the language is not shaped or censored by attorneys and network suits. The writing technique gives characters their natural vulgarity and relatability. They also have kids using adult language that throws viewers off at times and, well, is funny.

There are some truly heart moving moments in the show. I find myself feeling for these people despite my natural blocking of predictive emotional heart plucking or equally obvious embedded lessons being dispersed. Why is this? Could it be, just damn good writing?

There is a certain vulnerability to Jason’s portrayal of Ted Lasso. The hyper-positive “Pollyanna” outlook of the man, which is magnified by his “cracker” over the top southern accent, keeps you wondering if Ted is the ultimate goldfish out of water or if he’s playing everyone for what they want him to be. As he slowly evolves from “wanker,” to “semi-respected wanker” and you root for him. In our age of cynicism and division, we can see the globalism of the team as well as the divide between the Americans and Brits, but mostly we go along for the ride. Lasso affects everyone, and even lacking success, he makes them feel good about themselves. Instead of a preacher, a politician or even a spouse, we all want to be around someone who rises above the shit of everyday life.

As I watched shows like The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit, Hacks and Mare of Easttown win most of the awards, the influence of British writers, actors and producers on American entertainment became obvious. Then it truly hit me. Oh my God there were no awards for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX or other US network shows. We shouldn’t judge an entire medium based on awards, but people were missing the point while yelling “Oscars and Emmys so white.” The audience was way ahead of the award shows.

Over-the-air networks still have millions of viewers, but they focus on competition shows like The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice along with one-season, second-class sitcoms. Perhaps this should come as no surprise. As viewers’ language and community standards change, network TV cannot “go there.” Sure, shows like Blackish are funny, but they fall short of the quality of humor that can be seen for a small monthly fee. We are changing and how we spend our entertainment time is also changing. The only network shows I regularly watch are the late-night talk shows, nightly news, and true crime shows like Dateline, 20/20 and 48 Hours. I’m sure there are many other just like me.

TV has always been used as an escape and the streaming platforms offer better escapes now. Just as Howard Stern left over-the-air radio to be able to say what he wanted on satellite radio, many talented people are now escaping to HBO, Apple, Hulu, Showtime, Amazon Prime and other streaming networks to share their uncensored and authentic stories. The success of Ted Lasso is the canary in the coal mine. The video streaming services have become the renewable entertainment sources of today and tomorrow.

BRAND NEW BOOK

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them. Kindle and Paperback Click Here

 

New Modern Art – Doodles and Cartoon Website

www.thedreamwindow.com

 

 

 


DEMOCRATIC SPEED DEBATING

Trump Out of Country, But Not Out of Mind

With too many people on the stage, the overloaded Democratic debate lineup clawed its way to providing attention rather than meaningful substance. With so many candidates, one debate had to be split over two nights, with some candidates having less than 1% in the polling feeling a need to ungraciously interrupt others just to get a shot at face time.

One of the hallmarks of our society today is instantaneous analysis by talking heads and pundits, which provides nothing other than regurgitation of each TV network’s programming position. President Trump has said “No Collusion” thousands of times, but our President colludes with Fox News. Some say that the Donald talks to Sean Hannity nightly. I guess they need to get their stories straight.

People from other countries, especially the UK, think our long and extended campaigns are wretched excess, and they are right. Anyone with common sense knows that the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizen’s United created a money pool so great we should all be ashamed. The money spent on candidate advertising could put thousands of kids through college. But with this new concept of so many people running for office, we have moved away from the political machine picking the candidates. One must admit that the political assumption of Hillary Clinton being singularly the best candidate in 2016 proved to be more disastrous than opening the stage to many distinct opinions.

Having many people running for the presidency offers a refreshingly vast diversity of ideas and solutions for America. I would like to get all the candidates in a huddle and say, “Hey, why don’t you all become the next president?” Their collection of progressive ideas could make America better. NBC News did a great feature called My Big Idea, where each candidate presented their one big idea and amplified the essence of its importance. Here is a list of some of the issues rising to the surface:

Andrew Yang: A $1,000 monthly check sent to every American over 18, so they can pay their bills when robots take over.

John Delaney: Wants to build a public and private international coalition against China’s intellectual property with a TPP-style trade deal. (like the one we walked away from)

Julian Castro: He is a strong advocate of free trade to strengthen protections for workers and the environment.

Kalama Harris: The LIFT Act, a working and middle-class tax cut akin to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Marianna Williamson: Wants to pay $10 billion in slavery reparations every year for 10 years to the African American community.

Corey Booker: Would like to introduce a “baby bond” program to give every child a US Treasury bond at birth, with a larger amount for poorer kids. He also proposes a $15 minimum wage.

Tulsi Gabbard: Cut taxes on small businesses and farmers, lower military spending by ending regime-changing wars and reducing the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Elizabeth Warren: Would like to see a “wealth tax” of 2% on net worth over $50 million and 3% over $1 billion designed to raise $2.75 trillion over a decade.

Amy Klobuchar: Would like to introduce new measures to make it easier for small and mid-sized US businesses to export goods worldwide.

Bernie Sanders: Make public colleges tuition-free, increase Social Security benefits, make corporate America more union-friendly and “Medicare for all.”

Jay Inslee: He positions himself as the only candidate totally focused on stopping climate change via 100% clean energy and net-zero greenhouse gas pollution.

John Hickenlooper: Cutting red tape to reduce the cost of doing business and increase compliance with regulations.

Beto O’Rourke: He is focused on reducing inequality, though stronger anti-trust regulations to break up monopolies and encouraging companies to invest profits in their employees and communities.

Kirsten Gillibrand: Require companies to adopt a universal paid parental leave policy.

Tim Ryan: Promotes electric vehicle manufacturing and other green industries, while being pro-business and pro-fracking (not a Democratic position), and cautions against Democrats moving too far to the left.

Eric Swalwell: Expanding access to college by providing interest-free federal loans, allowing employers to make tax-free contributions to pay off their employees’ student debt.

Pete Buttigieg: Increase public protections of jobs and benefits to help make the employment market more dynamic without the fear of personal debt tied to college loans and medical bills.

Seth Moulton: Backs the Green New Deal as a genesis of new “green jobs” in America.

Joe Biden: His Biden Institute is pushing tech education and increased bargaining power for American workers as a solution to the left-behind working and middle class.

Michael Bennet: Pushes Medicare X, which he calls a “true public option” for healthcare, that bridges the gap between Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan and private healthcare.

Steve Bullock: Reform campaign finance laws so that representatives don’t answer to donors, they answer to voters.

Bill de Blasio: Focuses on progressive ideas to close he wealth gap nationwide, including nationalizing his universal successful pre-Kindergarten program and increasing affordable housing.

Other topics Democrats have been presenting on the campaign trail are abolishing the electoral college, reparations, family care, wealth gap, criminal justice reform, free college, regulating big tech, gun control, reproductive rights, legalizing marijuana, and securing voting rights. If you are wondering where all the discussion about foreign policy and international challenges are, well, right now they aren’t part of the culling process. In the beginning of this, long and arduous process, we want to know how a candidate will handle America first.

Donald Trump doesn’t realize that his egomaniacal tweets aren’t going to cut through the freshness and excitement of progressive ideas presented during these debates. He shouldn’t be worried about 24 Democrats running for President. He should be worried about Robert Mueller testifying in public. The clock is ticking.

BRAND NEW BOOK ON AMERICA

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.