I took a little heat from a few friends during our Kansas City trip for why the hell I’m not doing breakdowns of Ted Lasso as I did for ER back in the day. Sadly those ER breakdowns were all in my pre-blog life, and lost forever when I left my former employer in 2004. I wonder if they’re still stored on some old backup in their servers somewhere…

I’ve never thought of going all-in on a show like that again. Not for Ed or Scrubs or The Office or Parks & Rec or The Americans or The Good Place, the shows I’ve been most obsessed with in their moment since my ER days. And since I both started Ted Lasso about a month after it debuted, and was never sure which of my friends were also watching it, I never considered it, either.

Cal me me peer-pressured, because here goes: my first Ted Lasso breakdown! I’ll admit I feel real pressure to live up to the legend of my ER breakdowns. And to try to remember how I structured them. So this may be a work in progress until I find my rhythm again.

Four storylines this week:
1 – Nate trying to build up some confidence
2A – Ted trying to instill confidence in Isaac
2B – And doing so by attempting to lure Roy into coaching
3 – Rebecca continuing her search for love

Let’s start with Nate. I have not loved Nate this year. That’s because he lost much of the cluelessness that made him so adorable last year. A few times that’s been replaced by shrillness. I enjoyed watching him learn how to translate his confidence from the coaching room to real life, so, at least in this situation, he wasn’t treated like a fucking doormat. I doubt whether that has any long-term consequences, though.

I was a little frustrated by how Ted’s part began. Reviewing tape of a loss in the locker room and he’s sharing his idea of Rom-communism, where everything will just work out in the end.

I know Ted is not your typical coach, but what kind of leader has that attitude? It’s one thing to accept bad results, bad luck, and even shit play by looking on the bright side and believing better days are ahead. But to just say it doesn’t matter because things will work out? I was not a fan in the macro sense.

Ahhh, but in the context of this episode, it ends up working quite nicely. All the little callbacks to classic ’90s rom-coms were very nice. It’s one of those things that could very easily go awry in the hands of weaker writers. But this crew always manages to pull it off. They won me over in the last ten minutes after a few rough moments early.

I very much enjoyed every moment of Roy’s screen time. Which is like the “Duh”-est thing I’ve ever written. Roy Kent is fucking gold. I’m a little sad that we won’t see him doing analysis in the studio anymore, because that stuff was legendary. But I also see how it likely wasn’t sustainable. He needed more to do than sit in a studio saying hilarious things. Adding him to the coaching staff both continues the surprising transformation of this character and opens up all kind of wonderful opportunities for plot developments.

One of the many things that is great about this show is how you see genuine moments of emotion from nearly every character. We saw it from Roy this week when it hit him in the studio how much he misses being part of a team. Those emotional moments are the realist thing on the show, and even more that the general sense of positivity, I think they are what make viewers build such a strong connection to the program.

As for Rebecca, I read a summary of the Christmas episode from a week ago that pointed out how Rebecca picking up Ted to share in her gift-giving trip was a wonderful moment because you could see the real affection they have for each other, but there was nothing sexual about it. I thought that was a nice observation. And I thought it was an interesting choice to avoid the Will They or Won’t They angle. A choice maybe only Ted Lasso would make.

Ahhhh, but this week, did you notice? Did you see that early in the show there was a transition from Ted on his phone to Rebecca on hers on her dating app? And later, it goes the opposite way, Rebecca messaging from her owner’s box jumping to Ted walking into the locker room, looking at his phone and smiling? Just a coincidence, right? Just a little moment to throw us off, right? Or were those clues about where we are headed?

Other assorted thoughts:
It wasn’t just this week, but there are a ton of 1990s pop culture references in the show. Obviously that’s because that’s when Jason Sudeikis/Ted Lasso grew up. But I sometimes wonder if soccer players from Europe and Africa who were born in the late ‘90s would really get Ted’s references.

Nice touch to begin an episode built upon The Rolling Stones’ “She’s A Rainbow” with Frankie Avalon’s “Swingin’ On A Rainbow.”

Hannah Waddingham is one of the most striking women I’ve seen in my life. It’s like she was cut out of marble in ancient Rome or Greece. Honestly, I have trouble focusing on what people are saying any time she is on screen.

As Keely and Rebecca were discussing Bantr in the hallway, Isaac snuck out with his free coffee maker, his arms wrapped around it in a big, sad hug. Just another sign that he needed some help.

The only KC reference I caught was Rockhurst University grad George Wendt’s picture on the wall at the kebob place.

Did you read how Roy signed his picture? “Yum. Roy Kent.” Love it.

I believe I wrapped up my ER breakdowns with some of my favorite lines of each week. There are soooo many great lines in Ted Lasso each week that I’m going to have to do some serious editing to keep from sharing too many. Here are this week’s top lines:

“No, I gave you an indoor whistle.”

Nate’s look of utter confusion was hilarious. And props to Ted for realizing a replacement was necessary.

“My mother says I was born caffeinated.”

Dani Rojas!

“Oh, you’d look well-fit with pigtails.“
“I do!”

I love Keely’s sexual admiration for Rebecca. Speaking of…

“Fuck, you’re amazing. Let’s invade France.”

“Oy, this is Isaac. These are all the other fucks. You’re with them.”

Roy’s absolute disdain for social niceties will never not be funny.

”I brought you here to remind you that football is a fucking game that you used to play as a fucking kid. ’Cause it was fun even when you were getting your fucking legs broken or your fucking feelings hurt. So fuck your feelings, fuck your overthinking, fuck all that bullshit, go back out there and have some fucking fun.”

I coached soccer for three years with a friend. His daughter anchored our back line; L was our scoring machine up front. We agreed we really should have used this speech at halftime the year we lost our playoff semifinal 1–0.

”So you’re feeling under pressure?”

I do enjoy how Doctor Sharon just casually goes along with Ted’s little games. She acts put-out, but she’s always right there with him.

”He’s 17. He’ll probably have chips for dinner and a wank before bed.“
”Apologies for the language.”

I’m going to miss Jeff Stelling apologizing for Roy’s language.

”George, didn’t you lose your license drink driving?“
”That was an allergic reaction to my medication!“
”Is that the same medication that made you piss your pants?”

Roy Kent! Roy Kent! He’s here, he’s there, he’s every-fucking-where!