What's Tony Thinking

Ted Lasso: The Second Season


Now that we’ve established the serious and urgent nature of theology, let’s bring theology to one of the important, existential issues of 2021, the second season of Ted Lasso on Apple TV.

It seems fashionable to write off the second season of most everything as a “disappointment.” Not so, at least i.m.h.o., with the second season of Ted Lasso. It is every bit as much fun, sweet and full of surprises as season one. No let down here.

But there is a shift. The first season was devoted to the relentlessly gracious nature of Ted himself, a second-tier American football coach who has been hired as head coach for an English soccer team, a sport he had never played and knew nothing about. He also hates tea. Little does Ted know that the team’s owner, Rebecca, is using him to bring catastrophe on the Richmond team as a divorce revenge strategy.

Ted bounds in, not pretending to know what he doesn’t, but pretty sure that he knows a lot about human nature and how to win over the chilly and scheming Rebecca, the grumpy and profane Roy Kent, and talented-but-obnoxious Jamie Tartt. Ted plasters his “Believe” slogan above the locker room door and gets to it with wisecracks and home-spun humor.

In season two most everyone’s strategies for managing life break down, including Ted’s. Roy is forced by injuries and aging into retirement. Rebecca falls in love with her team and the sport, and maybe one of her players. Jamie returns as a repentant prodigal. A new character, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, as the team psychiatrist, a supremely confident shrink and self-described savant, is revealed as having, shall we say, more to her story.

One writer compared — here’s where the theology comes in — seasons one and two of Ted Lasso to the Bible’s Old and New Testaments respectively. In season one everyone, including Ted, is working their own strategy for managing and getting through life, trying to fulfill some version of the law (biblically speaking). Some, Ted and Sharon, trying to live up to impossible ideals. Others, Roy and Rebecca, close their hearts up tight behind heavy armor to avoid being hurt again. In season two those familiar strategies for saving ourselves run aground.

Here’s Davis Johnson on “The Two Testaments of Ted Lasso.”

“Season one gave us an ideal version of who we ought to be, while season two is showing us our need for the type of healing that addresses our unseen selves.

“This ‘two-season’ story is beginning to resemble the Bible’s own two testament narrative. Like Ted Lasso, God’s second season wasn’t a betrayal of the first, but a deepening of its themes in new directions.”

Johnson continues,

“Far from flopping, season two (i.e. the New Testament) consists of God’s best material. On the other side of Jesus’ cross and resurrection, our little “d” deaths through the hard, frustrating parts of confronting ourselves and lives are the only true pathway to healing. We do not become who we ought to be by grit and smiling determination, but by admitting who we actually are. Deeply flawed, and wounded — yet loved to hell and back by the Truth who put on human flesh to bleed for us. By his wounds, we are healed.

“God’s second round of wine at the party exceeds the first, leaving everyone both dumbfounded with surprise and satisfaction.  The second season of God’s story reveals how life has always been cruciform. It may not have been what anyone expected, but it was precisely the plot twist we needed.”

Now there’s some good theology! If you haven’t yet tuned into Ted Lasso, you have a treat awaiting you.

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