The Problem with the Gospel of ‘Ted Lasso’

What Christians should ponder from the world’s goofiest football manager.

Apple TV’s hit sitcom Ted Lasso has roped viewers (and 20 Emmy nominations) in with optimism and family-friendly dad humor. The show’s corniness has been a smashing success—up until the second season’s Christmas episode dropped in August.

For some, scenes of Rebecca and Ted delivering presents to London’s less fortunate and the Higgins’ family home transforming into a premier destination for foreign players felt like “a warm blanket of nice.”

Not for everyone.

“Can Ted Lasso Recover from That Unspeakably Bad Christmas Episode?” wrotePaste magazine . “When there are no counterbalancing new episodes to wash away the astringent peppermint flavor, though, of course it’s easy to wonder if the Christmas episode is a one-off or if it represents the dominant new direction of the show,” suggestedVulture, referring to the weekly episode drop. “Maybe it’ll all be this wash of sentimental squishiness now. Ugh!”

Released in 2020, Ted Lasso centers an out-of-his-depth American football coach who takes a job with an English soccer team. He innocently bakes biscuits for his team’s owner, opens a suggestion box to a scornful team, and builds relationships with chronically bullied and insecure team personnel.

Ted’s vulnerable moments—a divorce, a disdainful team captain, and a boss who’s set him up for failure—have balanced his seemingly unflappable optimism, preventing him from being reduced to a symbol and revealing him as a human who, like us, is sometimes neglected, anxious, and in need of love. Even in the first season, writers attempted to make Ted more than a mustachioed Pollyanna by showing his panic attack at …

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