Ted Lasso


It’s a stupid show. But that’s why it’s so good!

Apple TV+ has been improperly analyzed. It’s more akin to Amazon Prime Video than Netflix or Disney+. You see it’s a perk, it’s not a standalone purchase. It’s an extra, a bonus, not something you debate subscribing to.

Bottom line, 62% of Apple TV+ subscribers are on free accounts. How can that be you ask, especially if you’re still a member of the Wintel/Android world. Well, the truth is if you buy almost any Apple product, you get a free subscription.

But what keeps you watching?

This is unlike Apple’s Arcade. I got that free too but I don’t plan to renew, I’ve never even cracked it. But gaming, as large as it is, has a smaller footprint than television. The pool of potential TV watchers is gigantic, essentially everybody. And what drives streaming platform success? HITS!

And to succeed in any artistic endeavor, you have to come up to the plate on a regular basis, whether you’re an act or a record company or TV channel or streaming platform… You see it’s very hard to predict a hit. Every once in a while, a few times a year, there’s a project so undeniable that you know it is going to succeed, but those are rare. Which is why you see supposed sure shots, even Paul McCartney in the eighties as well as today, so heavily marketed/promoted. Turns out most people need to be reminded, they’re not following the scene that closely, now more than ever, where the channel is so cluttered, and there are so many avenues of interest. This is what is hurting the music business, the lack of a translatable superstar, the last one was Adele, who do we have now? Someone who essentially everybody can love? No one.

So, Netflix pivoted to streaming and invested a plethora of money into production. Knowing all of the above rules. Disney came with a catalog of children’s programming, and a low price, which boosted its subscriptions. As for competitors? Well, for most people Hulu is essentially a network/cable service, a place where you can dial up last night’s shows. Sure, there is some original programming, and some licensed too, but not enough to get you to pay all that dough per month.

So Hulu survives.

Amazon Prime Video? It hasn’t made as many shows as Netflix and certainly doesn’t have the hit to crap ratio that Netflix does, but its problem is the service is perceived to be free, and therefor the shows get little buzz/traction. But, you say, isn’t this the same with Apple TV+? Not exactly, there is no cult of Amazon, as much as people use the service, but there is an Apple cult, large and motivated, people want to watch Apple TV+ so their links to Cupertino are even stronger, they’re even rooting for the platform! Sounds ridiculous, but what can you believe in these days, Rihanna? Who has forsaken music for branding/licensing, not knowing you’re only as hot as your last hit, which is why her LVMH deal failed. Youngsters may be completely unaware of Rihanna, they have no incentive to overpay for her luxury goods.

So Apple TV+ gets attention. But so far, it has been unable to build on that attention. Every show that Apple promoted, oftentimes via Tim Cook himself, has been released to a chorus of…nothing. “The Morning Show.” That Earth show. None of it has truly clicked until “Ted Lasso.” Oh, there was some buzz on “Dickinson,” but perception was it was for young girls, and perception is king. Well, after distribution.

But Apple didn’t promote “Dickinson” either. As for “Ted Lasso,” I just considered it another mediocre Apple production, throwing too much money at a celebrity to do their passion project. Come on, despite the hoopla, “Mank” sucked. Not in the league of any awards, at least not for content, maybe cinematography. But, once again, marketing has influenced “news” and the whole enterprise has detached from the public, which is why the Oscar show has tanked…people don’t care, they can’t relate to it. As for fashion? You go to Instagram and YouTube for that, to the influencers, to people who live for fashion 365 days a year, not one.

But then there started to be a buzz on “Ted Lasso.”

I still wouldn’t watch it, because I refuse to watch any show that is dribbled out week by week. I get it, Apple is trying to build buzz, it’s got very little content to begin with, but that buzz approach is positively last century. We live in an on demand culture, we want it all and we want it now! Come on, Steve Jobs was famous for that. He loved to introduce a product and say it’s available NOW! And instantly there’d be a buying frenzy, you want to catch people when they’re hyped-up, manic.

But now, months later, I finally dove into “Ted Lasso.”


Jason Sudeikis has no star power in my universe, just another latter-day SNL star who reached his expiration date and has been trying to make it on his own ever since.

So Sudeikis was no reason for me to watch “Ted Lasso.”

As for the other main star…supposedly she was in “Game of Thrones.” Yes, I know, I know, but I’m not into fantasy, not whatsoever, maybe when I’m  washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered iPad I’ll give it a go, but it’s far from a priority for me.

But “Lasso” was on Apple, and I’m part of the cult, and my free subscription seems to go on forever, if for no other reason than I’m signed up to the new iPhone every year plan. As for the prohibitive cost, which I’m paying through the nose for? HOW MUCH DO YOU USE YOUR SMARTPHONE? It’s my most used device, by far, why should I be living in a backwater? It’s about the chip and the features. As for the chip…I’ve got an iPad Air 2, I purchased it at the end of 2014, and it’s almost unusable, it’s best just as a TV streaming device. Another user might find its lag time tolerable, but compared to my iPhone 12 Pro Max? IT’S GLACIAL!

So I decided to try “Ted Lasso.”

Sudeikis/Lasso never breaks character, never ever. And at first it’s intolerable, but then it becomes magical. And when his wife want to divorce him because he’s too optimistic, I GET IT!

But I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy. But watching Ted, I started to wonder if there was a benefit in optimism. Furthermore, at times Lasso gets low, has regrets, so there’s a bit of three-dimensionality, but you have to wait for it.

As for Ms. Game of Thrones, Hannah Waddingham? She’s incredible! A great foil for Sudeikis, a star in her own right. She’s forceful and then vulnerable, unable to get over her divorce, and Lasso is supportive… We don’t see this much in celebrity culture, someone tending to another’s wounds, it’s all about me me ME! But here it’s endearing.

And the supporting players…

The almost nonverbal coach, who has a passion for chess and a knowledge of kink.

And Nathan… The unappreciated underling who is a soccer genius, at least compared to Ted.

The blurbs didn’t have it right. American football coach takes the helm of a Premier League team. Sounds too hokey. But that ends up being just the point, IT IS HOKEY!

Everybody ultimately caves to Ted’s magic. And he knows when he works it.

As for Keeley… Julien Temple has a daughter old enough to play the love interest? Remember the legendary music video director? Yes, we’re getting older by the minute, the times keep changing, and the whole world is what have you done for me lately? It’s hard to keep up.

But that’s why you rely on word-of-mouth, your friends, the buzz.

Otherwise I never would have even watched “Ted Lasso.” Apple certainly wasn’t hammering it, it was only my friends the sports acolytes. And then the buzz grew wider, so I had to check it out.

As for you?

My favorite stupid movie is “Stripes.” It’s genius.

Stupid means it doesn’t have to comport with real life, it can be broad, it can go from joke to joke.

But too many stupid movies are just that, stupid, which is why Adam Sandler gets such a bad rap. His flicks have no iconic scenes involving Tito Puente or some other obscure reference. The references bond us, keep us interested.

But there are not that many belly laughs in “Ted Lasso,” and on some level it’s an SNL production, but unlike SNL, “Ted Lasso” does not reek of insiderism, no one breaks character, it’s a fantasy world and in today’s scary world, it’s a relief.

The characters are very broad. And mostly two-dimensional But that was the goal!

As for the Diamond Dogs… I can’t remember a comparable scene in any production, where nerds, regular people, gather to support and analyze a friend’s love life. And hell, “Ted Lasso” even gets divorce right! You stood up in front of all those people, it’s legal…emotionally it’s hard to break.

It’s hard to do comedy. So hard, that most people don’t even attempt it. Come on, streaming services are laden with cop shows, and supernatural/horror shows. Comedy? It either works or it doesn’t. And oftentimes it doesn’t.

And I can’t give “Ted Lasso” a ringing endorsement, I can’t say it’s a must-see, but I will tell you once you watch about an episode and a half, you’ll finish it. Because you’ll like the mood, you’ll like the respite from the real world, and ultimately…things don’t always play out the way you expect them to, which is a relief.


So Apple TV+ has a hit. It’s a sleeper, it’s taken time to grow, but that’s how almost everything is these days, a work of art must percolate in the marketplace before it gets traction. As for marketing? If marketing were truly king, most movies released would be a success, when this is patently untrue.

And the truth is there are very few great things out there, stuff worth talking about, telling others about. And your personal credibility comes into play, whether you know it or not. Recommend a couple of losers and people no longer listen to you, their time is too precious. And personal credibility is one of the key traits in today’s world, where everything is a service or an experience, on demand. You want your friends to listen to you. Seemingly nobody else is, ultimately it’s how you become embedded in the social fabric, where all the rewards are.

So, Apple is on to something. The company should never cut off the freebies, it should continue to give a free subscription to Apple TV+ with every purchase of an Apple item. It reinforces the cult! And once you have a hit, all eyeballs are upon you.

Hell, HBO wasn’t a juggernaut until “The Sopranos,” which boosted the already extant “Sex and the City.” As for “Larry Sanders”? However good it was, it was a cult item.

And “House of Cards” was the best show on any platform, network, cable or streaming, just like “The Sopranos.” And what “The Sopranos” and “House of Cards” also have in common is…signing a producer/creator and giving them a lot of money and free rein.

And Apple is now trying to sell package subscriptions. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t understand pricing. There’s very little incentive to sign up, the price is too high, which is the complaint about all of Apple’s products. I’ll buy the package if I’m paying less than I am now and get a whole ‘nother service absolutely free. As for the services I’m already passing on…if I wanted them that bad, I’d buy them, and I haven’t.

And too many of Apple’s subscription products are me-too. Spotify is an alternative to Apple Music. News is everywhere. As for exercising… Sure, Peleton is much more expensive, but it’s hot and cool at the same time! Apple’s exercise program Fitness+ is not! Steve Jobs understood this…once you’re competing with everybody, when you’re approaching commodity status, you lower the price, like he did with the iPod, killing all other entrants.

People forget the stiffs. Whether it’s TV or music. There’s just too much on offer these days. All those lame Apple TV+ shows? No one cares if they can get “Ted Lasso.”

Apple TV+’s biggest disadvantage was audience. Because distribution is king. You may have the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if no one can see it… But by giving away free subscriptions, EVERYBODY CAN SEE IT! Furthermore, this is the tech ethos… It starts off free until you hit critical mass. Then you either charge or make it continue to feel free, like Google and Facebook.

There are no monopolies in Hollywood anymore. The town elders have lost control. You don’t fight the future, YOU JOIN THE FUTURE! Which is what all the creators have done. A hit can come from anywhere these days, be on any platform, but the key is to HAVE HITS!

Apple TV+ has a start with “Ted Lasso.” Watch it, not so much because you’ll love it, but because then you’ll be part of the discussion. We’re dying for talking points, we’re dying to be members of the club. So, people are incentivized to check out hits, because they want to belong!

Trust me, you want to belong to the “Ted Lasso” cult.

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