Ted Lasso: Beard After Hours
September 17, 2021 11:39 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

After the semi-final defeat, Beard sets out on an all-night odyssey through London in order to collect his thoughts.

Matrix references ahoy! Time for the Pub Lads to have their moment in the neon and for all of us to deep into the BeardVerse.
posted by Happy Dave (86 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is definitely the other stand-alone episode (along with the Xmas one). The Pub Lads (Jeremy, Baz and Paul) are great, I don't know that I've ever seen that kind of contemporary Greek chorus in a sitcom before. So much of this episode was a lot of fun. I need to watch it again later today to process everything, but favorite moments include Jealous Husband showing up to rescue Beard and Pub Lads getting to play on the Richmond pitch, their innocent joy really was wonderful.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:51 AM on September 17 [7 favorites]


I loved this. A shaggy dog story told by Norm Macdonald, a fairy tale from the 1812 version of the brothers Grimm, a night you take the pill you find in your pocket despite not really knowing what it is.
posted by minervous at 12:05 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


For the first time in a really long time, I kinda wanna go clubbing.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:09 PM on September 17 [13 favorites]


Lots of Blue Moons in this week's episode.
posted by fullerine at 12:13 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


Matrix references? To my chagrin, I must have missed those. Any that immediately come to mind?
posted by xenization at 2:05 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


Discussion of living in a simulation, mysterious women in red dresses, walls of TVs that talk to you, pervasive feeling of unreality. Tons of other references too - I caught Fight Club and Judy Blume among others.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:14 PM on September 17 [7 favorites]


Blue Moon is Manchester City's anthem.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 2:49 PM on September 17 [9 favorites]


One thing I’ve found really interesting is that this show has a great intuitive understanding that when you have a The Weird Character, it helps to keep that character as a complement to the whole, the salt in the soup. Then, in the space of a single episode, they took that The Weird Character and not only focused entirely on him without the schtick getting old, but also humanized him significantly to an extent not seen throughout maybe the entirety of the series to date.

Anyway I loved it because that’s just kind of where the bar is set with this show. My only complaint is that the moon was jarringly, conspicuously fake in every one of those shots, in a way that felt like it must be building to SOMETHING for it to stick out THAT much.

Also does England really still actually use those olde-tymey cartoon keys
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:36 PM on September 17 [6 favorites]


Throughout something like the middle half-hour of this I was sure we were going to get something along the lines of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" going on. Everything about the episode lived in a transfixing realm of unreality, of course, so if you want to make sense of it, it has to be through a lens of "something like this happened, but what we're getting is the version of events as Beard will remember it." But the fact that he kept dropping his keys made me certain that there was another level of... something going on, which I guess I'm kind of impressed that there wasn't?

In any case, I'm almost certain that I just saw a Ted Lasso episode. And that Beard probably did jump off a roof into a dumpster but that it wasn't nearly that tall a roof. Everything else is conjecture, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:28 PM on September 17 [5 favorites]


I loved this episode. It was the Ted Lasso take on (IMO) the best Scorsese movie, After Hours. The whole genre of "lost in the city on a surreal all-night odyssey and you just can't make it home" is very dear to my heart; I've lived it more than a few times. Of course in the Ted Lasso version almost every character winds up happier by the end, but the journey was still fun, and the episode was spicier than Ted Lasso normally gets.

I also liked spending time with Coach Beard, who I identify with in several ways (that don't necessarily reflect well on me). At first I was hoping he'd get his hands on some mushroom tea, but I liked the long dark night of the soul as it was, even if the sportscasters appeared every now and then to completely destroy the concept of subtext.

I caught the Fight Club reference, and between that and the American History X/Moonrise Kingdom reference I thought there was going to be an Edward Norton runner. If I missed further Edward Norton references, please let me know! Quoting Fight Club uncritically was surprising from a show that actively deflates toxic masculinity at every turn (including this episode).

Is a chessboard coffee table really a quintessential sad single man prop? Don't you need a partner to play chess with? My partner and I would love a chessboard coffee table (as long as it had drawers for the pieces)!
posted by ejs at 5:37 PM on September 17 [5 favorites]


Also does England really still actually use those olde-tymey cartoon keys

My house (in the US) has one on every interior door (but not on the exterior door, fortunately).

This episode was a real delight. Just perfect pacing and atmosphere, beautiful in a way that this show usually isn’t. And sure, it’s a standalone, but getting to know Beard, such as we do, is so, so good.

I’m not sure that it matters if any of this happened. Beard went on a journey and figured out what he was looking for. The end.

Big ups for The Universal also.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:38 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Good interview with Brendan Hunt.
posted by rewil at 6:08 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


So someone on Reddit found this bit of poetry from Hafiz:

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
He
Knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
Beautiful
Rowdy
Prisoners.
posted by synecdoche at 6:16 PM on September 17 [12 favorites]


This episode dovetailed really well with watching How to Talk to Girls at Parties last night.
posted by art.bikes at 6:52 PM on September 17


Very fun episode. I figured it was just chock-full of references. Backlit hooligans seemed Clockwork Orange. The conversation with the woman in the red dress I think was very Raymond Chandler. LOTS of Fight Club.
posted by supercres at 7:15 PM on September 17


Really loved this even as it's the least Ted Lasso thing to come out of Ted Lasso -- but the music choices, the hula-hoop raving, the pub rats on the pitch....

Ted playing the game for them sped up with Yakety Sax underneath was very, very on point, and a good way to return us to the world of the show.
posted by tzikeh at 7:38 PM on September 17 [9 favorites]


Dire episode.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:58 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Absolute shite. Hard to imagine worse television. Padding to 12 episodes—unwatachable Christmas episode the other.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 8:03 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


I can understand why it would be polarizing, but honestly, for me it was close to a perfect episode of television.
posted by Jeanne at 8:06 PM on September 17 [16 favorites]


This was by far the best episode of the season.
posted by explosion at 8:39 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


The actor who plays Jamie's father looks/acts/sounds SO MUCH like Jamie. Great casting, great performance.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:04 PM on September 17 [6 favorites]


The violence made this a hard episode for me -- that's very much not what I come to Ted Lasso for, and I can find people beating each other up in so many other shows if that's what I'd like to see.

My spouse and I thought several cuts and some of the music uses reminded us of Edgar Wright's films, and then the explicit in-dialogue reference to Cornetto sealed it for us.

I still find Beard sort of an enigma as a character -- my spouse compared him to Onion in Steven Universe, or Gonzo from the Muppets. What does he want? What makes him happy? Why did he become a coach? What does he like about Jane? This episode didn't answer any of that for me. But I did look at the scenes in the nightclub at the end and think "a lot of fanvidders will enjoy clipping and using this" so I'm glad for the people that will please.
posted by brainwane at 9:34 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


Oh, and was this the first time we saw a Ted Lasso character have a less-than-ideal experience with an Apple consumer device?
posted by brainwane at 9:35 PM on September 17 [8 favorites]


There were a couple of points where this seemed less like a wacky standalone and more like the fulcrum of this series arc. Was Beard dead in the dumpster, hallucinated into suicide? Was Beard going to be seriously injured and left in a heap on the street by Papa Tartt and his goons? And then we bounced back into wacky Odysseus again to end with sublime silliness. I really enjoyed the journey of it.
posted by janell at 9:57 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


I am regretting that Pop Tartt didn’t occur to me until later.
posted by janell at 11:01 PM on September 17 [34 favorites]


This episode was great. It revealed coach beard while still keeping him a quiet mystery. I like how ambiguous the Jane character is (is she good for him? Bad for him? Crazy? Lively?) and how little we’ve seen of her except for how much he lights up when he sees her. She could have been stock Bad Impulsive Girlfriend but so far in the series not much has been revealed about her; other characters weighed in on their take but that’s about it. It makes sense that a quiet coach beard would be attracted to a lively girlfriend. Did anyone catch what was on his phone? What was the read on the hula hoop dancing and them dancing together? It felt like Something was being communicated but I couldn’t get what.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:18 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


What was the read on the hula hoop dancing and them dancing together? It felt like Something was being communicated but I couldn’t get what

I think it was a sign of Jane committing to Beard; a hoop is a giant ring, a grand gesture to hand that over.
posted by meijusa at 12:45 AM on September 18 [7 favorites]


Jayne seems like big bad news to me. Super emotionally avoidant, creates drama and jealousy, gaslights him about it, then drunkenly tells him she loves him and leaves 60+ hateful messages when he doesn’t meet her new demands to show up to the club and reply to her professions. Beard was running from the wrong guy.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:47 AM on September 18 [19 favorites]


I was also taken aback by the high number of calls and messages. Hadn’t realized they were hateful, will need to pause the video and try to rad them. But even if they are nice, the relentlessness is concerning.
posted by meijusa at 12:49 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Meant to say even if the messages had been nice, it would be concerning. And yes, Jane was really lashing out there. Thanks for alerting me to that, iamkimiam.
posted by meijusa at 1:01 AM on September 18


Beard’s panicked reaction to the messages broke my heart too. I know it’s partly because his phone died, but that really just made it worse. He was screaming in the street because he got the thing he wanted but didn’t respond in time, and it turned into bitterness and avoidant spewage. Really reminded me of the end of Cat Person, to the point that I thought the plot was going to go with Beard realising that he was sooo much better than this. But no, he went off to fix the situation and found his salvation in her.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:09 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


After reading Linda Holmes’s excellent recap, where she wonders about the key dropping and breaking, and the Hafiz poem above (how great is that, by the way, it even has the moon bit), maybe Beard is helping others to open their cages but fails when trying to open his own. He tried to break up with Jane but still can’t get out of the relationship and thrall. He thinks he should have spoken out against coach Lasso’s strategy but can’t get out of his loyalty bind. He’s still carrying around the confines on his sense of self from his family of origin (or whatever situation Ted Lasso got him out of).

(For the native speakers, how was Beard’s accent in the posh club? I was confused with his seemingly Scottish name and Irish accent, but it looks like I shouldn’t get my information from Harry Potter books and McGonagall is an Irish name.)
posted by meijusa at 2:13 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


The most famous real McGonagall is William McGonagall, widely considered to be the worst poet ever:
"Beautiful railway bridge of the silv'ry Tay
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last sabbath day of 1879
Which will be remember'd for a very long time."
If anyone's interested, many/most front doors have a deadlock at waist-height (as per the "olde-tymey cartoon key" that broke), that double-locks the door when you go out, and a Yale lock at the top that's used most of the time to hold the door shut. I thought that was true everywhere, but apparently not.

There haven't been Routemasters used at all in London for many years, let alone as night buses. In fact, I don't think anyone ever tapped in on a Routemaster, but I could be wrong.

I would have said that you wouldn't find a church open all night, but since there's a nightclub in the basement... it made me think of Mass in Brixton (can't remember whether that's still a working church upstairs), or the church in Camberwell that has a jazz club in the crypt.

I think it's probably useful for them to remind us that a real man, however much he may be in touch with his feelings, should be capable of violence at a moment's notice.

(Sorry, that was a bit spiky, but still.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]


(Ah, William McGonagall was Scottish - that was the point of that.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:25 AM on September 18


RE: Jayne Payne, I also share concerns.

I wonder if it's reading too much into the lyrics of the song that's playing during the dancing scene, but possibly they have found a middle ground?

You're alright, but I'm here, darling, to enjoy the party
Don't get too excited cause that's all you get from me, hey
Yeah, I think you're cute, but really you should know
I just came to say hello

posted by lazaruslong at 6:19 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


I think it's probably useful for them to remind us that a real man, however much he may be in touch with his feelings, should be capable of violence at a moment's notice.

I can't tell if this is real or not, and I don't wanna get suckered, so I'll just say that no, "real" men have no normative requirement to be capable of violence at a moment's notice, that's horseshit.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:21 AM on September 18 [8 favorites]


I was being sarcastic - there's a set of expectations of masculinity that don't go away, and one of those is... I don't really have the language for it, but something here definitely pushed that button for me. Shouldn't have written that.
posted by Grangousier at 6:49 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]


I didn't read much of the messages, but I think there was an all caps I LOVE YOU in there, which is what he was talking with the bartender about earlier (that he had said it and she hadn't).

This was fascinating to watch, and I enjoyed it. I hope the people responsible can now go make a separate weird show and let Ted be itself.
posted by Acari at 6:50 AM on September 18


For the native speakers, how was Beard’s accent in the posh club? I was confused with his seemingly Scottish name and Irish accent, but it looks like I shouldn’t get my information from Harry Potter books and McGonagall is an Irish name.

The pub fan calls Beard "McGonagall," assuming that he confused the name Beard gave with Harry Potter too. Beard called himself Professor Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus, an Irishman usually known as Elvis Costello.

I liked this episode, but I wanted the dreamlike reality to yield more about Beard than I think it did. No matter what, I trust what Higgins thinks about Jane and Beard more than I trust Beard.
posted by gladly at 10:01 AM on September 18 [11 favorites]


something here definitely pushed that button for me

I think I feel you on this, the alleyway scene was vicious, hurtful and unexpected, and I'm still not really sure how to read it tonally, in the context of the full episode. I don't think it's intended to be a 'real men need to be ready to fight' kind of thing, and definitely not any kind of glorification of fighting; my sense is that it was simply intended to portray a real, actual part of toxic masculinity, that some men beat people up for fun sometimes.

It was definitely a revealing character moment for Beard, because the fight choreography conveyed that Tartt and friends were only going to give him a couple of licks (IIRC, one from Tartt and a second friend got a punch in) and then they were walking away, they weren't going to really viciously beat him, just rough him up and maybe 'teach him a lesson' (which is plenty traumatic and painful, to be sure, but still far milder than what ended up happening). But Beard had to get up and try to keep fighting, his own stubbornness or sense of pride or self-loathing or something would not let him do the safe thing, and just stay on the ground for a couple of minutes. And then he does it one or two more times, intentionally pushing their aggression and making the beating worse--Tartt even says 'you just couldn't stay down' or similar.

So even though it was a really uncomfortable and jarring scene in the flow of the episode, I'm thinking it's also an important character moment for Beard--including the Jealous Husband saving him and then sharing how he's really been working on improving his jealousy and anger responses, and that he regretted threatening and chasing Beard. I do trust that the writers would not have included that whole scene unless it's meaningful and important to Beard's character and arc; the evidence so far is that even the smallest things are mindfully placed. I'm very curious to see what the ultimate outcomes are.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:07 AM on September 18 [7 favorites]


I loved Season 1, but now I'm feeling like the rug was pulled out from under my feet. This is not the series I signed up for.

I liked season 1 because it was lighthearted, though extremely well done. There was just enough conflict and strife to keep things interesting, but not so much as to be disturbing. That all changed with Season 2.

In the first season, I came away with the impression that Ted was a genuinely nice guy because that's the way he chose to live his life. But now we're getting hints that he's actually a damaged person, and his kindness & decency are the outer manifestations of deep-seated mental illness. This new information really takes most of the charm away from the series.

My comments above are really more a reaction to the previous episode (Episode 8). But this latest episode was also unpalatable, to say the least. I miss the old Ted Lasso show, before it morphed into something unrecognizable.
posted by alex1965 at 10:28 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]


Someone unpack all that key dropping for me….
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:58 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Everyone's damaged. There's a quote from Robert Anton Wilson that's floating around the internet:
“Under the present brutal and primitive conditions on this planet, every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being.”
I think it's the case both that Ted chooses to live a life of kindness, and that choice is also influenced by his experiences and background. "Deep-seated mental illness" is a bit strong to my mind - he's having panic attacks, and those are being treated as a mental health issue. At least some of his constant positivity is a reaction/coping mechanism to his father's suicide, and it's being shown to be in some ways maladaptive, which is not the same as mental illness. That doesn't invalidate it as a choice he's making to be kind, and to treat people well. It doesn't make him less of a good person. It's just part of what's made him who he is. Everyone has formative experiences, everyone has trauma that's molded them in some way. There are no truly sane human beings. Who they become still matters and reflects on them for good or ill.

Season 1 was lovely and pleasant to watch, and season 2 is a somewhat different experience. But I don't think the show would have stayed good or relevant if it had just kept riding on Ted's niceness without ever going deeper. I loved Parks and Rec when it was airing, but it's not something I've rewatched, because in retrospect it feels very of its moment, and it wasn't really interested in exploring beyond the general vibe of positivity and found family. It never really explored what was underneath, and so my attachment to it hasn't really outlasted its airing. Ted Lasso is willing to go past its own premise, even undermine some of its own charm, in order to make these people human and tell a story rather than just present a series of amusing situations. It might be harder to watch now that they've moved into the second act, but I trust the writers, and I think ultimately the decisions they're making will make a greater show in the long run.
posted by cosmic owl at 11:06 AM on September 18 [30 favorites]


Scorsese's After Hours was allowed to be absurdist because it stood on its own. Beard has his own surreal night and then walks in the next day, but not as if nothing's happened — he has a wound on his face. The obvious question, then, is how much of that night was imagined and how much of it was real.

Without any further guidance, I'd just suppose that Beard experienced some watered-down version of what we saw — wandered for a while, got drunk, howled at the moon, maybe got himself into a fight with a stranger, then reconciled with Jane. And since this is Ted Lasso, I'd ordinarily expect those questions to get satisfactory answers in the coming weeks, but this was one of the standalone episodes, so I'd be surprised to see any further reference to it this season. I'd even be surprised if Beard still had the wound next week.

Given the constraints of a standalone episode — entertain us without moving the plot forward at all — I didn't expect a lot out of this episode, so I'm not angry or concerned or anything. But it did feel like the show was trying to justify Beard and Jane's relationship in the face of so many obvious red flags — that somehow she's what he needs to make him feel grounded, even with the fights and the jealousy and the sniping. I hope I'm wrong about that.
posted by savetheclocktower at 5:06 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


But now we're getting hints that he's actually a damaged person, and his kindness & decency are the outer manifestations of deep-seated mental illness. This new information really takes most of the charm away from the series.

First, I know very few people who haven't been damaged, at some point, in life. And those of us who are excessively kind are doing it because we have experience with having been on the receiving end of exactly the opposite behavior. And those of us who haven't properly processed that pain (as Ted obviously hasn't) will, eventually, have to do so.

If one thinks having panic attacks reflects deep-seated mental illness, I suspect one would be shocked by the reality of the inner lives of most people.

Second, we were shown clues that there was trouble underneath Ted's smile in the first half of the very first episode, in the press conference scene.

If this isn't the show for which you signed up, I'd say it's because you weren't watching the show very closely. Rebecca's a victim of psychological abuse by her husband, and was brought up in a somewhat dysfunctional family, of which, I expect, we'll hear more. Beard's mother is in QAnon, which makes you wonder how much she broke Beard in his earlier years. Roy Kent was removed from his family when he was NINE YEARS OLD. Jamie Tartt was subjected to verbal and physical abuse from a young age, with his mother an only somewhat ameliorating factor. Nate's father is dismissive and withholding.

We don't know anything about Keeley's background or what makes her so loving, but we know that it took until the middle of last season for her to have enough dignity and self-esteem to trust her judgment about drop-kicking Jamie. And Sam is the only person about whom we know much of anything such that we can recognize he comes from a functional and loving background.

This show was never presented as a laugh riot. It was presented, from the beginning, as one of flawed people who are learning how to try to be better and support one another.

That said, I appreciated this episode more than I liked it. I laughed aloud when Beard spoke to G-d, but otherwise was uncomfortable as I tend to be when I anticipate bad things happening to characters I like. (Basically, the way I felt after Jamie's dad showed up in the dressing room last week is how I felt throughout almost the entire show, like I had to be on guard. That said, I loved, "I listen more than I talk" as the explanation for his knowledge. (I'd expected it would all have come from things he's read.) And his rewarding of the pub fans and their overwhelming delight was incredibly heartwarming.

Finally, I really appreciated synecdoche sharing the Hafiz. If it were not the inspiration of this part of the episode, I can't imagine what was.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 6:42 PM on September 18 [22 favorites]


Fwiw, I agree with alex1965 word for word. I feel this show has taken a hard tonal turn this season and it’s jarring at best.

I felt like season 1 presented Ted as an example of positive masculinity through his more lifecoach-than-sport-coach persona, whereas season 2 twists it into plain old toxic positivity.

Put another way, I was looking up to Ted Lasso in S1, now I’m looking out.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:35 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a feel for whom "Richard" (with a book at the bar, who went on two dates with Mae, but got no loving because he kept correcting her) might be?

There's already a Richard Montlaur (a player on the team) and a Richard Cole of Dubai Air (voiced by Bill Paterson), so another Richard seemed excessive, and it seemed like this was someone we should have noticed before, but I've not seen him. Thoughts?
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 7:55 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Beard brings a flat white, a black coffee, and a peppermint latte to morning film. Match Nate, Roy, and Ted to their drinks?

My theory is Nate: Flat White (aspirational signal of belonging), Roy: peppermint latte (likes sweet drinks), and Ted: black coffee (Not Tea).
posted by minervous at 8:21 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


So, I thought I'd take a look at the 52 texts from Jane Payne to Coach Beard. Some notes:

So many red flags in this conversation, it made me sad.

She calls him Beard.

He told her he wanted to meet her mum. She declined.

"I hope you're lying face down in a ditch somehwere (sic) and a squirrel is eating you."

Oh, but also, the song in the club was Hello, by Martin Solveig and Dragonette. The lyrics are about her unavailability.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:04 PM on September 18 [7 favorites]


Yeah I went back and read them too. They are really quite poisonous.

I felt like season 1 presented Ted as an example of positive masculinity through his more lifecoach-than-sport-coach persona, whereas season 2 twists it into plain old toxic positivity.

It doesn't appear that dire to me. Ted really has done a lot of good for many of the people around him. He's gotten lots of things right! And I don't think Ted's instances of toxic positivity outweigh his moments of positive masculinity. It doesn't seem likely that learning to open up and understand that he uses humor and deflection to keep people at arm's length is going to change Ted fundamentally into a less genuinely kind and thoughtful person. He seems more than anything to need to learn to be more kind and thoughtful to himself. And there are lots of instances of other men in the show demonstrating positive masculinity, or trying to- like the jealous bloke chasing down Beard to give him his phone.

Ted's not a saviour- that's an unreasonable thing to ask of anyone. But he's trying, and he's growing, and so are many of the people around him. He needs support just like anyone else. It's kind of a bummer that I've seen a number of people online saying that they aren't sure they care for Ted or the show now that he appears to be wrestling with some demons.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:15 PM on September 18 [13 favorites]


Yeah that’s fair, I agree with all that.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:20 PM on September 18


I think season 1 Ted had stopped growing. When the behaviours he is comfortable with no longer worked it has forced him to change. Coupled with the fact he no longer has the energy to keep up those defences he is becoming unmoored and realises he needs to continue working on himself. As he gained a lot of his self worth from those defences it is a significant blow to him to find they may not be as useful as he thought.

This is quite common in his masculine world where "strength" and stoicism are considered positive attributes and I think this is why Dr Sharon finds him initially such a figure of ridicule. "Wow, you're kind and considerate of others. Well done, you've reached an emotional maturity most women get to when they're teenagers". Only to find that when she herself is literally knocked down she too can be vulnerable and Ted actually is kind and considerate.

As an aside I think the bike accident is a perfect example of how the writers like to fuck with us. How many of you thought after the crash there was going to be a scene where Dr Sharon is in hospital with the beep beep machines and grim faced doctors. Ted stoically looking on from her bedside. Nope, she's fine, she doesn't even need Ted's help. They don't have to make women suffer for Ted's character growth, her accident is her story and the repercussions affect her and are not just about Ted.

The series is about growth and specifically about growth within a masculine world. Jamie punching his father is a scenario which is really not uncommon in working class masculinity. I can think of dozens of examples from my own life. Where this show breaks from the norm is that it is shown not as the "becoming a man, supplanting your father" trope that it is normally shown. It is represented as what it is, just fucking sad. Jamie has a chance to break free from the idiocy of it all and it is Roy, the only male character who always (eventually) accepts change and does not hide from growth who is there to help him.

So, yes Ted is not the saint he was made out to be. Nobody is. Toxic masculinity is about control. Control of women by men but also control of men by men. I hope they do stop after three seasons. Then they can move onto the new show, the one which continues the growth.

Coach Keeley!
posted by fullerine at 3:14 AM on September 19 [7 favorites]


Beard brings a flat white, a black coffee, and a peppermint latte to morning film. Match Nate, Roy, and Ted to their drinks?

My theory is Nate: Flat White (aspirational signal of belonging), Roy: peppermint latte (likes sweet drinks), and Ted: black coffee (Not Tea).



Ooo I wanna play!

My theory is:

Roy: Black Coffee (grr no frills boi brrr)

Nate: Flat White (idk)

Ted: Peppermint Latte (because of when in season 1 he asks for a coffee but says "Mochachino, Frappacino, anything with a little caffeine in it, as long as I can't taste a hint of coffee."
posted by lazaruslong at 6:00 AM on September 19 [9 favorites]


I'm in the minority, clearly, but I've been pretty disappointed with Season 2 so far. I'm not bothered by the evolution in what they are showing us of Ted's struggles... that part I actually think is interesting!

But the structure of the show seems all over the place to me this season. They'll introduce plotlines and then kind of drop them, it feels like they are often trying to have too many storylines in a given episode, the pacing feels off to me... I just don't feel like it is as well done as Season 1. And the music cues are so cheesy and heavy-handed, even more so than last season (and they were pretty heavy handed last season).

Like as an example of the pacing and plot development issues: they have been teasing us with this Ted vs Dr. Fieldstone conflict all season (well, it's kind of Ted vs himself): will he open up and face his demons, or will he keep wildly churning through his defense mechanisms to avoid it? They have been dragging out this conflict all season, and when he finally has a bit of a breakthrough we see him disclose his father's suicide to her, and then... that's it. We don't get to dig into him facing his issues at all beyond just "he finally admitted to his therapist that he has this major trauma in his past." The balance and pacing of how they handled his growth this season have just felt really unsatisfying to me.

This episode on its own terms was pretty enjoyable. The extremely cinematic style was fun and Beard's surreal (hallucinated? partly hallucinated?) adventures were entertaining. But also...so out of left field! So stylistically different from the rest of the season. I was kind of baffled.

I'm still watching it, but I feel like I'm watching a different show than everyone else when I see how many people think it's out-of-the-park amazing this season.
posted by aka burlap at 6:30 AM on September 19 [7 favorites]



Like as an example of the pacing and plot development issues: they have been teasing us with this Ted vs Dr. Fieldstone conflict all season (well, it's kind of Ted vs himself): will he open up and face his demons, or will he keep wildly churning through his defense mechanisms to avoid it? They have been dragging out this conflict all season, and when he finally has a bit of a breakthrough we see him disclose his father's suicide to her, and then... that's it. We don't get to dig into him facing his issues at all beyond just "he finally admitted to his therapist that he has this major trauma in his past." The balance and pacing of how they handled his growth this season have just felt really unsatisfying to me.

This episode on its own terms was pretty enjoyable. The extremely cinematic style was fun and Beard's surreal (hallucinated? partly hallucinated?) adventures were entertaining. But also...so out of left field! So stylistically different from the rest of the season. I was kind of baffled.


So apparently they originally made 10 episoides, then Apple said "You should make 12" so they made 2 bottle episodes and stuck them in the season. Christmas Episode was the first, and the Beard odyssey is the second. So to your point about this one being stylistically different, and the pacing issue with the BIG REVEALS of Episode 8 not paying off right away are well taken, and this may account for why it feels weirdly paced.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:41 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Ah, good to know! That makes a lot of sense.
posted by aka burlap at 6:58 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


It's kind of a bummer that I've seen a number of people online saying that they aren't sure they care for Ted or the show now that he appears to be wrestling with some demons.

That kind of audience reaction is also a facet of toxic masculinity, I think, that men are disposable when not useful, and burdensome when they struggle. (At least, many men I know have internalized that message.) Seems that the show is still teaching us about us.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:20 AM on September 19 [11 favorites]


Apple said "You should make 12" so they made 2 bottle episodes and stuck them in the season.

I've seen a few people refer to these (and similar standalone episodes of other shows) as bottle episodes. It's interesting, since these are actually somewhat opposite to the older usage: they're making use of multiple new locations and non-core cast members (and, I suspect, probably weren't any cheaper to make). Maybe with increased serialization, people are reacting more to the plot being constrained, vs. setting?
posted by quizzical at 8:28 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]


"It's kind of a bummer that I've seen a number of people online saying that they aren't sure they care for Ted or the show now that he appears to be wrestling with some demons."

Indeed. This is not a children's show (as proven by the Lebowski level of profanity). A show full of perfect people always doing perfect things (i.e. what the audience expects would) be boring, and would also not allow for for any contrasts or character development. Also a bummer is the regular complaining that the people making the show are doing things "wrong" when a loose end isn't tied up in the very next episode. I encourage anyone who thinks this to read any of the numerous interviews posted in these threads with the creators and actors of the show (like the interview with Brendan Hunt posted above). Aside from character and plot arcs being planned out from the beginning, with little hints given many episodes beforehand, the episodes are regularly filled with subtle details and callbacks that show a depth you don't see in most shows. These people 100% know what they're doing.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:53 AM on September 19 [4 favorites]


Roy: Black Coffee (grr no frills boi brrr)
...
Ted: Peppermint Latte (because of when in season 1 he asks for a coffee but says "Mochachino, Frappacino, anything with a little caffeine in it, as long as I can't taste a hint of coffee."


Oh this is absolutely right, lazaruslong. I am hereby corrected. (I had forgotten it was of Jamie in season 1 who liked sweet drinks - remember Roy mocking him for drinking vanilla vodka? How far we've come.)
posted by minervous at 9:31 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]


I loved this episode.
On the Football is Life podcast, Jason Snell has talked occasionally about how it seems Beard is in his own wacky, surreal show that we only see glimpses of that intersects with Ted Lasso. This was an episode of that show.
posted by cuscutis at 9:53 AM on September 19 [14 favorites]


I loved this one. Obviously, a lot of smart references to other works and I don't think I got all of them. But "the lone man wondering around trying to get back to his woman," really gave me a lot of Ulysses/Odyssey vibes.

There were both subtle and explicit references to James Joyce's Ulysses throughout. Ulysses is about an outsider's (the protagonist Leopold Bloom is Jewish) meanderings in real time through Dublin trying to get back to his troubled marriage to Molly with whom he remains in love. Leopold is famously Bearded. Beard adopts a Irish accent. Molly Bloom/Jane are flighty, artistic types who who seem unconnected to anyone/anything until the end, much to the dismay of Leopold/Beard who are deeply thoughtful people who live mostly in their heads

The novel starts off with 3 yahoos (Dedalus, Mulligan, and Haynes) having a good time and Stephen Dedalus going to work, feeling like he's posing as a professor. Ultimately, Bloom becomes something of a mentor/father figure to them.

In the Cyclops chapter, a number of thugs gang up on Bloom for being an outsider and despite being hopelessly outnumbered, he fires insults back at the gang until Martin Cunningham intervenes and ushers him out of the conflict. The Cyclops chapter references the Cyclops in the Odyssey with whom Odysseus comes into conflict and is imprisoned in a cave and the imagery with Pop Tartt (one-eyed, having been given a black eye by his son earlier) confronting Beard in a cold, dark, empty stone warehouse recalls the Cyclops' cave.

In one scene in Ulysses, Bloom sits in a church and contemplates religion while thinking of his wife.

In the Nausicaa chapter, Leopold engages in a flirtatious encounter with Gerty but ultimately nothing comes of it.

Bloom spends a good bit of the book attempting to renew an ad for Alexander Keyes in The Evening Telegraph only to be repeatedly rebuffed by the foreman, leaving Bloom to have to go find Keyes.

In Circe, Bloom reconnects with the yahoos, who are now completely drunk, and unexpectedly free with money and they accompany each other, singing songs. At 2 am they arrive at Bloom's house and he realizes he has forgotten his key.

And in the final chapter Penelope, the book ends with Leopold reunited with Molly. Molly has treated Leopold with toxicity and disdain over the past ten years, but in the end she recalls all of the things that make her love him with the famous last line "his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes", which Jane's texts to Beard directly reference.

I don't think it was a 1:1 homage to Ulysses, the subtler themes of this episode do not correspond the the subtler themes of Ulysses, but I do think the writers intended to set up the arc of the story to match that of Leopold Bloom's. That's just brilliant. And it fleshed out the character of Beard in a way that really rang true to what we've seen of him so far.

I didn't mind the Christmas episode, because it was so intentionally maudlin. It seemed to me like the writers know this show is successful because, in a time that is so dark and cynical, it proudly wears it's corniness on it's sleeve. We all crave this right now. But the Beard episode confirms that the story telling is really clever and intended.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:59 AM on September 19 [53 favorites]


Thank you for that rundown Slarty! This was an obvious Ulysses homage but I don't have the familiarity with the text to be able to spell that all out.

Another key piece to understanding this episode, as a friend pointed out, is that if you have visited London, nights like this just happen sometimes. I have definitely had nights there that had elements of what we saw (mercifully no violence). It felt very true that way.

Re Beard and Jane, I think the key to understanding Beard's behaviour is what he says when he's praying about Jane making his life feel interesting. He seems terrified of living a dull life, and he lets FOMO drive him. I don't think we know a lot about his origins, but if he grew up in Kansas like Ted, he might be driven by wanting to escape the staid conservative routine. He's smart enough to not let his drive for an interesting life sabotage his work, but still craves adventure and sees Jane as a doorway to that. While I also agree fully with Higgins assessment of Jane, Beard wants different (probably unhealthy) things out of a partner right now. Higgins' is the type of marriage where you have someone to help you fight the constant battles that are adulthood and parenthood. Beard wants a partner in crime, at least right now he does.
posted by dry white toast at 11:34 AM on September 19 [4 favorites]


dry white toast, that ^^ rings very true for a guy with a Burning Man poster on his wall.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:05 PM on September 19 [7 favorites]


Oh, and to state the obvious, the key in the lock is a metaphor for parts of the male and female anatomy.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:41 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Damn Slarty Bartfast, I really appreciate that Ulysses breakdown. Wow!
posted by lazaruslong at 12:57 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Someone unpack all that key dropping for me….

I thought it was a sort of jarring focal point. In a good way. It just rings out and shapes the story.

I also thought it was a symbol of searching. Early on, Beard struggles to unlock the door to his home. Home = comfort, belonging, safety, maybe even the self? He leaves and the surreality really kicks in. He keeps on dropping this token; at a certain point, he's trying to get home and he can't. And look at the people who help - the pub lads; the jealous husband who as it turns out is quite sweet and thoughtful.
posted by entropone at 2:05 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


The glimpse of Nate and Roy sitting closely together on the bookshelf brought me joy. Friends! Colleagues!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:08 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


> Also does England really still actually use those olde-tymey cartoon keys

I didn't get a good look, but probably not a low-security warded lock subject to bypass attacks and use of a skeleton key, but a lever/tumbler lock. Lock Picking Lawyer picking one open and Bosnian Bill with an overview.
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 4:15 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


Is that a burning man poster in Beard's apartment, oneirodynia? I've never been; how do you know?
posted by minervous at 7:01 PM on September 19 [3 favorites]


That was definitely a Burning Man poster. I was wondering if that was a poster from Jane, or it says ...something...about Beard, I am not sure what, that he's been to Burning Man, that he wants to go to Burning Man.

More likely it was just an Easter egg from a writer or set person who's a big Burner.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:58 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


Rewatching now, the first thing Beard does when he enters his apartment is touch the Burning Man poster, Beard’s been to Burning Man.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:38 PM on September 19 [4 favorites]


alex1965: But now we're getting hints that he's actually a damaged person, and his kindness & decency are the outer manifestations of deep-seated mental illness. This new information really takes most of the charm away from the series

Dealing with the trauma of losing a parent to suicide by refusing to engage with negative emotions, and overcompensating by attempting to be The World's Best Dad is not a "deep-seated mental illness." Don't confuse coping mechanisms and maladaptive behavior with genuine neurodivergence.

And if it were a mental illness, that would still be a compelling story to tell.

You owe everyone who has lived with/through either an apology for your "ugh, bored now" response to the overt acknowledgement of the genuine pain and suffering that has been (obviously, I mean what show have you been watching) driving so many of the characters in a show we value for its active attempts towards the hard work of kindness.

And those who have experienced both, doubly so.
posted by tzikeh at 10:39 PM on September 19 [12 favorites]


To me, this episode seemed to say that Beard is (or has been in the past) depressed/suicidal. And this maybe hints as to his relationship to Ted - perhaps Ted help save him from a suicide attempt, or bad depression, and that's why he has that loyalty to him, but also why he finds it hard to challenge Ted when he disagrees? And how frustrating it's been for him to see what is happening to Ted (and presumably knowing about his father - they go further back) but to feel unable to help.

This comes from the bits with Gary Linekar and Thierry Henry acting as his subconscious, particularly where Henry says he should kill himself. It really shocked me not only because of what he said but because it was him/them saying it - in British culture they both have a 'genial' personalities and have been around so long they are part of the furniture (Linekar especially) and so it was very unexpected. To be fair, Beard does keep telling them to shut up, so maybe he has worked on his depression (and again why it must be frustrating to see Ted resist help for so long)?


(Also loved Theirry Henry's 'va-va-voom' which is a throwback to a famous Renault advert he did in the 90s!)
posted by atlantica at 12:41 AM on September 20 [4 favorites]


Video from the Emmys: "The whole Ted Lasso cast & crew did the Roy Kent cheer backstage and it was pretty special"
posted by Pronoiac at 12:44 AM on September 20 [5 favorites]


Regarding the "Has Beard been to Burning Man," question, we do know some tidbits about Beard that indicate that his life has been quite eventful. He was a Lumberjack World Championship qualifier, a state chess champion, he's dated "too many" dancers (and owns a pair of tap shoes himself), he's been paid to bite people... There's more, I'm pretty sure, but that's what I can recall off the top of my head. As Ted himself says in episode 2, “That man has had many lives, many masters.”

So yeah, I think he's definitely been to Burning Man.
posted by merriment at 5:30 AM on September 20 [5 favorites]


The video of Hannah Waddingham walking over to hug and talk to Juno Temple (Keely) before walking up to give her acceptance speech is making me teary-eyed this morning.
posted by rogerroger at 11:05 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


Also from the Emmys - (Twitter link) - Brett Goldstein's uncensored Emmy acceptance speech
posted by rogerroger at 11:46 AM on September 20 [3 favorites]


In the video of the cheer, I see Phil Dunster holding an Emmy- did he win for writing, or does everyone in the series get one?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:11 PM on September 20


Maybe I've grown too emotionally invested in this show, but I thought Jason Sudeikis looked sad at the Emmys, including in the clip above. Of course, it may just be that he is naturally more taciturn than the character he plays. But knowing a little of what has gone on in his personal life over the last year (not that it's any of my business, but it's hard to avoid seeing such things), I hope he's doing ok.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:32 PM on September 20 [5 favorites]


Hannah Waddingham was on Bullseye recently talking about how she is flexible about pronouncing her surname as ‘Ham or ‘Hm, but she hates it when she gets renamed altogether to ‘ton. And that is what happened at the Emmy’s. Waddington. She was of course magnificent and gracious and didn’t bring it up.
posted by janell at 12:55 PM on September 20 [4 favorites]


Wow, that was a complete misfire of an episode, not least because it was boring and predictable, once you realized what they were doing. I'm shocked no one stopped it in the writer's room before foisting it on the audience. I love a good triumphant dance scene as much as anyone, and very much like the darker emotion bubbling under the happy peppy show (the reveals about Dr. Sharon's sad life and Ted's father's suicide worked just fine) but this episode? So tonally off - and off-putting - with such little payoff. Ugh.
posted by mediareport at 9:26 PM on September 21 [4 favorites]


Wow, that was a complete misfire of an episode, not least because it was boring and predictable, once you realized what they were doing.

What was it that they were doing that was so boring and predictable?
posted by crossoverman at 12:36 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Surreal Night Where Nothing Makes Sense is pretty obvious when you see it, and pretty boring when you realize you're gonna be subjected to 30 minutes of it.
posted by mediareport at 1:20 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


mildly disappointed beard seemed to have endorsed a simulation view of existence; on the other hand, on a few occasions he sounded like ice bear from wee three bears. he has always been an intriguing character for his quiet depth. after bearing this episode's constant focus, he remains no less intriguing. also, while the soundtrack is routinely good, it was excellent here. the replacements! the streets! other artists! clair de lune! blue moon! other songs!

on edit: he really rocked those sparkly trousers.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:13 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


I have a bad habit of noticing the filming geography of tv shows, especially those in London.
Also I live within actual sight of Richmond, so this TV show was at high risk of my annoying nitpicking.
However, geographically it does a great job! (with the obvious caveat that Richmond doesn't have a football team)

A few random examples:
-Richmond Square (Ted's flat and the local pub) is all accurately portrayed.
-Ted and Nate walk in the correct direction to go from Ted's flat to Richmond theatre in the episode with the charity gala.
-Roy and Keeley drink coffee down by eel pie island and then walk up to nearby church street, where the doll shop is.
-Dr Sharon cycles down past thistleworth marina to twickenham bridge where she is hit by a car. Which is the correct direction for her commuting in to Richmond.

The central London scenes are pretty good, though it dots around a bit more than it should.

But what I liked is that the bus is the N22 which does indeed go from Central London to Richmond (though as noted above it would not be a classic routemaster, however it was almost certainly hired from the place in Brentford that does that.) It always annoys me when TV shows have a character jump on a bus that has the wrong number because although it's totally inconsequential it's an easy detail to check. I like it when they take the time to do that.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:26 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


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