Ted Lasso: Smells Like Mean Spirit
March 14, 2023 6:57 PM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Everyone is picking Richmond to finish dead last.

Ted inspires the team to let the poopy flow through. Nate tries to Nate, but Ted's innate Tedness outTeds him. Roy and Keely have broken up, for no good reason.
posted by Etrigan (58 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I needed this show today, had a crappy day and it seems to be out a daily early?

"Feels like a potentially troublesome sentence to see in this setting, but I appreciate you."
"To my country's political landscape? Not so much."

LEGO TEAM AND LEGO TROPHY IS GODDAMNED ADORABLE, the hair! The stubble! Nate lurking in the back?! WHERE IS MY TED LASSO SET, LEGO?!

"It's the sticking around I can't quite figure out....Maybe my sticking around is hurting more than helping, you know?" I read somewhere people are assuming the show ends with Ted going back to America, sounds like foreshadowing.

"You finally got off." "Not yet, I didn't!" Hahahahahahaha score girl.
"Did you tell her to piss off?" "No, she was a nun."
"I had to explain to my son exactly why cocaine is bad for you."
"Hey Coach, how come you never hear of an overdog?"


"One man's grope is another woman's gain." Keeley has a Matt Lauer-esque office!

Even Paddington Bear won't give them any marmalade sandwiches!!!!

"These guys are more distracted than a bunch of cats playing laser tag."
Roy was a pundit. "All we did was talk shit and eat fucking meringues."
Oh, he lives here? "Ever since his cult got shut down....he was the leader of one."
"I've been saying corporate flying object because it makes me laugh."


"Just because my name is Disco doesn't mean we're here to party, yeah?"

Way to have a Window of Evil behind you, Rupert!

"I'll go and smoke some toad venom while we wait."
"He'll be forever changed...but he can drive, yeah."

"Roy Kent, is that you?" "GET FUCKED!" "That's definitely him. Get that on Twitter."
"Why are you dressed like an umlaut?"
"I've had this dry-cleaned six times."

I love how they set up "You've got enough videos on your iPad to not need to watch anyone else's, right?" and then explain why.

Wow, Nate, still working that dark side for all it's worth, eh.


Oh Ted, walked your way into that photo op.
Oh, Rebecca's face at Ted's responses....
"Let Ted be Ted," says Keeley.

"I look like Ned Flanders is doing cosplay as Ned Flanders."

I concur that Roy and Keeley have apparently broken up for no reason, other than possibly her job.
That kid just made me so sad with "one of my core beliefs is nothing lasts forever." Even the kid thinks it's a bad idea.

"But you can still be friends, right?" (Ted moves the Nate Lego.) me: sniffles.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:54 PM on March 14, 2023 [7 favorites]

There are so many small delights in this show, like catching whatever silly or fun thing that Will (the kitman) is up to in the background. Watching him trying to balance a water bottle on one bent knee while trying to stay upright on his other leg made me laugh during the team practice scene :)
posted by vespertine at 9:56 PM on March 14, 2023 [5 favorites]

Roy's being dumb — following up on his strange instinct that Keeley is headed for the big time and he can't measure up. So he's initiating a breakup on a pretense. Keeley is going along with it — perhaps knowing that he'll realize his stupidity and come back eventually.

GF and I argued about how Nate is eventually going to redeem himself. The only true villain on this show is Rupert, and there's no way that they'll end the story with “and then Nate was an asshole for the rest of his life.” Somehow he'll purge that toxicity. GF thinks he'll have to lose or get fired from West Ham or something, like he'll have to hit rock bottom to realize how toxic his thought patterns are; but I think it'll have to be something positive, like finally getting the attention he wants from his own dad.

The dynamic between Rebecca and Ted was a bit too sunshine-and-rainbows last season, so I like that Rebecca's desire to humiliate Rupert is going to be the the thing that brings their interests out of alignment. She seems like she'd rather beat West Ham twice and finish in the middle of the table than lose to them twice and win the league outright.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:55 PM on March 14, 2023 [6 favorites]

The striking moment for me was that when Nate started the pressed conference and got the wobbles he steadied himself by spitting. It’s such a visceral thing, and obviously not a new one.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:18 AM on March 15, 2023 [5 favorites]

My TV lineup has been pretty dark and angsty lately, so Ted Lasso coming back (and early!) was very welcome.
posted by eekernohan at 7:45 AM on March 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

What a great episode, so many really funny lines, and often one on top of another. Ted's press conference...it was a funny scene, but I realized while watching that I was mostly feeling gratitude, I need this show's heart in my life.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:55 AM on March 15, 2023 [5 favorites]

Way to have a Window of Evil behind you, Rupert!

Hee, I totally thought, "Oh look, someone stole Emperor Palpatine's window aesthetique!"

It was a long day yesterday, and I, too, benefited mightily from Apple dropping the first episode a few hours early. God bless the marketing folks, as I figure they wanted Lasso to be the topic of conversation tomorrow from the get go.

Nate will definitely return to the light side this season. I think it will happen with coming to terms with his father, and also appreciating that Ted is not his father. It was that lack of complete conditional love, without it being shared, that upset Nate so much. He thought he found a supportive father in Ted, and when Ted, being a coach, not a father, was distracted, it sent Nate into a spiral of teenage angst and frustration. Metaphorically, that is.

It's absolutely clear that by establishing Richmond as #20, this season is going to track them slowly climbing up that ladder to the championship - undoubtedly against West Ham.

I was caught off guard by the Roy and Keely break up. Wait. What. Hrm.

Ted is still continuing to question himself and I appreciated that his son was there to help snap him out of it when it came to what to do. of course, "Mom's friend, Jake!" ARGH. The sound of Ted's confidence shattering again.
posted by Atreides at 8:39 AM on March 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

Nate's gonna resent the hell out of that car by the end of the season. He'll come to see it as Rupert exerting control over him and/or reminding him that he doesn't really belong unless he stops being himself.
posted by Etrigan at 8:41 AM on March 15, 2023 [8 favorites]

Yeah, if they start losing Rupert will probably take the car back, too.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:29 AM on March 15, 2023 [3 favorites]

New household word: "poo-peh"
posted by 10ch at 9:47 AM on March 15, 2023 [12 favorites]

Why are so many people/fans convinced that Nate will get [or even deserves] a redemption arc?

I'm just curious because I don't understand the urge. Some people are just awful and don't learn positive things from their mistakes, they just stay awful .. all their lives.

Nobody seems to be clamouring for Rupert to get a 'Redemption Arc' so why Nate?
posted by Faintdreams at 2:01 PM on March 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

Why are so many people/fans convinced that Nate will get [or even deserves] a redemption arc?

Because Sudeikis and others have specifically talked about season 2 as their 'Empire Strikes Back,' and compared Nate's turn to Darth Vader. Mohammed's comment in that interview:
I think it’s absolutely intentional. We joked that when he walks to the camera it should be “The Imperial March” [playing]. But I remember that Darth Vader sort of thing, we talked about that quite a lot. And whether that means he gets to redeem himself in season three, I genuinely don’t know. On the one hand, I think we’d all like to see it as part of redemption arc. But then maybe he’s gone too far, and maybe he’ll be the one character in a show where everyone has a redemption arc, maybe he doesn’t get one. So I genuinely am intrigued as to where they’re going to go with it.
But also because Nate has been presented as redeemable, we know him much better, we know that he's a hurt person who is hurting others, and we've seen him be good, too. Rupert has only been shown as pure amoral narcissist. And with that window in his office from this episode, definitely Palpatine to Nate's Vader.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:27 PM on March 15, 2023 [6 favorites]

The striking moment for me was that when Nate started the pressed conference and got the wobbles he steadied himself by spitting. It’s such a visceral thing, and obviously not a new one.

We saw him spit in the mirror at his own image last season.
posted by Pendragon at 3:31 PM on March 15, 2023 [4 favorites]

Gosh, this episode fell almost entirely flat for me. The humour felt like it was trying too hard. The emotional stuff felt calculated. And this show seems to have finally fallen into streaming bloat, when it used to be a tight 30 minutes. (I know late S2 eps were longer, but they seemed to justify their run time. This episode dragged.)

Also, the long break between seasons mean I've almost entirely forgotten what happened in S2 and the show is pretending we're not that far removed from S2, so I'm having a hard time reconciling where everyone is.

Ugh, I don't want to be disappointed in this show. I've been looking forward to it for so long. Even the Twin Peaks reference made me laugh out loud before (over?) thinking "panic attacks aren't psychotic episodes". For a show that seemed to really respect Ted's emotional state, this joke felt too much like they wanted a laugh over whatever they were actually saying. (Ted joking about his panic attacks is a good sign of growth and a good way to deflate any criticism of him at that level, but this was not it.)

Also, Rupert is an actual cartoon villain now. And the SW references are just too heavy handed with that evil window. I respected previous seasons in-jokes but this one just tipped the show into a weird parody of itself.
posted by crossoverman at 3:33 PM on March 15, 2023 [7 favorites]

Lots of Americans complaining about the supposed error in Ted Lasso S3 referring to the "final level of Breath of the Wild" smh. They don't realise the key hint text is only visible at the superior PAL resolution of 576p – not to mention it's too difficult at NTSC's 60hz!!
posted by adrianhon at 3:50 PM on March 15, 2023 [3 favorites]

Why the redemption arc? Nate wasn't always evil. Maybe there's potential for him to come back from the dark side. Rupert has probably always been an ass.

To quote some people off Ted Lasso Reddit:

"When people get power, they often wield it in the same way it was used on them."
"Power doesn't corrupt, it reveals."

Now, maybe Nate was always a closet asshole and he was just too much of a peon to get anywhere. Or he was so terrorized by his dad/other people that that's what he learned with regards to power: you use it to shove everyone else down so that you're pushed up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:58 PM on March 15, 2023 [6 favorites]

God damned the ending of the episode has me crying, Great episode but gah!!!
posted by interogative mood at 6:31 PM on March 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

Why are so many people/fans convinced that Nate will get [or even deserves] a redemption arc? ... Nobody seems to be clamouring for Rupert to get a 'Redemption Arc' so why Nate?

It takes more than one betrayal to get Ted Lasso to give up on you. He got Jamie back; he'll get Nate back. Also, Nate only hurt Ted; Rupert hurt Rebecca, and Ted absolutely will not forgive Rupert on her behalf until she does.
posted by Etrigan at 6:31 PM on March 15, 2023 [4 favorites]

Why are so many people/fans convinced that Nate will get [or even deserves] a redemption arc?

Ted's conversation with his son about Lego-Nate towards the end of the episode ("But you can still be friends, right?" and Ted putting Lego-Nate back) feels like foreshadowing. I honestly dislike redemption arcs 99% of the time, so I am definitely not going to argue that Nate deserves one. But when the writers seem to signalling at least the possibility of redemption here, I'm not surprised people are picking up on that and expecting it.

On the episode in general: I didn't laugh very much at this at all. I'm not sure why. I've been watching quite a few other comedies that are at the mid-season or end of season, where everything feels like a well-oiled machine, with the humor just building and building over the course of an episode, and this did not feel like that at all to me. Maybe it was mostly meant to be a setup to the rest of the season, and it wasn't meant to be particularly funny. Or maybe I was just bummed that we had two different press room scenes, a lot of insult jokes, and no Trent Crimm, Independent (unless I missed him somewhere.)
posted by creepygirl at 12:37 AM on March 16, 2023 [4 favorites]

creepygirl, there was no Trent Crimm, Independent (I think he got canned at the end of last season for something plot-related?) but there was a different reporter from the Independent, which got a reaction both from my couch and from the rest of the press. I do miss him, though.
posted by Night_owl at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2023 [4 favorites]

Trent Crimm got fired because he burned Nate as his source to Ted, transitioning from "Trent Crimm, the Independent" to "Trent Crimm, independent" (a joke both Ted Lasso and Trent's dad made). The actor has alluded to returning for S3.
posted by Etrigan at 8:25 AM on March 16, 2023 [8 favorites]

My big problem with this episode: what the hell is up with Keely’s office environment?? Excepting her own office, I mean. I know a lot of people who work at PR firms, and that is NOT the vibe they have. That looked and felt like the office of a refrigerator coolant manufacturer or something. Sure, that venture capital company sent her the CFO, but presumably she hired the rest of them, right? So why do they all have a vibe like they just came from a funeral for a distant aunt?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:50 AM on March 16, 2023 [3 favorites]

I think one more reason, not really spoken to about why there would be an expectation of a Nate Redemption (Natedemption?), is because this is Ted Lasso. This is a show about people finding the best in themselves, be it Jaimie overcoming his own dad issues and becoming a more selfless player, to Roy Kent, giving a damn about more and more things. It's about characters growing, such as Rebecca sharing this episode to Keely. This is the formula of the show. The seats turn red, leaving behind the negativity written on them by upset fans because of their proximity to Ted. Nate is definitely not going to be left a villain.

...but we all need a real villain for our good guys to triumph over, so we have Rupert, and since he's played by Anthony Head, he's a villain with charm at times.
posted by Atreides at 8:54 AM on March 16, 2023 [7 favorites]

I can't believe Trent won't be back for something this season. He could probably burn Rupert at some point (no way that guy doesn't have shady bullshit going on). He could burn Nate, but coach being abusive (as it seems likely) is pretty much on par for the profession I'm not sure how much mileage you get on that, and I'm not sure the public cares that he ratted on Ted, plus it doesn't fit the redemption arc.

What I like about this show is that it doesn't double down on drama, we see adults resolving conflicts by realizing when they were wrong and dealing with it, to a point where it's crazy fictional, but it's so soothing.

Also I'm wondering if they'll reintroduce the teacher from his niece's class who was semi flirting with Roy in S02 now that he isn't with Keely. Maybe just enough for Roy to realize that's not what was meant to be?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:20 AM on March 16, 2023 [3 favorites]

I'm seriously wondering if Keeley was allowed to hire her own people if the CFO was forced upon her by whoever funded this. Maybe the rest of the team was too? I have no clue on this kind of thing and I thought it didn't make sense in the first place that someone would force you to hire someone, but maybe that's a standard at British PR firms for all I know?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:59 AM on March 16, 2023

I recall seeing Trent Crimm briefly in some of the S3 promo material, he'll be back in some role. (Hopefully. And hopefully not just a phone call scene like Dr. Sharon's.)
posted by LooseFilter at 12:25 PM on March 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

I think I vaguely read somewhere he'll be in it more? Like he's writing a book or something? Don't recall where I saw that, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2023

I don't think we've seen the last of Doctor Sharon.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:46 PM on March 16, 2023 [7 favorites]

Maybe Keeley’s going to get her own “how to be the boss” arc.
posted by sixswitch at 3:45 PM on March 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

Maybe Nate’s redemption arc brings him back to Richmond, which frees up Roy to be Keeley’s executive assistant, so no one fucks with Keeley about shit like flower expenses and they are also spending enough time together to warrant getting back together.
posted by snofoam at 3:36 AM on March 17, 2023 [1 favorite]

I rewatched season 2 to refresh my memory before this season started, and I noticed something. Each season starts and ends with a close up of a character’s face. Season one, episode one, the first thing we see (after the establishing “this show is about soccer” action shots) is Rebecca staring at a painting. That season ends with a close up on her face after Ted spit fizzy water on her. Season Two starts and ends with close-ups on Nate’s face. Season 3 started with a close up on Ted, so now I’m very curious what the last shot of this season will be. I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this, but I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere.
posted by mcdoublewide at 6:47 AM on March 17, 2023 [14 favorites]

I don't think Nate will be a villain indefinitely, if only because Apple doesn't let true bad guys use iPhones. No really, they don't.
posted by 41swans at 7:22 AM on March 17, 2023 [6 favorites]

I have nothing to add other than thinking KJPR is an exceptionally clunky name for a public relations firm. Like it does the very opposite of rolling off one's tongue.
posted by Kyol at 8:59 AM on March 17, 2023 [3 favorites]

Yes, KJPR sounds much more like a radio station to me. In fact, it's a public radio on AM in Redding, California.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:28 AM on March 17, 2023 [7 favorites]

I legitimately thought when Rebecca walked into that office, Is Keeley working for an American TV station?
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on March 17, 2023 [5 favorites]

My prediction for this season is it ends with a Richmond-West Ham relegation playoff. Ted v Nate, where Ted accepts Nate generously, says let the best man win, and then beats him. This puts Nate to the test, can he accept defeat graciously?
posted by eyeofthetiger at 12:03 PM on March 17, 2023 [3 favorites]

Gosh, this episode fell almost entirely flat for me. The humour felt like it was trying too hard. The emotional stuff felt calculated.

Yeah I struggled with it too. It seemed like they tried to cram in too much stuff as well. Hopefully everything resolves itself in the next one.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:50 PM on March 17, 2023 [1 favorite]

Not enough Coach Beard.
posted by minsies at 5:42 AM on March 18, 2023 [4 favorites]

Dang, sexy man, Dr. Sharon! Go girl!

Michelle should have told Ted that there was a man in her life, ESPECIALLY before letting their kid meet him. Dick move, Michelle.


I think Ted is going to move back to Kansas (or at least back to the States) at the end of this season because he needs to be with his kid. And that will be the end of the show and while that will make me sad, I also don't think it needs to go on forever.
posted by cooker girl at 8:42 AM on March 18, 2023 [8 favorites]

Agreed it probably ends with Ted back in Kansas, can’t give up on his kid, especially with the history with his dad.

And while the Redmond team will be sad, it’ll not be the worst thing because they’re not sad alone.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 1:09 PM on March 18, 2023 [5 favorites]

I think it's always been designed as a three season show. At least where Ted is concerned. If Apple want it to continue, it can just be called Richmond. Or something.
posted by crossoverman at 9:59 PM on March 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

I think Ted is going to move back to Kansas (or at least back to the States) at the end of this season because he needs to be with his kid.

Much of this show is about relationships between men, and precedent set by their relationship with their fathers - so I assume that while up to now Ted's relationship with his son has played a minor role, I also think it will play a larger role in tying everything up.
posted by entropone at 5:36 AM on March 19, 2023 [3 favorites]

Maybe Michelle's "friend" will be revealed to actually only be her friend, like the song "I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby," with all the angst for nothing
posted by wenestvedt at 6:37 AM on March 19, 2023 [1 favorite]

‘Ted Lasso’: How Versace and ‘Star Wars’ Influenced the Production Design of Rupert’s Office

Excellent interview!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:34 AM on March 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

What amazes me is that someone -- pretty high up, too -- at West Ham must have said, "Yeah, no, we don't mind being The Empire in your fish-out-of-water, soccer-football male-angst comedy show. Go head and make us look evil and whatnot!"
posted by wenestvedt at 9:06 AM on March 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

Yeah, and how long ago did they agree? Like, how long has West Ham been a named and real opponent for AFC Richmond? Did they agree when it was just a weird little streaming show that nobody had ever heard of, or did they agree when it was one of Apple TV's premiere shows?
posted by Kyol at 10:14 AM on March 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

Brett Goldstein Faces Life After ‘Lasso’ [NYT / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 10:16 AM on March 21, 2023 [3 favorites]

I recall seeing Trent Crimm briefly in some of the S3 promo material, he'll be back in some role.

James Lance (Trent Crimm — The Independent) was playing himself during the cast's Whitehouse visit.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:10 PM on March 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

Yes, and I was mad he didn’t introduce himself as “independent”.
posted by Night_owl at 5:07 AM on March 22, 2023 [4 favorites]

late to the party on this, too, watched the first two last night.

absolutely Nate gets the redemption arc -- prediction, he guides West Ham to an absolute butt-kicking of the Greyhounds in their first meetup, but for some reason has a falling-out with Giles (sorry, he's still Giles for me) and Ted takes him back into the fold, where he comes up with the strategy to beat West Ham in the championship, rub it Giles' face, and then takes over as Richmond's coach when Ted returns to the States.

Utterly predictable, yes, but this show isn't about surprises, it's about making us feel good, and what could be better?
posted by martin q blank at 9:06 AM on March 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

I didn't think this was a very good episode. Fortunately I had a few more I hadn't seen yet, so I just moved on. This felt forced and like the characters were even more cartoonish than usual. Glad I stuck with it after this one.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:48 PM on March 26, 2023

Finally started up Season 3, and was pleasantly surprised at how good this episode was (although BOO ROY BE BETTER! obvs) after knowing nothing other than people saying that the season starts rough and then turns for the better later on.

Why are so many people/fans convinced that Nate will get [or even deserves] a redemption arc?

Because the show is about, more than anything else, redemption. Ted as a coach doesn't know anything about soccer and doesn't particularly care about learning more, because that's what Beard and Roy are there to handle. Ted sees his job as helping people to be the best version of themselves.

That's why Season 1 was about first getting Roy there, then Rebecca, and finally Jamie. Along the way they found time to recognize Nate's talents and bring him up. Then in Season 2 Ted was so in the woods fighting his own demons that he missed Nate's downturn and, though Nate was never reasonably Ted's responsibility in that way, Ted will still see it that way, and we've known Nate long enough to know that there's more to him than the asshole he feels like he has to be in order to get the approval he's starving for.

Basically, in Buffy terms, Nate's redemption is the Big Bad that the series has been building towards all along. And if they decide that Nate is too far gone (and I highly doubt that) then it won't be like Ted beating Rupert at darts. It'll be a deeply sad ending for everyone involved. Because in his heart, Ted would rather finish 20th and save Nate's soul than win the League and lose him.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 PM on May 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

Also, I don't know how it only just now occurred to me, since I don't think the show has been trying to hide the ball about this or anything, but Nate's "Total Dick" mode really does seem to be him still chasing the high of acceptance and approval that he got from that pre-game roast that he gave the players before the Everton match in Season 1. (And of course I'm writing this at a point in which I haven't seen past this episode and maybe this has been addressed in the show already, but whatever...)

In any case, in that scene, he was 1. Punching Up, 2. Acting on Ted's encouragement, 3. The laughs he got were based around the context of it, and 4. He had been working on those thoughts for a while beforehand. All of which come into play over the rest of the series.

1. Punching Up: He was doing this as the Kit Man, until very recently relentlessly bullied by Jamie and his side-pricks, Colin and Isaac. He was addressing pro-footballers whom he clearly idolized. In Season 2, when he's belittling Will, or railing against Colin, it's as a Coach, and the dynamic is clearly different, but Nate doesn't get that, presumably because he still feels so small in comparison to those around him and the roast was so key to him getting the position to begin with.

2. Acting on Ted's Encouragement: Ted being who he is, the fact that he read what Nate was going to say and okayed it, in fact instructed Nate to say it himself, gave the roast the seal of "This is going to be okay, and will be taken with love." Which it was! But then, throughout Season 2, Nate was largely flying blind because Ted was too distracted to see what was happening with him, and we know from Nate's mouth that he felt abandoned by that (which is wildly narcissistic, obviously, but I'm not trying to condone Nate here, just following the throughline of his behavior.)

3. Dependent on Context: Richmond needed a shake-up to get out of their funk that was telling them they couldn't win at Everton. Everything was tense as hell. The nature of the roast was necessary to break through to them and, again, it was coming from the most unlikely source. So what he was saying was mean, but that meanness was the medium that was going to work to get across the message of "you've got the tools to do this." When Colin came to him in Season 2 to find out what the beef was, Nate's speech to him was all about "you're not as talented as you think you are." It was absolutely de-motivational in every respect, meant not to encourage but to put Colin in his place.

4. Pre-written: This is a big one and it's haunting to me now that I've realized it. In the "confession" scene at Wembley in Season 2, Nate's confession is that he'll act like he has ideas in the spur of the moment when he's been pondering them for months. At the time, this reads like a non-confession that can barely passably fly when Ted, Higgins, Roy and Beard are all being actually vulnerable (which it is! Nate is already pondering how to use what he's just learned in that scene!) but I think it also matters more to Nate than we may have realized. Ted (Nate's mentor whose approval meant the world to him) has a major talent for speaking off-the-cuff. Aside from his positivity it's maybe his most apparent characteristic. And Nate can't do that. He can only fake it. And nobody but Nate expects him to be able to. But since it's what his mentor is so naturally good at, it fuels Nate's imposter syndrome that he himself doesn't have a knack for it.

We see this then play out in a couple of ways repeatedly throughout the series. First, when he's put before cameras and has to come up with something. We saw that in this episode, where he had a panic attack of his own to mirror Ted's in the pilot, had one "good" joke, which we saw him come up with before the press conference but which he played off as if he thought it up on the fly then and there, but the rest of his answers were hopelessly limp. But also, we saw it in Season 2 with the "Wonder Kid" thing, which was barely even a gaffe and which gave him a very flattering nickname but which Nate is incapable of seeing as anything but a fuck-up. (Did he start greying his hair in order to get rid of this nickname? Seems plausible!)

But the other side of this is in moments like tearing into Colin, where it's clear to me now that he didn't just come up with that speech, but rather had had it locked and loaded for when the opportunity arose. Similarly with his "fuck you Ted Lasso" speech - that's something he'd been practicing in his head long before he got the chance to speak it out loud.

Which then all comes back to my favorite part of the episode last night: Ted's press conference, which I now realize was an homage to the "Big Nose" scene in Roxanne. Through the tv, Ted first acknowledges Nate's strengths, which are very real (we know that Roy and Keeley's dumb-ass breakup is in part because Roy doesn't feel capable of the kinds of strategy that Nate can devise and it scares the hell out of him), and then Ted follows up by rapid-fire clowning on himself better than Nate ever could, hoping to show Nate that he doesn't need to do that, his talents are elsewhere, etc.

Once again, I think Nate missed the lesson, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:08 AM on May 5, 2023 [4 favorites]

OH AND ONE MORE THING. Anthony Head will always be Giles first and foremost to me, and Giles is, more than anything else, maybe TV's best-ever depiction of an imperfect but wonderful, loving found-family father figure. So seeing Head play such a sick inversion of that, this sociopath using someone's need for a father-figure to his own manipulative ends, being outwardly charming while clearly not giving a solitary shit about them in reality, is fucking chilling.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

Ah, thanks to Manchild I now associate Anthony Head characters as being sleazy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:23 PM on May 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

Navelgazer all of that is absolutely spot on. Especially about Nate feeling ashamed of his inability to ad lib.
posted by Zumbador at 8:25 PM on June 17, 2023

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