'That Might As Well Be The First Sign of the Apocalypse': Ted Lasso, Trauma, and the Personal Apocalypse

Stacey Abbott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The first scene of Ted Lasso (2020-23) was filmed in 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19 and released on Apple TV+ in August 2020, while much of the world was still in various stages of lockdown. The series has been praised by many critics and scholars for its focus on reconstructed masculinity, healing, and kindness, set against the backdrop of British football. These themes have contributed to the perception that the show’s success was due to it espousing uplifting and positive feelings that were needed escapism during this unprecedented global experience, which was greatly informed by apocalyptic discourse. This article thus examines Ted Lasso not as escapism or as utopianism, but as a regenerative apocalyptic narrative in which many of the traumas of the real world are confronted and transformed. Close-textual analysis focuses on the characters of Rebecca Welton and Ted Lasso’s intersecting narratives of trauma and reconstruction to reframe an understanding of the apocalypse away from the global to the personal. I use this analysis to demonstrate how the series uses an apocalyptic framework to offer a path through trauma towards a culture of regeneration. Rather than providing an escape, I argue that the series offered audiences the tools to negotiate the complexities of a COVID-world. The article consequently shows how Ted Lasso represents an alternative apocalyptic narrative that undermines nihilism in favour of ‘the Lasso way’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Popular Television
Volume12
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Jun 2024

Research Group keywords

  • Horror Studies Research Group

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