Cheers for the “wanker,” the emphasis on belief, and the importance of shared drinks prove why Ted Lasso’s “Tan Lines” might be one of the most underrated episodes of the season. Or at least that’s what I’m gathering because when I first watched this one, I didn’t realize just how much was interwoven into the half-hour.
It’s the same word but different, and it’s the acute exhibition of the fact that it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. Do we all hate that this town is convinced Ted is a wanker? Absolutely. But do we feel the utter weight of positivity at this moment as they’re all cheering for the fact that Richmond won a game? You bet. Where there is belief, there is so often a great outcome. Sometimes the change is tremendous and substantial; other times, it’s as simple as one word laced with so much positivity you can’t imagine it can also be an insult.
It’s what reiterates the importance of positivity and belief, but my personal favorite message is that it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. Creativity comes with criticism, but criticism laced with malice is no longer criticism; it’s just bullying. The locals cheering for their wanker, as opposed to using it as an insult towards him is reverberated throughout the stadium because it’s laced with joy and profound appreciation now.
They might not understand it, but they feel the impact of what he has done for this team. Locals are starting to understand the importance of his presence because they are seeing the result of his influence directly. Jamie Tartt might be benched right now, but when Sam Obisanya scores the winning goal, the importance of passing the ball is not only on full display, but it is felt from the outcome of the game.
And in retrospect, it’s seen in the team’s physicality, and it’s echoed through their passion. When Ted told them to believe just a few moments ago, they did, and the spirit of that belief is transmitted all throughout because that’s how powerful it is. When risks are taken with good intentions, they are met with cheers full of both disbelief and appreciation. People judged the American football coach because he is different in London, and as we find out in “The Diamond Dogs,” if they were curious instead of judgmental, they just might have noticed that Ted has always had a lot of potential.
But nothing’s perfect, and that’s okay because somehow calling someone a wanker on a show like Ted Lasso creates a beautiful moment where one man tells another to listen to the tone. It results in a moment where the seeds they’ve planted start to sprout. It’s a scene that reminds us of the fact that this is the same show where though the f-bomb is thrown around every two seconds, most of us can still sit with our families and watch it because there’s something so indescribably wholesome about it.
Kindness is transcendent in a moment like this where we understand very clearly that cheering for their wanker verses if they were throwing insults at him would’ve sounded very differently. You don’t need a lot of words to get the message across, sometimes one word speaks volumes solely based on the tone it is delivered in.
In the same way where one word (believe) sets up the entire series’ spirit, another serves to remind us of the fact that what we say and how we say it matters tremendously. Today, London believes in the wanker. Today, the wanker is up top. Today, cheers for the wanker means that belief in someone is an extraordinarily prevailing and heartening sound.