Be curious, not judgemental

Three weeks ago, I already had more streaming services than I wanted.1 I was adamant that I would not be adding more. No, not even Paramount+, which is streaming the Real World New York reunion2 I want to see with the intensity of a 1,000 suns, which is in direct competition with my intensity to not add another service, which is at the 1,001 suns level.

If I had nothing but endless unoccupied time, I still could not make it through all of the shows I’ve flagged on the services I have. There is too much content out there for any one life. Sure, most of it is kinda “meh” but I cannot complain about the volume of shows to watch.3

What I have right now — or, rather, had right then — was enough. Dayenu.

You know where this is going, yes? Long story short, no one would shut up about how good Ted Lasso is. I did not believe it could be that good because nothing is for everyone and everyone was in love with the same show. That’s just statistically impossible. Then one night, when everything was bringing me down for no reason, I was, like, screw it. I’ll watch the first episode with my AppleTV+ free trial. Its charm will be lost on me, I’ll cancel the service, and move on with my life.

Ted Lasso is so good, you guys. So, so good.

It’s a show that should not work at all. The premise is based on a couple of promo spots Jason Sudeikis did for one of the sports networks when they launched their coverage of Premiere League soccer. In those spots, Lasso is a chowderhead American football coach whose knowledge of footie is non-existent. As ads go, they do the job they are asked to do.

The idea that you could somehow turn them into a series is absolutely silly. There’s no there there. Once you’ve told the joke three times — and Lasso himself is really the joke in the ads — there’s nothing much left to do other than turn off the lights and go home.

Instead, what the creators did was expand Lasso’s world4 and people it with other characters who are just as interesting. Then they cast actors who could imbue their roles with a fundamental humanity that a viewer can feel, even when these flawed characters are making mistakes. Without this cast and the writers, there’s no way Lasso would work.

Even with that, it still shouldn’t be as good as it is. There are plot holes bigger than soccer goals and your disbelief needs to stay pretty dang suspended — but that doesn’t matter. There’s a magic here that makes all of the technical flaws irrelevant. It shouldn’t work; it does work and is magnificent.

It’s charming without being twee. It is child-like while also being decidedly for adults. The plot is predictable, except when it isn’t. And it is all about how Britain is a totally different country except that it isn’t. It’s so good, you guys. And it pains me to say that.

Since I went ahead and paid for a month of AppleTV+, I started Long Way Up, which caps off the Ewan McGregor/Charlie Boorman documentary series about epic motorcycle trips. The first two (Long Way Down and Long Way Round) are enjoyable enough, even though my brain stops paying attention when they start talking about the bikes.5 True confession: I watched the first one when it came out because I have a thing for Ewan McGregor.6 I stuck with them because a) McGregor seems like a smart, chill traveling companion and he and Boorman seem to take delight in spending time together.

Long Way Up chronicles their trip from the tip of Argentina north to L.A. They’ve chosen to use electric vehicles for this journey. And while the technology is pretty good for cars and trucks, it isn’t there yet for motorcycles, which has so far made the first few episode more about the bikes than I, personally, care for. But I get the feeling it’ll pick up soon.

The other thing I’m certain to watch is Boys’ State,7 which I’ve wanted to see since it first came out but, as stated, was firm in my No More Streaming Services stance. But now that I have AppleTV+, *shrugging.gif.* Might as well, you know?

Quickly (and unrelated to the above but I don’t want you to miss out): If you are looking for something odd and wonderful to show up in your in-box every day, take a minute to subscribe to Craig Mod’s Where Are All the Nightingales. Just trust me on this.

What have you been resisting lately? Do you have a foolproof way to manage all of your streaming content? Let me know.

Leave a comment

1

Right now, what I really want is one app to unite them all. You know, like a button I can push to see all of my playlists across all of the services I have so that I don’t have to rely on my memory about what I wanted to watch/was watching/has a new season. TV has become less about entertainment and more about information management.

2

Most of my memories from the end of college to the beginning of my professional life revolve around what season of the Real World was on in the background. For a few years there, I racked up interviews with former cast members. My two favorites were Kevin Powell, who very gracious, and Dominic from Los Angeles, who hit on me.

3

Which reminds me of the joke whose punchline is: and such small portions!

4

They also made him significantly more engaging and less of a doofus

5

I’m sure many people are there to hear about the bikes — but I am not a gear head, as I’ve mentioned.

6

which all sensible folkx attracted to men should be.

7

In high school, I did speech, debate, and model congress events because nerd. I grew up in PA, tho, where they didn’t get too aggro about it. Texas, however, is a whole other universe.