“Ted Lasso” from Apple won an Emmy award in 2021 for being the “Best Comedy Series.” It stands out with its atmosphere and optimistic vibe. We’ll tell you you gotta give it a go in English – and it’s not just for the soccer junkies. Anyone into British and American cultures will dig it too.
Reason to watch the series #1: You’ll catch on to the differences between American and British English.
The show follows Ted Lasso, a coach for a local football team in the US. The new owner of the English club “Richmond” decides to use him in her revenge plan and offers Ted the position of head coach.So, he jets off to London, even though he’s got no clue about coaching soccer. But Ted jumps into his new gig with all his energy and spirit. He’s all about getting that club on the winner’s podium.
Imagine this: An American in England. You’ve got accents messing things up all over the place. Even before he arrives, he’s gotta wrap his head around the fact that what folks in the UK call “football” is what he knows as “soccer.” And in every episode, our main character learns a bunch of new lingo swaps.
Pitch (British English) vs field (American English)
Training vs practice
Trainers vs sneakers
Boot vs trunk of a car
Get the boot vs get fired
Trousers vs pants
Posh vs high-class
Biscuit vs cookie
While you’re watching the show, you’ll pick up words that’ll help you blend in like a pro in English-speaking situations. Like, Americans are all about sprinkling “you know” into almost every sentence. They use it when they wanna grab someone’s attention or just jazz up a conversation. On the other side, Brits are all about dropping “mate” (buddy) all the time.
Reason to check out the series #2: You’ll learn some modern slang and lingo.
There’s not a lot of soccer action in the show. It’s way more about relationships, friendships, personal stuff, and how the characters handle it all. You’ll learn some super useful words for everyday chatter that native speakers use right now. Let’s break down a few lines from the first episode. When Ted arrives and faces the press in London, he says:
“How about I go ahead and address the larger-than-average elephant in the room. No, I have never coached the sport that you folks call football. At any level. Heck, you could fill two internets with what I don’t know about football.”
To go ahead — start
An elephant in the room — an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about. Ted exaggerated by adding “larger-than-average” to it.
The very first evening, Ted calls his family back home. When asked how things are, he answers:
“Well, so far so good. You know?”
So far so good — used to say that an activity has gone well until now.
Ted didn’t sleep the entire flight to England, was busy as a beaver the whole day, but when he finally went to sleep:
“Shoot. Now I can’t sleep.”
To shoot — to fire, like a gun. But here, as an exclamation, it’s used to show that you are annoyed when you do something stupid or when something goes wrong (to avoid saying ‘shit’)
Reason to dive in #3: You’ll catch onto that subtle British humor and crack jokes like a stand-up comic.
The humor in the show is seriously top-notch. No surprise, really, because it was written by comedians with a ton of experience in writing, performing, and creating major comedic projects. Plus, the role of Coach Lasso is played by Jason Sudeikis, a regular on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and an impersonator of Joe Biden.
The series is loaded with puns and cultural jokes. After a failed game, Ted says to one of the players:
You beating yourself up is like Woody Allen playing the clarinet. I don’t wanna hear it. All right?
Woody Allen is a well-known film director, actor, and comedian. Mentioning that he plays the clarinet adds some humor, as it’s a nod to an activity where extraordinary mastery isn’t expected of him. By the way, Woody Allen is really into music. So much so that for years, he used to play the clarinet with his New Orleans Jazz group every Monday.
Joke during a training session:
“That fella looked like a kitty cat when it gets spooked by a cucumber.”
This joke’s based on that viral internet clip where people put cucumbers near cats. When cats turned around and saw the cucumber, they often freaked out, jumping or darting away as if the cucumber was some kind of threat.
Reason to watch Ted Lasso #4: You’ll catch cultural nuances.
The series pretty much nails all the stereotypes about Americans and Brits. The most popular joke from the show touches on the geography of the UK:
Ted Lasso: “He’s from Wales? Is that a country?”
Coach Beard: “Yes and no.”
Ted Lasso: “How many countries are in this country?
Coach Beard: “Four.”
And what do you think Americans feel about tea? Right, they’re not big fans. Time for a listening exercise. Watch this short video and try to get the joke:
How do you take your tea? — How much milk and/or sugar do you normally put in your tea?
When in Rome — a shortened version of the saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” meaning you should adapt to local customs.
Get used to — get accustomed to.
Reason #5: You’ll level up your leadership qualities.
This series is like a collection of life advice for any situation: relationship issues, parent-child stuff, finding yourself, burnout – you name it. With every 20-minute episode, you’re becoming a better version of yourself.
The show also offers a great example of leadership qualities. Ted solves all the players’ problems and helps the team succeed, even when no one believes in him. Here are five rules you can learn from the football coach.
Be a goldfish
During his very first practice, Ted Lasso uses a comparison to a goldfish to encourage his players not to dwell on mistakes.
You know what the happiest animal in the world is? It’s a goldfish. It’s got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish!
Build rapport with everyone
As a leader, Ted Lasso cares about every person he works with. He shows genuine interest in everyone. For instance, Ted surprises Nate, the equipment manager, by being the only person in the club who remembers his name and shows real interest.
Create a comfortable environment
Ted Lasso isn’t afraid to admit when he doesn’t know something and makes mistakes. His openness creates an environment where others feel comfortable opening up and sharing their thoughts and feelings.
Nathan: “If Dani needs motivation, we could always just show him his goddamn paycheck.”
Ted: “I mean, that’s a tad aggressive, you know. But hey, I shouldn’t bring an umbrella to a brainstorm, so I appreciate you getting the ball rolling, Nate.”
The joke with “brainstorm” is that it sounds like “storm.” Ted cleverly played with this expression originally, but in translation, it’s a bit lost.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable
Ted Lasso knows that nothing special happens in the comfort zone. He faces challenges when doing something new and emphasizes how crucial it is for leaders to embrace change.
Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, probably doing it wrong.
Success is different
Ted’s got this unique way of looking at success.:
For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.
“Ted Lasso” is a fantastic series to boost your English to an Advanced level. The well-written dialogues with wordplay and numerous pop culture references are hard to translate, so make sure to watch this show in its original language!