‘Ted Lasso’ is not about what you think

David M. Perry and Matthew Gabriele over at CNN:

The breakout show of the pandemic has been Apple+’s “Ted Lasso,” now just finished with its second season. The titular character, an American college football coach who improbably finds himself coaching the fictional English football club AFC Richmond, seems to exude kindness and optimism. He comes across as a folksy rube at the beginning — the worst kind of stereotype of Americans abroad — but during the first season manages to win just about everyone over to his side even in the face of betrayal and disaster. The second season seemed to continue this trajectory, as Ted and those around him confront their inner demons.

But although the show’s superficial focus over the first two seasons has been on Ted as a “nice guy,” that’s not really what the show is about. It isn’t a happy-go-lucky dramatization of optimism, but about the work and necessity of building communities in which we draw strength from one another. The show’s tension and success stem not from its oft-touted emphasis on kindness, but from its ability to embody something that in the past would have been called caritas.
The Latin word caritas is most often translated as “charity,” but a better meaning is “love” — a certain kind of love, though, one that’s selfless, that puts others first. The “love” of the famous passage from 1 Corinthians 13 (that it is “patient,” “kind,” etc.), the staple of so many Christian weddings, for example, is translated from caritas in the Latin. This is a type of love that thinks more about others than oneself. As the 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas explained, it’s simply to “wish good to someone.”
More here.