Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 7: What makes it more comfort TV than ever

Ted Lasso season 2, episode 7. Image via Apple TV+
Ted Lasso season 2, episode 7. Image via Apple TV+ /

Ted Lasso is a critically-acclaimed comedy that everyone kept ordering me to watch, calling it things like “pure joy” and “comfort TV.” But what the Apple TV+ series is brilliantly doing is covering up its own very serious messaging and melancholy with all of the aforementioned sweetness—just like its title character.

Ted is nothing if not a genuinely good person. There’s probably not much more than can be said about what Jason Sudeikis brings to the character in terms of comedic timing, inspiration, and just that special something that might even feel like hope in a dark world.

And yet, as was made painfully and horribly obvious at the end of season 2, episode 6, he’s really so very human, just trying to put one foot in front of the other. We constantly learn, the hard way, that the people who struggle the most are sometimes the ones who show it the least—the ones who compensate the most by always being everyone else’s…everything.

Sometimes, we spend so much of our time acting like everything’s fine, we can’t do anything else but act….which brings us to Ted Lasso Season 2, Episode 7, “Headspace.”

Ted’s three visits with Dr. Fieldstone, somehow, packed more realism into a short episode of television than even some of the best hour-long dramas have ever been able to manage. But it’s a “comedy,” though.

Ted Lasso
Sarah Niles in “Ted Lasso” season two, now streaming on Apple TV+. /

Ted Lasso season 2, episode 7 wasn’t joy. But it was still comfort food.

The first step to healing what ails you is always recognizing that you need help—which Ted did when he booked his first therapy appointment. But it’s what comes after that’s much more difficult, and “Headspace” nailed that on so many levels. The biggest one? It was relatable, every step of the way.

The coach’s first appointment is all about putting on the same show as usual: He’s “feeling a lot better,” fidgeting, cracking jokes, and even just rambling in nonsense.

The jokes would land if we, as viewers, hadn’t just seen Ted’s suffering at the end of the series’s previous installment. And in some ways? They sort of still do…

But with context, they just hurt. When the therapist asks him about the night when he swiftly exited a match and was found alone in the dark, he bails.

"Yeah, I don’t want to do this."

Because it’s scary—downright terrifying, really—to go anywhere near what hurts us, especially when we spend so long locking it away, denying that it’s even real. When confronted, we run.

We continue relying on the hiding that’s worked for us so well for so long, exactly as Ted Lasso did when he went right back to coaching, right back to being the team’s leader and all-around funny guy.

What else do we do when we don’t want to confront our demons? We lash out. We make ourselves the demon, so to speak. This, of course, was what happened in Ted’s second appointment.

"Because I think it’s bullsh—. You don’t know me; we don’t have history. And yet, you just expect me to spill my guts about all the gory details of my life. Fights, the mistakes, my big, dark secrets. But you ain’t listening because you care about me. No. You’re only listening to me because you’re paid to listen to me. You’re getting paid to just jot down your little notes, diagnose my tears…You’ll probably just blame it on my folks, right? I mean, you say you’re only interested in the truth. And yet, here you are, charging an hourly rate for only 50 minutes of work. Like I said, it’s bullsh—."

The outburst is not just about the “fight or flight” response that Dr. Fieldstone mentioned later. The “fight” that Ted chose was a valid one and one that so many people in need of mental healthcare have to grapple with.

As if our problems weren’t painful and isolating enough, we have to pay for someone to listen to them. Because everyone else is dealing with their own problems, or maybe because they just don’t care.

As a series, Ted Lasso has never made the case that people don’t care about other people—quite the opposite, really. But it’s certainly something that far too many of us feel, every second of every day.

It loops back to that idea of the guy—Ted, in this case—who’s there for everyone, stretching himself thin and trying so hard to make sure that no one is left alone in the dark, turning around and realizing there’s no one to stand shoulder to shoulder with him when he is the one who needs help.

The series is pretty clear about Ted actually having a support system, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see when you’re in crisis. It doesn’t make the shame go away either.

There’s a real conversation to be had here about why, especially in places like the U.S.—not, as far as quick research seems to indicate in London where the series is actually set—healthcare of any kind, especially for mental health, is so crushingly expensive. And yet, as Dr. Fieldstone points out, making a living doesn’t always equate with a lack of care.

Even by the time Ted and his therapist have come to some kind of understanding, “Headspace” doesn’t magically make all of his problems go away. We don’t get better after just a few chats, and the writers at Ted Lasso clearly know that.

Honestly, Ted hasn’t even fully taken that first step in admitting he needs help. He’s honest with himself and his therapist, yet not the public at large. The cover story for leaving that last match is, after all, still “food poisoning.”

Certainly, the press doesn’t deserve to know a public figure’s every deep, dark secret. Especially not if they’re going to be exploitative about it…But at the same time, we still see the same, old Ted Lasso in that pub: A little bit of over-sharing and quick wit as he sweeps all the ugliness under the rug, hoping no one will see.

It’s a bittersweet sort of one step forward, two steps back progress. Which, of course…is exactly how it goes in real life.

Next. Freema Agyeman is grossly underrated. dark

Maybe we should take a look at the whole “pure joy” recommendation we give to people to get them to start this series and correct it: It’s that reassuring hug, at the end of the day, that tells you you’re never actually alone. That, all things considered, still makes it count as a heartwarming kind of show…right?

Ted Lasso Season 2 is now streaming on Apple TV+.