Gordon Monson: Even if you hate profanity, do yourself and your world a favor: Watch — or rewatch — ‘Ted Lasso’

I swear you’ll love the show — with its bighearted, unapologetic focus on forgiveness, acceptance, decency, empathy and care for fellow human beings.

(Photo: Business Wire) Scene from the second season of “Ted Lasso."

If hearing a whole lot of swearwords on TV shows and in movies is not your thing, if it’s hard on your ears and roughs up your sensitivities or sense of morality and propriety, enough so that it prevents you from watching or even thinking about watching such entertainment, let me make a suggestion and ask you to make an exception.

Throw your #&$@$#*#-ing sensitivities to the wind. It’s worth it — at least on some occasions, for some shows.

Here’s one of them: “Ted Lasso.” Seems like half the planet already has done this. You should, too.

Ignore what Grandma used to say about intemperate language, what your bishop or pastor says now. Suspend what offends you and just do it.

Let me back up for a second. Profane words are not my usual or favorite form of expression. I don’t use them — much — and I play a lot of golf and hit enough impure shots to certainly permit them. Even God gives license for that while playing Satan’s game.

Working in the world of sports for nearly half a century now, I’ve heard in the heat of competition every kind of colorful combo of swearing imaginable and some that were unimaginable.

I covered Jerry Sloan’s coaching career for two decades, and I still stand completely amazed at how he strung expletives together in such a creative, artistic way. It could be compared with Monet brushing up his paintings. Only in Sloan’s verbal illustrations, the “Bathers at La Grenouillere,” “Women in the Garden” and even the “Water Lilies” were doing anatomically impossible things to themselves.

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jerry Sloan yells to his players during a game in 2009.

That’s the way they do impressionism downtown.

Whoever said the f-bomb is the most versatile word in the English language — able to be used as a verb, a noun, an adjective, a bit of punctuation — was on the money.

And while such words, compound or otherwise, can be used to add emphasis, anger, antipathy, fear, wonder, excitement, exasperation, declaration, humor to communication, they’re still not my chosen way. No, no, really. I swear. I especially don’t prefer hearing them inside my home, typically a place of calm and peace.

But I can’t tell you, not with any exactness, how much I love the show “Ted Lasso.” Loved it, still love it. Think I’m going to go back and watch it all again. The conclusion of a three-season run — with more to come, maybe? — aired a few weeks ago and it was, like almost all of the episodes, masterful. You can go back and watch all the episodes on Apple TV+.

Don’t let a few, err, a few million, cuss words stop you.

What ‘Ted Lasso’ is about

(Photo: Business Wire) Emmy-winning “Ted Lasso" show.

The show centers on a tenderhearted-yet-sometimes-troubled American football coach who goes to the United Kingdom and rather improbably ends up as the manager of an English soccer club, AFC Richmond. When it comes to the beautiful game, the character of Ted, played by the Emmy-winning Jason Sudeikis, has no clue what he’s doing, but what he does understand in ever-increasing increments is what’s most important in life. He knows how to treat people, even as he learns how to treat himself.

He rarely uses vulgarities. He leaves that to virtually everyone else on the show.

And the swearing — as well as an entire list of other human foibles — actually endears the cast of characters to viewers, regardless of what sort of prim-and-proper linguistic tidiness to which viewers might be accustomed.

Every other word out of Roy Kent’s mouth starts with the letter “F.” And there’s no way to dislike the former player turned assistant coach (played by another Emmy victor, Brett Goldstein). Go ahead and try; it’s impossible, even though he growls as much as he cusses. Another assistant, known as Coach Beard (again, Emmy-honoree Brendan Hunt), joins in on the symphony of swearing in his own quirky fashion, as does club owner Rebecca Welton (yet another Emmy winner, Hannah Waddingham), striker Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), team publicist Keeley Jones (Emmy nominee Juno Temple), reporter/author Trent Crimm (Emmy nominee James Lance), and so many others.

(Willy Sanjuan/Invision | AP)Brett Goldstein, from left, Toheeb Jimoh, Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, all members of the cast of "Ted Lasso," pose for a portrait in Los Angeles in March 2023.

This is what to praise — and stirs reasons to encourage those who haven’t watched the show to dial in — about “Ted Lasso”: It’s a series focused on believing in fellow humans, on forgiveness, on acceptance, on decency, on empathy, on facing your own problems and allowing others to do the same, on acknowledging the undulations in the human condition and making an effort to handle them, to help others handle them.

A notable part of the show happens when a handful of male characters periodically huddle up in the coach’s office, convening in special session to confidentially spill their personal relationship troubles and seek advice from the others, while — no lie — barking away. It’s a respectful, reverent consortium of dudes who leave condemnation, backbiting and gossip at the door. They call themselves the “Diamond Dogs.” Who in the rugged course of real day-to-day living wouldn’t want a trusted group of friends in the workplace like that?

Diamond Dogs, unite! Raar-raar-raah.

For that matter, there are a thousand other gems in the mix — too many to list here.

Episodes hit their mark

(Apple TV+ via AP) This image shows Jason Sudeikis in “Ted Lasso."

A scene I’ve mentioned before, one that encapsulates a primary message of “Ted Lasso,” among all the laughs, comes in a pub when the coach hustles up a game of darts with the show’s arrogant bad guy, Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head), Rebecca’s villainous ex-husband/rival team owner. Rupert assumes he can whup up on “hillbilly” Ted as the countrified American inaccurately chucks darts at a board with his right hand. When Ted is challenged, he suddenly remembers that he’s left-handed, and he teaches Rupert a hard truth.

“You know, Rupert, guys have underestimated me my entire life,” Ted says. “And for years, I never understood why. It used to really bother me. But then one day I was driving my little boy to school and I saw this [misattributed] quote by Walt Whitman, it was painted on the wall there. It said, ‘Be curious, not judgmental.’ I like that.”

(Ted throws a dart right on target.)

“So I get back in my car and I’m driving to work and all of a sudden it hits me: All them fellas that used to belittle me, not a single one of them was curious. You know, they thought they had everything all figured out, so they judged everything and they judged everyone. And I realized that they’re underestimating me … whew … who I was had nothing to do with it. ‘Cause if they were curious, they would have asked questions, you know? Questions like, ‘Have you played a lot of darts, Ted?’”

(Ted tosses another dart spot-on.)

“Which I would have answered, ‘Yes, sir, every Sunday afternoon at a sports bar with my father, from age 10 until I was 16, when he passed away.’ …Barbecue sauce.”

(Ted throws last dart on target to win the game.)

“Good game, Rupert.”


In a time when it would really help people in this country and around the globe to try to better understand one another, even among their differences, to wrap their arms around one another and extend warmth where there is far too much frigidity, “Ted Lasso” arrives at just the right time.

(Photo: Business Wire) Scene shows the players from Emmy winner “Ted Lasso."

Alongside that, with not a scrubbed-clean hint of self-importance or sanctimony, it’s the rarest of narratives — a show highlighting and orbiting a hotly competitive professional sport that does not make winning the most important thing. I’m not sure Ted even cares all that much whether his players win a match, as long as they win at life. And in a world that too often makes victory a virtue, the only virtue — at the youth, school, college and pro levels — that’s pretty darn cool.

Barbecue sauce. And if that second reference makes no sense to you, do yourself a solid: Temporarily tuck away your pharisaical delicacies and just watch the @&$@&@-ing show.