HomeSport‘Ted Lasso’ tackled sexuality in a way only this show can

‘Ted Lasso’ tackled sexuality in a way only this show can

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AFC Richmond is the talk of the Premier League. The team’s move to total football has made the club a can’t-miss talking point, the fans are loving open practice, and the Greyhounds players can’t stop smiling in a system that lets everyone shine.

Isaac hammers a shot into the back of the net to end practice, and we’re immediately brought back down to earth as Colin congratulates his captain, only to be met with a cold shoulder and a scowl.

Colin’s sexuality has been one of Ted Lasso’s most anxiety-riddled subplots this season. It was always a matter of “when,” not “if” it would come to a head — and “La Locker Room Aux Folles” is that moment. Isaac has been positioned as a paragon of traditional masculinity. The no-nonsense, muscle-bound captain has been somewhat an enigma over the course of the show’s three seasons, with little known about his personal life.

This makes him the perfect foil for the tension of Colin’s sexuality, and an initial reading is that Isaac, the only player on Richmond to know that Colin is gay, isn’t comfortable around his teammate. It’s crushing, and it’s destroying Colin inside. He’s not able to experience any of the joy from locker room banter or winning, because he feels like one of the most important people on the team doesn’t accept him.

Each episode in season three has had a prevailing theme, and this was all about acceptance. Not necessarily seeking it from others, but also accepting who you are and either being content with that, or trying to make a positive change. We see this in the subplots of “La Locker Room Aux Folles” in Roy getting eviscerated by Rebecca for skipping a press conference, which is far more about how Roy avoids any difficulty in his life by using a grumpy veneer.

Obviously this can be interpreted as Roy ending his relationship with Keeley, but Rebecca is getting on his case for far more than that. It’s genuine tough love, as she doesn’t want to see Roy sleepwalk through life because he avoids things that don’t come naturally to him.

The second plot of acceptance naturally comes from Nate, particularly when it comes to father figures. At this point we understand the tragedy of him as a person. All he’s even wanted is to be noticed and loved by important men in his life, with his emotionally abusive father pushing him to find this attention elsewhere — even if it’s negative. The betrayal he felt from Ted came from feeling like the most important person in Ted’s world, only to realize that Lasso makes everyone feel special.

Now he’s pivoted his energy to Rupert, who we know to be emotionally abusive and manipulative, but up to this point Nate has had his blinders on. Rebecca previously shared Rupert’s insidious ability to make people feel special to win their love, and now he’s running the same playbook with Nate and it’s working. Whether Nate is truly defending Rupert, or does so out of duty — Jade is a perfect counterpoint to see through the bullshit, as she simply quips “Well, he seems rich,” after Rupert attempts to charm her in front of Nate.

The crucial moment in Nate’s arc comes on Rupert’s planned “guy’s night.” We know what this means from a mile away, but Nate is too naive to know this is code for “cheat on our significant others.” Finally, breaking free of the need for acceptance, Nate finally stands up for himself — telling Rupert he needs to leave, regardless of reprisal, and ends his night tightly clinging to Jade, as she becomes his new rock.

Richmond have beaten far better teams than Brighton & Hove Albion during their win streak — but come out playing absolutely atrocious football because of two men: Isaac and Colin. Isaac not only refused to fist bump Colin in the locker room, but uncomfortably moved his hand when the team went hands-in, seemingly unable to make any physical contact with his teammate.

Isaac and Colin both making significant errors in the first half, leaving Richmond down 1-0. It’s here where everything explodes, when a fan yells a homophobic slur at the team as they exit the field.

Isaac screams, “what the fuck did you say to me?!” seemingly taking the slur as a personal attack, and charges into the stands — grabbing the fan by shit and getting a red card as a result. Everyone is mystified by Isaac’s reaction, except for Colin. Ted asks Isaac to explain what happened, and we get our first glimpse into what the captain has been thinking this whole time.

“One of our fans said some ignorant shit.”

The players still aren’t following. Why this reaction? Why now? Sam quips “it’s nothing we haven’t heard before,” but Isaac as an answer: “Ignore it? I don’t want to fucking ignore it. What if one of us was gay?”

This whole situation wasn’t about Colin’s sexuality, but a feeling of betrayal. A feeling that he was lied to because Colin wasn’t honest about who he was. A feeling of failure that he hadn’t created a locker room where people felt comfortable being their authentic selves.

This is an unbelievably unhealthy way to look at the situation, but it’s truthful. At times we all have an inability to see ourselves as a small part in someone else’s story, because our innate sense of self is tied to being the main character. We internalize, wonder how we impacted a situation, see ourselves as the influencing factor in everything. It’s what unhealthy codependent relationships are based on. Isaac not being told that Colin was gay had absolutely nothing to do with Isaac, but rather Colin’s sense of self. Instead Isaac took it as a personal slight, and it destroyed him.

Isaac repeated the same mistake that Roy did a week earlier by asking Keeley about her video leak. He made the moment about him, but decided to finally atone. Knocking on Colin’s door to apologize, he went a step further be accepting the invite to come inside. We end their story with Colin and Isaac playing FIFA, as Issac peppers Colin with all sorts of questions about what it’s like to be gay in a locker room.

It’s a funny, uncomfortable line of inquiry — but it’s a start. It’s Isaac’s way of making amends for being selfish at a time he needed to be selfless. Yet other example of Ted Lasso delivering on a major plot point this season and handling it perfectly.

Source : SBNation

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