Sunday, December 11, 2022

BELIEVE! The Ted Lasso Effect: Carol of the Bells Discussion Guide

It's the holiday season and my neighbors have a red glitter sign posted on their front door. It says "BELIEVE." I immediately think of...Ted Lasso

I admitted this to a friend—a mom of two young children and a Ted fan. "That's about Santa Clause!" she cried. "I know...I know," I said. "Must be the Ted Lasso effect."Maybe you understand. 

Do you find yourself saying "Oi!" I do, especially when I miss a 3 foot putt. That's the Roy Kent effect. Do you think some look like one of the show's characters? I have a dead ringer for Jamie Tartt, in personality too! I another for Dani Rojas."Football IS life," right? Has Ted Lasso increased your interest in the World Cup? If you have answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might be wondering how you too can bring the Ted Lasso effect into the Christmas season? What might it take to help others really "BELIEVE?" Here's my suggestion: Bring friends and family together to watch Season 4, Episode 2: Carol of the Bells. Your discussion guide is below.

"God Bless Me, Everyone." —Jamie Tartt

The holiday season is back but not at the speed it once was. Between COVID concerns and inflation, some party hosts are opting to pass. But this is a fun way to gather for drinks,  discussion and good holiday cheer. Guests need not wear their favorite soccer jersey nor do they need to have seen prior episodes. This one can stand alone.

The IMDB's plot summary says: "It's Christmas in Richmond. Rebecca enlists Ted for a secret mission, Roy and Keeley search for a miracle and the Higginses open up their home."

Begin with the entry level questions. These are questions that are low stakes and easy to talk about. The show doesn't have the complexity, character development or depth of the other episodes, but that doesn't mean you can't add that to the discussion.

Christmas in August

  • This episode was released on August 12. When do you start celebrating the Christmas season? 
  • Do you have any personal rules as what and when you engage in "the most wonderful time of the year? e.g. the day after Thanksgiving? November 15? Not until two weeks before Christmas do any lights go up? etc.
The Gift of Music

  • When is the last time you went Christmas caroling?
  • What are songs of the season that are meaningful for you?
  • This song lists two of my favorite Christmas songs—"Little Saint Nick" by the Beach Boys and "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues (which brings me to tears for some reason). What is your favorite Christmas hit?

So many Christmas Movies!

  • This episode references Love Actually, Once, It’s a Wonderful Life and a Christmas Story. Do you have a favorite Christmas story or movie?
  • Is there a Christmas movie you watch every year?

The next set of questions pertain to Ted Lasso as a series. 

Friendship is an important theme—one that is demonstrated among several different characters. Friendship is portrayed in a very positive light between Ted and Coach Beard, Keely and Miranda and among teammates.

  • What do you want to see in a Hollywood friendship?
  • Take that idea of watching something on a screen (from a distance): What have you learned from the friendships that your parents have? Your siblings have? Your spouse? Your children? 
  • What have you learned about yourself in the friendships that you have?
  • In the essay "For the Love of the Game," Richard Gaillardetz writes Perhaps the only other human bond of communion that can match that between teammates is among soldiers. Many athletes will speak years later of the powerful bonds created among team members who spent hours each day in training, honing their skills and learning how to work cooperatively with one another as a seamless, efficient unit. We must not underestimate the strength of this bond. Describe some of the friendships you have made through sport. How would you. characterize those friendships?

Positivity is a quality that first drew fans to the showed. Launched during COVID, we needed examples of positivity, in spite of our struggles. Ted was one answer.

  • Think of a positive person you know/are close to…
    • How do they do it?
    • What do they do?
  • Is this something you work on? Need to work on?

The episode is but 30 minutes long. The discussion can last as long as you want. Maybe you will add your own question or comment. For example, I love how Lesley Hingiss addresses every athlete at his table. He said "To you and all your families back in Lagos, Guadalajara, Groningen, Cordon, Montreal, Benin City, Harare, Kingston... and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Happy Christmas." I always remember where a person is from; I loved that he nailed every locale. In him, I have a kindred spirit. 

Out of COVID, I think we learned to not take the opportunity to come together for granted. And yet, the hectic schedules and busy time of the holiday season make that difficult for many of us. I hope this post might serve as an impetus to do so—to grow more positive and to help one another BELIEVE. Oi yeah!

NB: 1) This discussion guide was used with a group of woman during a breakout session on a retreat. 2) This episode has some adult language and content; it is not appropriate for children of a certain age.

Photo Credits
Miranda and Ted
Jamie Tartt

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