By Lori Perkins
Let me just preface this essay by sharing my shock that I have actually kind of fallen in love with the TV show Ted Lasso. If you had told pre-COVID me that I would be riveted by a show about an American college football coach leading a team of British soccer players, I would have told you you were crazy. But when the show started getting all the Emmy nominations, I tried it, and have been glued ever since.
It is a brilliant examination of toxic masculinity that somehow manages to give us confident male characters that are not assholes, so we can adore them. They are the new Alphas.
I have been asking myself the question, “What is the future of male alphas in romance fiction and rom coms?” because I know that I can’t take another brooding asshole alpha (billionaire or soldier/spy) male. I never expected to find those characters in a sports sit-com, but here they are.
And to make it official, this week’s episode (season 2, episode 5) is written as a rom-com. The lead character, Ted Lasso, tells his soccer team that he “believes in communism,” and they are shocked. He quickly adds, “Rom-communism,” explaining that “rom-communism is all about believing everything’s gonna work out in the end.”
The team is in the midst of a legendary losing streak, but Lasso insists that just like in rom coms, the team will figure it out and end on the right note. The entire episode is a tribute to various rom coms of the past 40 years, with cherished lines like “I’ll have what he’s having,” (When Harry Met Sally) to “As you Wish,” from Princess Bride. Even the final scene reminds me of the ending from An Officer and a Gentleman and Billy Crystal’s end scene from When Harry Met sally. I just loved it! Just brilliantly written too!
Romance writers/screenwriters should take note. This IS the future of romance!