The New ‘Ted Lasso’ Should Be the Sweet Comedy ‘Trying’

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

this week:

  • An ode to the Keke Palmer moment.
  • Looking for the next Ted Lasso? Here it is.
  • Lady Gaga fans are being too hateful.
  • Don’t Look Up is now real.
  • Sexually confused about Weird Al.

Here’s a Great, Underrated TV Show to Binge

There was that thing at the start of the pandemic when we were desperate for sweet, touching TV series—especially comedies—to watch. Then there was the reaction to that where we were like, no, we must lean into the darkness and be unflinching about the times we’re living in. After that, we were like, dear God, please give me some comforting TV to watch again. Then we were all just watching Below Deck.

I don’t know where we are anymore in that pendulum swing; I’ve long since gotten motion sickness and hopped off to do my own thing. What if we just watched good things, and stopped tying them to a cultural mood? Impossible!

That said, if you are absorbing the constant bad news—Just had COVID-19? Here’s a monkeypox threat! Oh, and coming around the corner: polio, too!—and would like to go back to when we were all watching Schitt’s Creek and Ted Lasso and, at least while watching TV, felt nice for a while, here’s what may be a discovery for you.

The series Trying already has two seasons that have aired on Apple TV+, and its third premiered on Friday. It is a gem of a show, a comedy about a couple who live in the Camden neighborhood of London who, after being unable to conceive their own child, embark on an emotional and stressful—and very, very funny—adoption process.

the Ted Lasso comparisons are fairly obvious. It’s set in the UK, its lead is a tall and incredibly charming comic actor (Rafe Spall), and it’s just the right amount of sweet without crashing into saccharine.

As someone who recently reacted to The World Right Now by shutting down completely and bingeing all the episodes that have aired so far, as well as screeners for the new season, I can confirm that it serves the same public service as Ted Lasso did when it exploded into an absolute phenomenon: It transports you into a world that seems lovely—the folksy music choices that define the Lasso vibe are here—but doesn’t shy away from the complicated realities of what it means to be a human navigating meaningful relationships. (Also, again: It’s funny!)

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons yet, I don’t want to spoil where Season 3 picks up, but Jason (Spall) and Nikki (Esther Smith) are working their way through a pivotal turning point in their journey to be parents. Their characters have the kind of chemistry that makes you think, “Wow, can relationships really ever be that great?” You’re just happy to go on the ride with them. Watching this show cheered me up (even when it made me cry). I suspect it could do the same for you!

Justice for “Hold My Hand!”

There was monumental news in my world this week (my world is on Twitter) when Lady Gaga played the first show in her much-anticipated Chromatica Ball arena world tour. It opened in Düsseldorf, a city in Germany and not a word made up by Kristen Wiig for her Bjork impression on SNLwhich meant that we got a first look at the set (!) and the set list (!!) through thousands of low-quality snippets of her performance posted online by fans (!!!).

In an Instagram video ahead of her first show, Gaga said the set was inspired by brutalist architecture: “materials, textures, crudity, transparency. A real savage and hard look at yourself, and what you’ve been through.” If she wanted to make a stage that is a savage look at what I’ve been through, I’m confused why the set isn’t a replica of the subway platform at Union Square during the recent New York City heat wave when I was sweating so much that a busker stopped performing to whisper to me as I walked by, “You OK?”

But the big news was the set list. A major reaction was that it didn’t include any songs from the artpop album, a gripe I can get behind. But people on Twitter were dragging Gaga for her choice to end the show with “Rain on Me” and then return to the stage with her Top Gun: Maverick track “Hold My Hand.”

These people on Twitter will argue that “Hold My Hand” is a flop, that it hasn’t caught on, and that no one wants to wait to beat the crowd rush home in order to hear her sing it as an encore. I will not stand for this hate.

Justice for “Hold My Hand!” It’s a catchy ballad. I imagine, especially in a giant arena, it’s a moving finale. I feel like it was modeled after great ’80s anthems that are designed for that kind of venue. And enough with the disparaging. It’s a good song. Sometimes being basic is rewarding. “Hold My Hand” is playing at a Chili’s in Delaware as we speak, and two aunts who had too many margaritas are clasping each other during the bridge, and I’m crying thinking about it.

While working on this newsletter, footage leaked of Gaga rehearsing “1000 Doves,” possibly as a replacement following the mocking reactions of “Hold My Hand” as an encore choice. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but I do not like this idea that bullying works.

Hot Enough for Ya?

Look, I haven’t stopped sweating for six days. I took the subway yesterday and thought I might die. I have a few friends and colleagues who live in the UK, and judging by their dispatches, I believe they are all melting into a puddle and/or catching on fire. It’s hot. Climate change!!!

a news clip has gone viral in which a British expert is explaining, in harrowing detail, the very real danger these heat waves pose and the reality that things are only going to get worse, which will have incredible ramifications for the planet and our daily lives. The news anchors interviewing him chastise him for being so doom-and-gloom, chiding him for not letting people just enjoy some good beach weather. It’s shocking to watch.

It’s also, as it happens, almost an exact replica of a scene in Don’t Look Up, a film that treats the dangers of climate change denial with all the subtlety of, well, an asteroid hitting the Earth. Many people on social media have pointed out these similarities. But I stand with this take:

The Weird Al Biopic Is All I Think About Now

I already didn’t know what to make about the fact that I am so sexually aroused by Daniel Radcliffe in costume as Weird Al Yankovic for an upcoming biopic. But now there’s a scene featuring Quinta Brunson as Oprah! Is it even possible to pander to me more directly?

What to watch this week:

nope: A great monster movie! Keke Palmer! Just go and have fun! (Fri. in theaters)

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: I will die on the hill that this show is so smart and fun. (Wed. on Disney+)

Shark Week: Maybe hitting more close to home than usual, given the recent news out of New York beaches. Duh-dun… (Sun. on Discovery)

What to skip this week:

Alone Together: What has happened to Katie Holmes’ career? (Fri. in theaters and on demand.)

The Gray Man: Just because this movie hits Netflix this weekend doesn’t mean you have to watch it! (Fri. on Netflix)


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