Season 2, Episode 2: ‘Lavender’
Jamie Tartt, doo doo da doo da doo, Jamie Tartt, doo doo da doo da doo.
As ditties for English Premier League stars go — and my teenage son ensures me these are a real thing — Jamie’s chant, amusingly set to the rhythm of “Baby Shark,” isn’t bad. But it doesn’t hold a candle to the vulgar ferocity of Roy Kent’s, with that obscenity cunningly tucked in the middle of “everywhere.” But I suppose we all get the soundtracks we deserve.
Jamie was absent from the season premiere until its closing seconds, in which we discovered he had taken a sabbatical from Manchester City in order to appear on the reality show “Lust Conquers All.” This week, however, he is center stage on “Ted Lasso” — although not on “Lust Conquers All,” from which he is quickly booted with a peremptory, “The lust stops here.”
How it is that his established strategy on the show — “find the fittest girl there, have sex with her in the toilet, ask her to marry me” — failed to meet with success is left unexplained. He was undoubtedly thrown off his game by his discovery, 20 years late, that George Harrison had died.
Regardless, Jamie finds himself hated by virtually all of Britain, half for his abandonment of Man City (the team, unsurprisingly, does not want him back) and the other half for rescinding his offer of marriage to Amy, his commode consort, a proposal that he dismisses as mere “strategy.” No other teams want him either, and his best reality-TV opportunity involves a show in which he would be required to take ecstasy every night for three weeks. Jamie’s agent may have the best line of the episode: “You know you’re like a son to me. Now you’re like a dead son, which means I love you even more.”
And so his road leads him, as it inevitably would, back to AFC Richmond and Coach Lasso. After an uncharacteristically shy approach to Keeley, Jamie makes his pitch to Ted. But Ted thinks it’s a bad idea, as do Nate and Coach Beard. The players are even more opposed, with the normally joyful Sam storming out of training in protest. Only Higgins and Mae at the pub think it’s a good idea.
Ironically, it’s something Sam tells Ted that changes Ted’s mind. Sam says that his father is always happy when he sees Ted on TV because he is reminded that his son is “in safe hands.” Which reminds Ted that not everyone has such a good dad, and especially not Jamie, whose pa is such a repulsive bully that Jamie left Man City just to make him angry.
So here we are: Jamie is back, for now, taking the field to Queen’s “Tear It Up.” Time will tell if that’s what he does — in a bad way or a good one — to the harmonious but still underachieving AFC Richmond.
Story Line 2 again belongs largely to fan favorite — and personal favorite — Roy, whom Keeley finally persuades to try his lot as a TV football commentator. (His judgment may have been affected by catching Keeley in an intimate moment while she was watching his weepy retirement speech on her phone.)
Roy’s entrance to the TV set outstrips even Jamie’s entrance onto the field, scored as it is to the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” — which is more or less what Roy’s customarily profanity-laden commentary provides. (Does the BBC even have a Standards and Practices division?) As the beaten-down host eventually acknowledges, “Again, we apologize for almost every word Roy just said.” But Roy is pleased with his performance, and Keeley is over the moon — especially after Roy returns home with phone, earbuds, and a filthy notion of how to prove himself the Best Boyfriend Ever.
Nor is it Keeley’s kinks alone that are revealed this episode. Roy allows that he has a fondness for watching couples have sex in the woods — one assumes he means videos, rather than stalking actual sylvan snoggers — because he “could never be so free.” Last week, I suggested that Roy’s true calling might be as a relationship columnist. Now, I’m leaning toward wanting him and Keeley to co-host a sex-advice radio program.
Odds and Ends
Nate’s bullying of the young kit manager, Will (Charlie Hiscock) — over lavender in the wash detergent, pineapple in the sports drink and the proper placement of team towels — continues apace. It’s hard to tell where this thread is headed, but I hope it arrives there sooner than later. That said, his comment about the lavender, “We don’t want calm athletes, we want killer athletes,” pretty much sums up the ethos of an episode in which the team brings back the talented nightmare Jamie Tartt.
Ted and Sharon continue to feel one another out, with Ted making a not terribly subtle effort to analyze Sharon’s avoidance of sugar. Comparing it to his own experience with video games, he suggests that, rather than abstention, she try to adjust her “relationship to it.” Nonetheless, he wins her over enough that, by episode’s end, she allows him to call her “Doc.” And her closing thoughts, while delivered less rudely than Nate’s, echo the episode’s theme. “There’s a wonderful atmosphere here,” she notes before suggesting that said atmosphere might be contributing to the team’s winless, eight-straight-draws record.
“That’s not a bike, that’s a Transformer,” says Keeley upon seeing Sharon’s collapsible Brompton bike. As Sarah Niles, who plays Sharon, confessed to me in our interview this week, she didn’t even know how to ride a bike — let alone fold and unfold one — until after she was cast on the show.
Pop-cultural references this week included George Harrison, Frank Sinatra, Robert “Plant,” Jimmy “Page” (Higgins is developing a knack), Yoda, Ted Danson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bono, Jimmy Buffett, Van Gogh, and “The Prince of Tides.” Readers should remind me of the ones I overlooked in comments. Last week, folks pointed out a missed Hamilton reference (ouch!) and the fact that the number of pounds in the swear ledger of Roy’s niece, Phoebe, was precisely the same number (1,236) as the record for the number of times the AFC Richmond coaches managed to bat a crumpled up piece of paper back and forth.
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