Thank you for your article Gabrielle. There are many things that draw me to it. You tackle some wonderful ideas here. I would like to touch upon some of them.
First of all, I would like to introduce myself to the group. My name is Matt and I work with young adult men on parole in a transition home. We have paused the majority of our groups when covid rolled through, but prior we used tackle subjects on masculinity, toxic masculinity, etc. A wonderful book called “He: Understanding Masculine Psychology” by Robert A. Johnson, Jungian psychologist, tackles this very myth: Parcifal and the Grail King. I highly recommend it for anyone with a interest in this subject. When I was attempting to pull together subject matter to teach the young men I worked with about masculinity this was probably the main book I drew inspiration from.
I share your sentiments on the show and the character. There is a redeeming quality of Mr. Lasso that does resonate with folks. There is a trojan horse like quality to his apparent naiveté. It’s disarming. In ‘He”, he says Parcifal means “innocent fool”. But that it also means “he who draws the opposites together”. Ted Lasso is the antithesis to the alpha male coach he replaces; the antithesis to Rebecca’s philandering ex-husband. And you are right: there is a power in tenderness. “Now there is in Arthur’s Court a damsel who has not smiled nor laughed in six years. The legend in the Court is that when the best knight in the world appears, the damsel who has not smiled for six years will burst into laughter. The instant this damsel sees Parcifal, she bursts into laughter and joy.”
It reminds me of my favorite beatitude: those pure of heart shall see the face of God. (Matthew 5:8) I am 44 now (almost 45) and I can attest to the struggle it takes to be in this state (pure of heart) as one goes on the adventure. We might even call vulnerability the state of having the heart channel be open to the suffering of the world. (By the way please check out Brené Brown’s, vulnerability researcher, podcast with Jason Sudekis (Ted Lasso) and Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard): https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-jason-sudeikis-brendan-hunt-on-ted-lasso/). Like the Fisher King, this also might be the easiest way to be wounded. An open heart can easily be trampled on in the world of masculinity. Ted Lasso models an integration of strength and vulnerability. I would argue that in addition to an open heart one must have good boundaries. You don’t want to be an alpha male but you don’t want to be a colloquial simp. The heart does offer the middle path. The Grail Castle and the Grail King appears when we find it. And that is our salvation. It’s how we heal the Fisher King’s wound.
The new season promises to offer new insight into the character. With the recent hire of a psychologist on the team, it is only a matter of time before Ted sits in the chair and offers us a deeper look into his personality. Consider myself lassoed!