Champions League: Manchester City Bends the Story to Its Will

The writers of “Ted Lasso,” the acclaimed, sugar-sweet Apple TV comedy, never particularly worried about being hidebound by reality. The world they created was, after all, based on an inherently fantastical premise: an American coach with no knowledge of soccer succeeding in the tumult of the Premier League.

There would have been little point, then, in dismissing as too far-fetched the idea of a makeweight sort of a team signing a proxy for Zlatan Ibrahimovic just because its owner insulted him in the bathroom, for example, or a dog being killed by a wayward penalty kick, or West Ham being invited to take part in a global super league.

It was notable, then, that there was one line the writers felt they could not cross. At the end of “Ted Lasso” — in all other aspects a determinedly romantic and uplifting show, an unabashed underdog story of empowerment and personal growth and the overwhelming power of nice — Manchester City still wins the Premier League. Even in fiction, City cannot be dislodged.

City is not the villain, not really, in the Lasso Cinematic Universe. That role goes, instead, to a combination of conventional thinking and West Ham. Pep Guardiola even makes a cameo appearance in the show’s penultimate episode, offering a brief, distinctly Lassoist homily about winning being significantly less important than his players being good people.

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