Despite my preeminent “Love Actually” hate status, I thought this episode worked pretty well: the many references (Elton John’s Christmas party!) Mostly to “Ted Lasso” in general.
“Beard After Hours,” on the other hand, is downright weird. I love Coach Beard (played by Brendan Hunt, who is also one of the show’s writer-creators) as much as anyone. But his appeal has always been that he’s somewhat on the fringes, a sardonic observer whose lines tend to be brief but beautifully written and delightfully under-delivered.
An entire episode centered around him, with virtually no participation from the rest of the main cast – we get a bit of Mae and substantial screen time for the AFC Richmond superfans played by Kevin Garry, Bronson Webb and Adam Colborne – is, simply put, a different tv show. Not bad, but not by far the one we would expect after 18 episodes.
There is, as always, something to love. The joke at the start of “Moonrise Kingdom” tickled me almost beyond words. The exponential rise in pint glasses when Beard first meets the Richmond fans is also a nice touch. And the moment when Richmond fans visit the grounds of Nelson Road (on the air, of course, of “We Are the Champions”) is a wonderfully “Ted Lasso” moment, perhaps the best of the episode.
But the rest? Color me confused. I’m going to largely skip my usual scene-by-scene analysis, as almost nothing in this episode seemed to relate in any meaningful way to anything else on the show. That almost final scene with Beard at the nightclub with the hoop? If you can help me, please do not hesitate.
As for the episode’s quasi-inspiration, “After Hours”: I wasn’t a fan when I first saw the movie as a teenager. I watch it again – I did it so you don’t have to! – I still haven’t enjoyed it very much. (Although I was reminded that the world was a much better place when Teri Garr was part of our public life.) However, I understood much better that the film was essentially a long and reasonably intriguing exploration of anxiety. male sexuality.