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The Art of Being Ted

Posted on May 4th, 2023

Dave!The eighth episode of Ted Lasso moves us further towards the season (and possibly series) finale. It also deals with something entirely topical: hacking people's digital privacy to release their personal data. In this case it's a sexy time video of Keeley that she sent to her boyfriend at the time.

The tremendous loss that's going to come when the show ends isn't just the characters, the stories, and the whole concept of it all... it's the artistry of everything that goes into it.

In this latest episode I was really struck by the visual language of the show. Like many good directors and cinematographers, there's a lot of thought that goes into every shot.

Spoilers from here on out...

When the show starts, there's a shot of Jaimie Tartt being Jamie Tartt. Of all the characters in the show, his journey has had the biggest arc...

The framing here is interesting. It's not a closeup of the camera filming his face as you might expect. They wanted to show his body language. He's centered in the frame because Jamie is all about Jamie. There's not room for anybody else.

They shift to Roy Kent, who is not centered on the frame. Roy's visual language is him standing apart from people. Note Jamie in the background as the conversation is revolving around the leak of private information, including Keeley. Roy was Keeley's last boyfriend, Jamie was the boyfriend before...

There's nothing special about the shot that follows. But it's funny because Jamie gets a look at Will Kitman's private photos that he's deleting. Which is assumably includes the threesome he recently had in Amsterdam...

But then we get to Colin leaving the room after Isaac instructs everybody to delete all sexytime photos of other people from their phones so they don't get hacked and released. Isaac assumes that it's because Colin doesn't want to delete his photos. But the truth is that he needs privacy because his photos aren't something he wants his teammates to see. So when Isaac follows him and grabs his phone away, he gets a surprise he wasn't prepared for...

Isaac is just right of center, so you're focusing on his face. He doesn't look happy. But is it because he found out Colin is gay and doesn't approve... or because Colin never told him. Even Colin doesn't seem to know...

Notice that Isaac is looming over him, making Colin seem as small as he is feeling. Something he has worked so hard to hide is out. And once Isaac leaves him, Colin is left alone. Except the framing of the shot shows that the entire sofa is there. Something unsaid and unknown is sitting next to him. He's got baggage we can't see that he has to make room for wherever he goes...

Roy tracks down Keeley to tell her he's sorry about what happened. They are having a conversation while actively avoiding looking at each other, which is to show that they're hiding what they really want to say...

Roy then makes the horrible mistake of asking Keeley who the sexytime video was meant for. He regrets it immediately. And now he's framed as alone and apart again as Keeley leaves...

We then get a shot of poor Richard still deleting all his sexytime photos from his phone which, given that he's a playboy footballer, is apparently a lot. And it's a traumatic experience for him. Note that he is centered in the frame, unlike Colin, because he doesn't have to make room of anything unsaid. His life is much, much more simple...

Ted's son wants to go to a football game, and the only team playing is the dreaded West Ham, coached by former Ted protégée Nathan. They made sure to frame the shot so you could see Coach Beard defiantly standing amongst all the West Ham fans...

After the game, they're off to Mae's pub where she's mortified to see that Henry is wearing a West Ham shirt. But they beautifully switch to a wide shot so you can see Ted's reaction... because he knows what Mae's reaction will be...

After Ted wanders off for a phone call, Coach Beard gives some sage advice to Henry and the post-divorce life of his parents. It's interesting that they decided to not do a side-shot where you can see both of their faces. Nope, they swung the camera behind Henry so you can really focus on what Beard is saying...

And then, at the end of the episode, we get yet another priceless moment showing how Jamie has grown and changed over these three seasons. He had deleted all his sexytime photos of Keeley once he knew her relationship with Roy was real. But he forgot about the emails. It was his phone that got hacked and it's where Keeley's video got leaked from. He feels awful about it, and wanted to apologize to Keeley for it. Knowing how Jamie was at the start of the show, you can't help but be touched by the gesture. Especially when you see how much Jamie still cares for her. When the camera is focused on Keeley hugging Jamie, it's close... it's personal. But when the camera is focused on Jamie being hugged by Keeley, it's a wider shot. Likely so you can see her hugging him back. And while it's no less personal, there's room in the frame for somebody else. Which I'm guessing is Roy...

It's nice to see that the incredible writing and acting are not being buried by crap photography. Every episode has people who really know their stuff... from directing and filming to editing.

Which is just yet another reason I'm having a really tough time at the thought of this show ending.

   

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