Three seasons in, you know what to expect from an episode of Ted Lasso by now. Wholesome humour, an unrealistically cosy vision of London, and lots, and lots (and lots) of Apple products. All are present and correct in the first episode of Season 3 which dropped this week – and while many of the performances are as delightful as ever, those iPhones and MacBooks increasingly feel like the stars of the show.
Look, I'm aware that Apple-produced show on Apple's own streaming service is likely to feature a few of Apple's own products. But that doesn't mean they have to be quite so distractingly omnipresent – nor quite so constantly instrumental in the progression of the plot. And this is coming from a tech writer who literally writes rumours posts about upcoming iPhones. If I'm finding it annoying, I have a feeling I'm not the only one.
Like every episode before it, Season 3's premiere was a veritable smorgasbord of close-up shots of Apple gadgets. If the company is indeed working on its own take on the metaverse, it'll probably look something like this – a world where everyone owns a box-fresh iPhone (no more than two years old, naturally) and nobody – nobody – uses a case. Because of course, shiny stainless steel edges can't gleam lustily at the viewer through a case.
Cynical as it may seem, the characters' loyalty to the iPhone, the iPad and the Mac isn't going anywhere – this is Apple's world; the writers of Ted Lasso are just living in it. But as if the glossy product showreel wasn't enough, the events of the show are constantly progressed through the screens of Apple's products – or even more distractingly, through the constant, incessant dings of iPhones going off left, right and centre – has nobody on this show discovered Silent mode?
Tweets are read on iPhone screens. Press conferences are watched on MacBooks. Relationship revelations are made on FaceTime. Romantic apologies are made via Apple Music playlists (yeah, right). Need to progress the plot? Just have an iPhone ding and somebody exclaim 'Oh my god, you won't believe what [insert name] has just said to the press!' In the most recent episode, some shocking news is broken to a locker room full of football players via a cacophany of dings as they all receive the exact same notification at the exact same time from the exact same app (Apple News, duh). Thank goodness there wasn't a single player on that 23-strong team who didn't have the same app on the same phone with the same very specific notification settings enabled – they might not have known what had happened!
Can I just shock you? I like Ted Lasso. It's a brilliantly written, delightfully heartwarming, often hilarious underdog story – and it's no wonder the show proved such a tonic for millions during the 700-or-so lockdowns of 2020-21. I've no doubt as the plot of season 3 progresses (via a few more dings, no doubt), I'll grow used to the product placement again and let it was over me (and subliminally persuade me I need a new, stainless steel iPhone [sans case]). But after a year away, it's extremely, gratingly noticeable. Anyway, I basically wrote this article in order to describe it as an "own goal" from Apple, so, yeah. That.