I still watch “Ted Lasso.” Or, as I now call it, the “Hung up on my Ex Hour.”
Ted has become a sad-sack this season because he’s so upset that his ex-wife has a boyfriend. He needs to get over it. Ted has a great new job in a different hemisphere; not many divorcees have such a perfect opportunity to move on.
The problem with “Ted Lasso” is that it presents obsession with your ex as a benign way of thinking rather than a devastating fatal flaw. Nostalgia for a past love is so destructive that it should be added as the 8th Deadly Sin.
The uncompromisingly pessimistic film “Wuthering Heights” exposes the true face of nostalgic obsession: it’s self-absorbed and it’s self-destructive.
For those who only know Lawrence Olivier as the old queeny thespian from “Spartacus” and “Marathon Man,” “Wuthering Heights” is a jarring pleasant surprise.
Young Olivier is hunky, smoldering, and frightening as Heathcliff: a shocking villain. It’s a really special performance. He’s loathsome and destructive to everyone he meets. And yet so tall, dark, and handsome that 32-year-old Olivier became a matinee idol after the film was released.
When we meet Heathcliff, he’s a lovable underdog. He’s a starving orphan who is adopted by a middle-class Yorkshire family. But when the kindly patriarch dies, Heathcliff’s jerk brother Hindley takes over the house. And Heathcliff is relegated to stable boy. He still loves his stepsister Cathy and she loves him.
But circumstances are working against them. As Heathcliff is becoming poor and embittered, Cathy is discovering wealth and class with the aristocratic Linton family.
Heathcliff makes an insane two-part vow. He will love Cathy forever. And he will exact vengeance on all the fancy folks who lured Cathy away from him.
The film argues that plotting revenge and pining for your ex are effectively the same crime with the same consequences. Either way, you are living in the past rather than appreciating the present. This makes you miserable and you end up spreading the misery to the people around you.
I’m so glad that I got to experience “Wuthering Heights” now rather than back in high school English class. Teenage Max would have viewed Heathcliff and Cathy as romantic doomed lovers. Middle-aged Max sees Heathcliff for what he is: a twisted, perverse monster.
The correct amount to pine over your ex is none at all. That’s not always easy, but it is a goal we should all shoot for. “Wuthering Heights” shows us why. “Ted Lasso” doesn’t seem to understand it at all.