‘Ted Lasso’s Nate Shows Us a Different Kind of Toxic Masculinity

Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammad) is initially launched in Season 1 of Ted Lasso as a form man that Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and his cronies on the Richmond crew harass for enjoyable. Nate is the crew’s equipment man and is usually a punching bag for the extra juvenile members of the crew. But when Ted (Jason Sudeikis) turns into the crew’s coach he begins shaking issues up for Richmond in a significant approach and that features serving to Nathan to fight the harassment and be taught to face tall. Throughout Season 1 Nate is a optimistic pressure on the crew and by the top he’s absolutely introduced into the fold not solely as a good friend to the crew however with a promotion to the position of assistant coach. It appears Nate is on the up and up however Season 2 proves his trajectory is much from what we might have anticipated.


Nate is a simple punching bag in Season 1 as a result of he’s extremely insecure. He looks like he is by no means lived as much as his father’s expectations, he holds a minor position on a poorly performing soccer crew, and he’s made into the locker room laughingstock practically day by day. Nate is used to being made to really feel lower than, and he internalizes that feeling. So in Season 2 we see that insecurity warring together with his rising sense of ego. His newfound place and acclaim results in him solely looking for extra. As he tells Ted on the finish of the season, he was made to really feel particular, and now he needs extra. And as we see his actions take a downward flip because the season progresses we see his conduct manifest in a toxicity that begins to harm not simply himself however these round him.

RELATED: ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3: Everything We Know So Far

For a present targeted on soccer, one would possibly anticipate the poisonous parts to come back primarily from characters like Jamie Tartt who current a extra stereotypical show. The overly macho bravado, objectification of ladies, and an absence of connection to 1’s feelings are a few of the first issues one would possibly consider after they hear the phrases “toxic masculinity”. But Nate is nothing like that. Nate is delicate, usually uncertain of himself, and might’t appear to get a date to avoid wasting his life. His toxicity comes from feeling like this stuff are faults. Nate is just not the poisonous alpha male, he’s the jaded incel who needs accountable the world for every little thing unsuitable in his life.

There was a way that one thing was off about Nate from the beginning of the season. And when Roy joined on as one other coach the tensions had been apparent from how uncomfortable and displeased he seemed seeing him on the pitch. But nonetheless Nate saved attempting to do what he might. It reached a peak nonetheless when Ted needed to depart a match due to a panic assault and Nate gave the ultimate instructions that received Richmond the sport. After an interview the place he by chance dubbed himself “The Wonder Kid” a small quantity of buzz was dropped at his identify and Nate turned obsessive about seeing folks speak about him on-line. That validation he’d felt from Ted in Season 1 was now being shouted at him a hundredfold from random customers on Twitter and that solely served to inflate his ego. He began to imagine this acclaim wasn’t simply one thing he’d labored for however one thing he inherently deserved.

Nate’s toxicity manifests regularly in a way of entitlement. He labored laborious in Season 1 and earned his position as an assistant coach however he appears to assume this new position means he must be handled in a different way. He makes feedback to Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) about how he thinks Ted takes all of the credit score for the strikes they give you. And when Ted later explicitly names Nate’s transfer after him, he turns the argument round and as an alternative says Ted is just doing that in order that if the transfer goes unsuitable folks will blame him if it goes unsuitable. Nate retains attempting to reframe his relationship with Ted into certainly one of antagonism to justify the anger he has in the direction of him for merely doing what he has at all times performed.

Nate takes specific umbrage with the truth that Ted has been focusing a lot on others this season. Whether that be different crew members or his personal psychological well being, Nate takes this lack of consideration as a slight in opposition to him. His insecurity tells him that Ted was solely utilizing him although anybody watching might inform simply how unsuitable that assumption is. He looks like he isn’t particular anymore, so he takes it out on Ted by way of being chilly, impolite, and deceitful. And when that isn’t sufficient to fulfill Nate’s emotions of insecurity, he betrays Ted’s belief by leaking the news about his panic assaults to the press.

Nate has began combating his personal insecurities by externalizing them. Previously, he would internalize them and that might additional diminish his sense of self-worth however with Ted’s assist he was in a position to construct a little bit of confidence. Now he’s utilizing that confidence to take it out on different folks. They rent a brand new equipment man and Nate makes it his mission to deal with him as poorly as he was handled when he held the identical position. Externalizing his negativity provides him a way of energy. He needs to maintain asserting his new place within the hierarchy and which means he doesn’t wish to foster these playful and enjoyable relationships he established within the first season. Where he beforehand roasted crew members with a way of comradery, now it comes off rather more aggressively. There’s no playfulness there anymore. When the crew makes him a custom-made “Wonder Kid” Richmond jersey he takes it not as a form act of inclusion however as a slight in opposition to him. Nate has turn into extra emotionally closed off as a result of he perceives any act of humor or childishness to be some kind of try and put him again in his “rightful” place within the pecking order performed solely to belittle him.

Midway by way of the season, Nate is attempting and failing to e-book an excellent desk at a restaurant for his guardian’s anniversary. When he goes to Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) and Keeley (Juno Temple) about this challenge hoping Rebecca might e-book a desk for him, she as an alternative presents him recommendation on the right way to psych himself as much as be assertive. Rebecca demonstrates how she makes herself really feel large and tall to really feel highly effective and Nate then comes up together with his personal model of this. But on this act alone we will see how he’s utilizing the approach by way of a extra twisted lens. For Nate, psyching himself up means staring within the mirror and spitting at his reflection. The act is visceral, gross, the type of stereotypical masculine show you wouldn’t anticipate from Nate.

Worse but, when Keeley takes Nate out to purchase a brand new go well with (because the one he at the moment owns was bought by Ted as a present, a lot to his chagrin) and he makes a transfer on her. Nate was at all times a respectful man who struggled with girls however together with his newfound poisonous masculinity rearing its head he begins seeing their rejections as much less innocent. When Keeley pushes him away he retreats to the dressing room to do his mirror psych up routine, telegraphing not a way of guilt however anger. He feels an entitlement to a response now that he perceives himself as a extra highly effective man. He’s upset when Roy doesn’t wish to punch him over the incident as a result of he takes it not as Roy trusting him as an individual however a slight on his personal masculinity.

As a viewer, you actually wish to preserve making excuses for Nate. We’ve seen how variety he could be, how sensible his ways are, how a lot he’s been compelled to endure previously–but at a sure level we will’t preserve overlooking or explaining away his actions. His insecurity is just not an excuse for his horrible conduct. He rejects the crew’s reward of a {custom} jersey, he kisses Keeley in opposition to her will, he outs Ted’s private medical issues to the media, and he joins a rival membership owned by Rebecca’s ex-husband all in a bid to reclaim some sense of energy. And by the top when all these occasions have unfolded we understand Nate isn’t the good friend we knew anymore, by his personal volition he’s remodeled right into a villain.

Nate is an excellent instance of how poisonous masculinity can manifest in plenty of methods. His sense of ego and bravado is one inherently tied to this sense of failed masculinity that he’s overcompensating for in his aggression, displayed in his act of spitting at his personal reflection to psych himself up. His insecurities flip into barbs that he goals outwards. Nate Shelley begins the season as our likable good friend however ends it as a betrayer and an enemy. His superiority and inferiority complexes are paradoxically each in full impact, sending him on a self-destructive spiral that wipes out all the great issues we thought we knew about him. Just a little little bit of energy and respect was sufficient to show Nate into a totally completely different particular person as a result of he stopped pondering of these issues as one thing to work for and began seeing them as one thing he was intrinsically owed. Nick Mohammad was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a comedy present for this position and his work taking Nate on his villain arc this season was completely sufficient to earn him that nomination. We noticed Nate in a totally completely different mild in Ted Lasso Season 2, displaying simply how a lot an individual can change after they stew in their very own poisonous and detrimental feelings.

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