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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Cracking Easter eggs

Back in April, when a (supposed) first edition of Sense and Sensibility made a cameo appearance in the Apple soccer comedy Ted Lasso, fans speculated that the book was a literary Easter egg, alerting the Janeites in the audience that Ted Lasso’s romantic subplot would soon follow in S&S’s footsteps.


In the show, the Austen first edition is an extravagant gift to open-hearted publicist Keeley from her glamorous, exceedingly rich new girlfriend, Jack. Janeite Lasso enthusiasts – a group that apparently occupies a non-negligible chunk of real estate on the Venn diagram of fandom – immediately shifted into overdrive.


In between 1) noting all the reasons that Keeley’s gift, as portrayed on the show, couldn’t really be an S&S first edition; and/or 2) decrying Jack’s arrogant decision to write her own message to Keeley inside the priceless artifact, Janeites argued that the gift telegraphed bad news: Clearly, Jack had been cast as a spineless betrayer of Keeley’s heroine of sensibility, with a valuable book playing the role of Queen Mab, the horse that caddish Willoughby tries to give guileless Marianne.


And just as clearly, some fans said, Keeley’s Colonel Brandon would turn out to be her ex, the gruff but fundamentally kind one-time soccer star Roy Kent. (No one seemed to think Brandon would take the form of her other ex, the reformed bad boy Jamie Tartt.)


Ted Lasso wrapped up its season, and probably its entire run, last Wednesday, and it appears that Lasso-loving Janeites were . . . half right.


Yes, Jack breaks Keeley’s heart in much the way that Willoughby breaks Marianne’s. But in a denouement that Jane Austen never vouchsafed to her heroines, Keeley’s Colonel Brandon turns out to be Keeley herself: She shows both exes the door and throws herself into her work, drawing strength and inspiration from her sisterly relationship with her boss, Rebecca.


As a feminist, I admire this choice, but as a Lasso-watcher and sometime fan, I was disappointed: I was shipping a Roy-Keeley reunion pretty hard, I must admit. As a Janeite, however, I can see nothing but upside: Unlike poor Marianne, who has to decline the gift of Queen Mab, Keeley gets to keep that S&S first edition.

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