'Ted Lasso' Homaged A Scorsese Movie (That Has A Shady Backstory)

This week’s ‘Ted Lasso’ took its cues from 'After Hours' ... which took more than some cues from a radio show.
'Ted Lasso' Homaged A Scorsese Movie (That Has A Shady Backstory)

This week’s episode of Ted Lasso took a detour from its typical hug-based formula, focusing instead on the surreal, all-night odyssey of Coach Beard; which involved sneaking into an exclusive nightclub, dramatically escaping from a married woman’s loft, and eventually engaging in a flagrant public display of hula-hooping.

Somewhat unsubtly, the episode (literally called “Beard After Hours”) took its inspiration from Martin Scorsese’s 1985 dark comedy After Hours -- arguably one of the greatest movies ever made. Sadly, Ted Lasso didn’t include Cheech and Chong, or an angry ice cream truck-led lynch mob. 

Despite its acclaim, After Hours has a weirdly controversial history that doesn’t come up all that much. It turns out that much of the screenplay by Joseph Minion was seemingly lifted from a segment of “Lies,” a 1982 radio performance by beloved writer Joe Frank.

It’s not just broad story beats that the two share; it’s oddly specific details, like an artist roommate who makes plaster of Paris bagel and cream cheese paperweights. Comparing the two, it certainly appears as though Minion used Frank’s story as the basis for the first act of After Hours, then concocted the rest using his imagination. It’s possible, and maybe even likely, that in the pre-internet ‘80s, Scorsese and others involved in the production weren’t aware of the glaring similarities between After Hours and Lies -- but Frank ended up taking legal action and was reportedly “paid handsomely” in the settlement. But despite the basically irrefutable evidence of his substantive contribution, Frank, who passed away in 2018, has never received any actual credit for inspiring After Hours. Maybe that will change? Can we start some kind of campaign? Think of it as kind of the arthouse movie equivalent of when Bill Finger was given credit for co-creating Batman. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: Apple, Warner Bros. 

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