Remember when “Ted Lasso” was announced a few years back? The American football coach who goes to England to coach soccer-character Jason Sudeikis played for NBC Sports commercials was going to be a series on Apple TV+? I rolled my eyes so hard and thought, “What a joke.” After the first season premiered and ran a few weeks, an acquaintance highly recommended it to us, saying how funny and heartfelt it was. I begrudgingly agreed to watch it because I love Sudeikis and thought I’d give it a shot.
Again, how dare “Ted Lasso” be so good??
Sudeikis’ titular mustachioed character is corny, cheesy, and basically a walking dad joke. Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) is stoic, a little intimidating, and a bastion of knowledge. All the players are nuanced individuals with their own backstories, conflicts, and motivations.
Team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is dealing with a lot of shit while trying to keep this team afloat after her husband leaves her – and the club – for a younger woman. Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift) does what he can to keep things positive for Richmond but isn’t respected.
Keeley Jones and Jamie Tart (Juno Temple and Phil Dunster) have a rocky pseudo-celebrity relationship heading for the brink. Team Captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) is a terrifying man on and off the pitch and he’s not about to let any “fuckin’ feelings” come out, ever. And equipment manager (kit manager as they call it in the UK) Nate Shelley knows he can do more for the team, but gets shit on by nearly everyone in the organization.
As an aspiring screen and TV writer, the idea of a cast of this many is daunting, almost to the point of feeling impossible. AND YET this fucking show has the GAUL to make each and every one of them a real person. Ted is dealing with a divorce and mounting panic attacks, not to mention trying to coach a sport he doesn’t know in a country he’s not from, all the while trying to be the pinnacle of optimism and positivity he can. Beard is a hopeless romantic in a relationship everyone thinks is toxic.
Rebecca struggles running a team as a woman in a male-dominated profession while trying to navigate a personal life as a middle-aged divorcee. Higgins bounces from office to office, never able to get footing in his own workplace, but still manages to be the second most optimistic character in the show.
Keeley and Jamie’s relationship crashes in the first season only to find her GOD DAMN SOULMATE in Roy, but that’s not easy for anybody. Keeley gets a great job with the team and she and Rebecca become best friends immediately. Jamie has some tough dad stuff to deal with and even becomes a failed reality star for a hot second. Roy has to come to terms with failing knees and aging out of his career. Oh, and he’s the best uncle in the entire world to his niece Phoebe, which as an uncle, is an unfair benchmark of uncledom.
And Nate. Oh, Nate Shelley. What a character. So sweet, so driven, and so angry and resentful. He breaks your heart and it’s perfect. It’s no wonder this show cleaned up at the Emmys yet again this year.
This new trend of laugh out loud comedies that can make you cry is everything to me right now. I think it started with “Schitt’s Creek” and latter seasons of “Parks and Rec” and mostly all of “The Good Place” and I hope it stays forever. I’m over three-camera sitcoms that are just joke, joke, joke, credits.
But how dare “Ted Lasso” do it so well? Again, I want to write TV someday and I really feel like I can’t write like this show. I cry every week and not a little. I cry a lot. I cry for nearly every character and storyline. And while it’s very rude that this show dumps so much emotional goodness on us each week, I burn for more of it. (Yeah, I paraphrased “Bridgerton” and I’d do it again, thank you). I will be heartbroken when the show wraps up, but like “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Good Place”, I trust that the writers will take care of these people I’ve grown to love.
Yes, this falls under writing as well, but give me a second to explain. Ted’s story is amazing. Beard’s story is wild and fun. Rebecca’s story is empowering and beautiful. Keeley’s story is wonderful and full of love and heart. I could keep going, but to have a show give so much time and love to each and every storyline is just rude. How do they do it? How did they assemble such geniuses for this show? And do they need a 37 year old intern? I’m available to work remotely.
And it’s about soccer
I’ve never watched soccer by choice. I worked in an Irish bar and we played every match of the World Cup in 2012 and that was the most soccer I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been to a match, I don’t really understand the rules, and I have little to no interest in learning about.
But this show makes me want to. It makes me want to be a part of that community and to find my local pub that roots for my team and to join those hooligans for every match, win, lose or draw, and cheer for our team. I honestly don’t remember the last sports-centric show that I’ve connected with this much.
Stop trying to make me like soccer, “Ted Lasso”! I don’t have the time or the funds to start a new obsession!
I can’t help it. I love it.
So this is where we are. Two seasons complete, hopefully at least two or three more on the way. Countless Emmys and awards, praise and accolades from nearly anyone who’s seen an episode, and I’m still mad how good this show continues to be.
Keep it up. I’ll be back as soon as season three premieres with my tissues, ready to laugh and cry all over again. Bastards.