When “Ted Lasso” premiered late last year, it passed me right by.
Fortunately, I caught the recent “Entertainment Weekly” with "Saturday Night Live" alum Jason Sudeikis, who plays the Apple TV+ series' titular character, on the cover. Inside, he touted the upcoming second season. This show is exactly what I needed — what, I believe, everyone needs.
“Ted Lasso” is about an American football coach who is hired to lead the struggling European football (soccer) team Richmond in England’s Premier League. Ted may be fresh off a championship in Kansas, but he’s never played European football and he doesn’t know the rules. But that doesn’t stop him from doing his best to coach a team divided by the ego of hotshot player Jamie, experienced captain Roy and an owner who is determined to see the team fail to spite her cheating ex-husband.
Humor is guaranteed — Sudeikis’ Ted is full of American and Kansas charm that is in stark contrast to the English public, media and team who don't want him to succeed. The show is undoubtedly funny, but it is also full to the brim with heart and hope. Ted genuinely wants the best for his players; his philosophy is that it’s not about winning or losing. He sees the best in his players and people around him. He waves off setbacks with an American idiom that often falls flat in front of his very non-American audience. I loved Ted from the first minutes of the first episode, and you will, too. He’s relentlessly optimistic and unfailingly kind with an outlook that's always cheerful and determined.
But the show is more than its titular character: It’s Ted’s co-coach, Beard (played by Brendan Hunt, also a co-creator of the show), who is a staunch ally; it’s Nathan, the team’s bullied and timid kitman, who has a lot of insights on how to improve the team; it’s Roy, the team captain, who’s stoic, unapproachable and grappling with a waning career; it’s Jamie, the star incapable of being a team player; and it’s Keeley (Juno Temple), Jamie’s girlfriend with enough love in her heart to befriend Rebecca, the team’s owner. Rebecca, meanwhile, is doing her best to put on a brave face as her ex-husband smugly and unrepentantly tries to make her look like a fool.
With each passing episode, Ted wins over his players, Rebecca and the team’s fans. He’s unstoppable and completely, utterly lovable, even as he deals with his own marriage troubles. He stitches the team together with thoughtful instruction and caring. We all know the power of a great coach who cares about his players, and Ted proves it again and again, even as Richmond’s poor record threatens to relegate the team to a lesser league. It’s no surprise that Sudeikis won a SAG award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal.
The first season will fly by, as it contains only 10 half-hourish episodes. It will, however, pack an emotional punch, as your throat closes in sympathy for Ted and his team; as your heart races as Richmond fights for wins on the pitch; as your chest fills with happiness and light.
“Ted Lasso” has cemented itself among my favorite comfort, feel-good shows: it keeps company now with “Schitt’s Creek,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Good Place.” In keeping with Ted’s core philosophy, I believe you will find joy in this show as well.
Start here: Season 1, Episode 1
It’s a quick binge, and you won’t want to miss a second of it. You will inevitably be left wanting more at the end of the 10th episode. Luckily, the second season premieres July 23 with two episodes, then each Friday after that for a total of 12 episodes. Also, a third season has already been confirmed.
Available on: Apple TV+