‘Ted Lasso’ is the feel-good binge you need: The cast alone proves it
If Mister Rogers met Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights and then had a baby with every father figure Robin Williams ever played, you would have the perfect character to lead a TV show. Take that character, make sure they know nothing about soccer and then force them to coach a Premier British Soccer team, well then, you have Ted Lasso.
Co-creator & star of Ted Lasso, SNL’s Jason Sudeikis is quite the image to behold. You may remember a viral NBC Sports commercial from several years ago, featuring a clueless & mustached Sudeikis as a bumbling mid-western football coach sent to coach a British Soccer team.
After multiple sequels, co-creators Sudeikis, Joe Kelley, and Brendan Hunt teamed up with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence to flesh out the idea into a full-fledged series.
Premiering on Apple TV+, Ted Lasso has slowly garnered a following. Greenlit for a second & third season, the critical darling will start filming its second season in January if coronavirus restrictions allow. But what makes the show a must-watch?
Smart, well-written, and surprisingly good, Ted Lasso dishes out the traditional fish-out-of-water comedy with a side of hard-to-find optimism. Repping kindness instead of cruelty, the show is never preachy or saccharine, but honest and real. Similar in tone to Parks and Recreation, Ted Lasso the warm TV hug you’ve needed in 2020.
From The Office & Community to Seinfeld & Parks and Recreation, some of the most beloved comedies relied heavily on the likability of its characters & cast. With Ted Lasso even the characters you don’t like, you grow to understand. The show finds the comedy in its characterization, a rare accomplishment for a show so early in its run.
Protagonist Ted seems to have all the answers, but he still exposes his vulnerabilities & flaws. Going through a rough patch in his marriage, Ted leaves his old life behind for the unfamiliar. Is he ill-equipped to coach AFC Richmond, a professional soccer team? Most of England seems to think so, but that doesn’t deter Ted from utilizing his skillset to help others reach success.
Surrounding Ted is a whole cast of appealing characters in Ted Lasso. From his quiet, yet slightly unhinged, assistant, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) to the often forgotten kit man Nathan aka “Nate the Great” to the rag-tag band of hilarious footballers bringing up the comedic rear, Ted Lasso is teeming with personality.
Speaking of players, we’re especially charmed by Jamie Tartt, Richmond’s best & most arrogant team member. Using his free time to bully Nate and annoy veteran player Roy Kent, Tartt might have a soft side if he’s able to snag quick-witted influencer Keeley Jones as his girlfriend.
Bringing the team together for better or for worse is club owner Rebecca Welton. After going through a very public divorce, Rebecca receives AFC Richmond in the settlement. Does she have the best intentions? Not exactly, but what she can’t account for is the impact Ted’s presence has herself and the entire team.
Ted Lasso is quotable
Five rewatches in (we’re not ashamed) and we are still noticing little jokes & details we’ve missed from first viewing of Ted Lasso. (Did you catch the hidden Scorsese joke in the clip above?). From catch phrases to Ted’s insane anecdotes, the writers know exactly which buttons to push to make you laugh.
For a comedy to work, well-written in-jokes are essential – an area Ted Lasso excels. From a harsh locker-room speech taken straight out of Allen Iverson’s mouth, to niche musical & literary references, the show can easily hook anyone. Not into sports? Not a problem, Ted Lasso also features quick one liners and Roy Schieder references.
Underneath that killer ‘stach, Jason Sudeikis leads an all-star cast of actors bringing the spirit of the show to life. Sudeikis got his start in the improv community before making his big break on Saturday Night Live. Known for more snarky characters in Horrible Bosses, Colossal, and We’re the Millers, Sudeikis was used to playing a-holes before writing & starring as the kind & optimistic Ted Lasso.
While Brett Goldstein has had some minor acting success in Britain with roles in SuperBob and Derek, none seem as well suited to him as the intimidating veteran player Roy Kent. Goldstein nails Roy’s gruff demeanor, flashing the character’s vulnerability only when necessary. Goldstein is also a writer on the show and wrote Ted Lasso’s fifth episode, arguably the saddest episode of the first season.
Well known actress Juno Temple brings a smart & relatable girl power to “it girl” and object of desire, Keeley. Temple seems to have chemistry with every actor, the secret glue holding characters together. Quick witted and unexpectedly crass, Temple’s best moments include annoying the grumpy Roy Kent and helping Rebecca let her guard down.
You may know Hannah Waddingham from Sex Education and her Game of Thrones role as the “shame, shame, shame” nun, but in Ted Lasso she’s destined for fame, fame, fame. As the conniving Rebecca, owner of the Richmond Greyhounds, Waddingham brings humanity & relatability to the “ex-wife out for revenge” troupe. In episode 7, she literally sings an Emmy-worthy performance.
Excuse the cliché, but Ted Lasso is the visual equivalent of drinking hot chocolate on a snowy day, curled up on the couch with a good book. Ted teaches us that believing in people and placing cynicism aside is okay. By the season’s end you’ll be wanting your own Lasso sitting on your shoulder, cheering you on.
What are some of your favorite Ted Lasso moments? Let us know in the comments below.