Television Reviews

TED LASSO Offers Some Much Needed Comedic Joy

A mid-western American football coach moves to the United Kingdom to coach English football; a sport he knows nothing about. While it’s expected to go terribly bad, he’ll prove he has the skills to be less of a disaster than assumed. Ted Lasso is the newest series from Apple TV+, starring Jason Sudeikis as the titular character. It’s a bit of a silly concept but I found the series to be the perfect prescription for an otherwise despondent year, offering some much needed levity.

Having made a small name for himself as a Kansas collegiate football coach, Ted Lasso (Sudeikis) takes up a new gig all the way in the UK, with the AFC Richmond soccer team. Alongside his friend and colleague Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), Ted hasn’t the first clue about how the sport works. His hiring makes waves and the fans are none too pleased. It was certainly a bizarre choice, the first big decision by the new team owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), who acquired the team in her divorce, though her motivations are a bit more calculated than one would assume.

Also displeased with the choice are the players themselves, as Ted has a unique, and obviously inexperienced, approach to coaching them. With the sport being their livelihoods, there is a lot of friction between them, with some less optimistic than others. While the media, and pretty much everyone else, are convinced Ted will inevitably fail, he can’t help but leave a lasting mark on every person he meets.

I’m not typically someone who gravitates towards comedy series, and certainly nothing sports-related, but I’ve been somewhat a fan of Sudeikis’ since his SNL days. I decided to give the series a shot and I have to say, I think it’s just one of the shows that can capture anyone. The character was actually created for a string of Premier League promos back in 2013 and 2014. Seven years later, and the “fish on the other side of the pond” character has his own series, which has already been renewed for a second season.

The character is a bit of an airhead, but there is something so charming and endearing about him, that everyone can’t help but grow to love him. A lot of the shows humor is a result of his naivety, even a bit of willful ignorance towards negativity – a semi-admirable quality of his. There’s also a great, well-rounded cast of supporting characters that Sudeikis has amazing chemistry with, especially Waddingham, who plays his rather uptight boss. The connection with everyone is felt immediately from episode one and truly feels genuine.

What I’ve really enjoyed about the show is its simplicity. It is just a purehearted series that offers some great fun and laughs for 30-minutes, without going overboard. It goes without saying that this year has been extremely heavy and mentally draining and personally, I needed something that could offer some wittiness and escapism. This show really provides that.

Ted Lasso is available on Apple TV+

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