There is no conflict that Ted Lasso can’t resolve with a pep-talk, to the point that it almost begins to feel like a defence mechanism. Why, or more importantly, how, can Ted be so chipper? Especially in face of such adversity. It is a mystery that, although sufficiently suppressed by the overall awesomeness of season one, still lingers.
He’s an elusive man whose incessant optimism is more suspicious than endearing, especially to his millennial peers. In season two, the Lasso effect remains as strong as ever. Played by Jason Sudeikis in a performance so lived-in that it blurs the already-faint lines between actor and character, Ted Lasso, the man, is a lot like Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, if The Office had skipped straight past the ‘annoying’ phase to when he became family.
Watch the Ted Lasso Season 2 trailer here:
Life without Lasso is difficult, which is why I watched the first season multiple times in the past year. The show almost singlehandedly put Apple TV+ on the map, and deservedly won a Peabody Award, among many others. It would be foolish to expect season two to outdo season one — it doesn’t — but in many ways, the continued collapse of the real world has made matters more difficult. For instance, cheer that was provided by a quip last year requires a full episode’s worth of emotional set-up.
Sudeikis and team lay the groundwork for Ted’s journey with patience and care — first by introducing a therapist who begins working with the players of AFC Richmond, and then by peeling away the layers of optimism behind which Ted has hidden himself. The conclusion to this arc, when it eventually arrives in the season finale, is precisely the sort of punch in the gut you’d imagine a show like this to pull off. It reveals so much about him, and captures the deep melancholy that runs under the show’s surface.
Like last year, equal attention is paid to the supporting characters. Some, like Nate the Great, are sent down rather surprising paths. Others, like Roy Kent, have a more pronounced arc — he goes from coaching pre-teen girls to bombing as a pundit on primetime TV, to eventually doing something that should be very satisfying to fans. But one of the most fascinatingly fleshed-out dynamics this season is the one shared by Keeley and Rebecca. Let’s just say that the Bechdel test is passed without the need for any penalty shootouts.
It isn’t often that you see a middle-aged woman play the parallel lead in a mainstream sitcom, let alone one whose hangups aren’t professional, but personal.
There is also room for good-natured politics — the Nigerian player Sam Obisanya has a request so idealistic that in the real world, it would warrant the immediate termination of his contract. But in Lasso-land, it earns him several pats on the back, the solidarity of his teammates, and tremendous appreciation from the press; Trent Crimm (The Independent) included.
No one is beyond redemption in Ted Lasso — neither an arrogant football star who learns humility or a stinky little kid who is showing early signs of a strong career as a bully. There are no villains either, which goes against the very grammar of sports-based storytelling. The show’s conflicts are all internal, much like our own.
Ted Lasso Season 2
Cast – Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple
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The author tweets @RohanNaahar
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