What is Witty Watching?

Ted Lasso – Season 1 and Season 2 Review
February 24, 2022

Synopsis: American college football coach Ted Lasso heads to London to manage AFC Richmond, a struggling English Premier League soccer team.
Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham
Showrunner: Bill Lawrence

Before I begin, let’s get something straight, this is a dramedy, not a comedy.

Now that I have that off my chest, we can begin. Like most TV shows, I was late to the party with Ted Lasso. I never proclaimed to be a TV person, I’m more passionate about movies. It’s virtually impossible to miss the hype surrounding this show. The accolades and awards keep mounting.

So, what is Ted Lasso? From Apple TV Plus comes a goldmine of a show. The series focuses on Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), a college football coach, who accepts a job to coach a football (soccer) team in the prestigious Premier League in England called AFC Richmond. A large portion of the first season deals with him adjusting to life and the game in the UK.

Now, why in the world would an English Premier League (EPL) team hire someone, with no football experience, to coach their team?  Well, you’ll have to watch to find out.

Ted Lasso is a very likeable character and the writers have done an outstanding job filling his vocabulary with outstanding one-liners. In addition to our lead, we meet a strong supporting cast, the grizzled foul-mouthed veteran player Roy Kent, (Brett Goldstein), the owner of the team Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) Lasso’s friend and fellow coach from the USA, Coach Beard, (Brendan Hunt) and public relations consultant Keeley Jones, (Juno Temple). This ensemble is an embarrassment of riches. This isn’t a show where just the lead is receiving the best material, they spread it around. What is also outstanding is that several of the cast are also writers of the series.

This is easily the best role Jason Sudeikis has ever had. And while you may have loved him in Horrible Bosses or like me adored his comedic timing in Hall Pass it is Ted Lasso where he truly shines. For the role, he has personally won two Emmys, a Critics Choice, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild and multiple Writers Guild Awards.

In doing my research on this show I was impressed that the entire concept of this show started back in 2013 with tv advertisements. The NBC network was looking to promote the fact that they would be showing EPL games, and the character ‘Ted Lasso’ had multiple ads and vignettes where he spoke with actual EPL personalities from coaches to commentators and displayed his lack of knowledge of the game. The ads were intended to be funny, and they exceeded that.

‘We are going to give a full effort for all four quarters’ said Lasso. ‘You mean two halves?’ quipped ‘the reporter’. Brilliant.

The show itself is very funny. The fans didn’t take to Lasso as he first arrived, so they call him ‘Wanker’ which in his opinion is a term of endearment. And don’t me started on the one-liners. On relegation, ‘I was relegated in the fourth grade, and I had to go back to the third grade.’ Again, this is gold.

Now, I personally take ‘exception’ to this being called a ‘comedy’. In addition to the non-stop humour this is one of the most touching shows on television I have seen since the first season of This is Us. I love how this show is in touch with the human spirit and makes certain subjects discussable. Several characters deal with mental health issues and that has been a focus of the show, we have also explored how sponsors of these big clubs influence the world as a whole and the show explores some different gender dynamics.  This show also does a fantastic job of peeling back the layers of the characters and allows us to get to know their strengths and their insecurities. Now I am not saying this is a drama but if any show ever deserved to be labelled ‘dramedy’ it is Ted Lasso.

As a football fan, this show is fun and enjoyable to watch as there are so many reference points throughout both seasons. (Manchester City, my favourite team, gets multiple shout-outs!) To me, what’s more, important is that this is a show that is worth your time. Bill Lawrence and his team have created one of the most humanist shows on television.

And just like in an actual game of football, Sudeikis may be the star player but it’s the ensemble that takes them to the title.

Grade: A-

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