Even After 3 Seasons, Ted Lasso Is Still as Captivating & Inspiring as Ever
Ted Lasso is so good it could keep a goldfish’s attention for three seasons.
Before the Ted Lasso series on Apple TV+ was even a thought, Jason Sudeikis brought the soccer-illiterate American gaffer to life in an NBC Sports ad campaign for the Premier League, where he led the oft-punchless Tottenham Hotspur F.C. He didn’t have anywhere near the depth of the Ted we know now, but he was still a loveable goofball. Fast forward to 2023, and Ted Lasso has become a critically acclaimed show with one of the most beloved main characters in television history.
While a character like Ted seemed to be a long-shot success when moving from short comedic ads to a full T.V. series, Sudeikis’ acting made it work. There’s no doubting his comedic chops with a decade of work on SNL. However, what makes the character of Ted Lasso work is when things start to get a bit more serious.
Whether Ted is dealing with coming to terms with divorcing the mother of his children or fighting his mental health issues, each topic is tackled with grace. In the latest episode, we even see that Ted is continuing to talk to his therapist. He certainly struggles a bit when his son mentions “mommy’s new friend” but he maintains his composure at that moment.
Besides Sudeikis, the rest of the supporting cast knocks it out of the park as well. American audiences certainly weren’t as familiar with much of the supporting cast, to begin with, but their performances have helped to make their characters household names.
Each character has had their own little arc that’s felt satisfying and helped endear the characters to the audience. Just a few examples are Sam’s protest of the club’s sponsor, Roy’s growth as a loving and caring uncle, Rebecca coming clean to Ted in season one, Keeley acting as a guide for Roy’s growth, Nate’s turn to West Ham United after feeling unappreciated, or Jamie’s growth of becoming a better person and teammate. If that’s not enough, then maybe their multiple supporting cast Emmy wins, and nominations speak for themselves.
Jamie, in particular, still has a little bit of that cocky jerk in him that we see in the first episode of the new season. However, he’s now able to channel it into a positive net outcome for the rest of the team. When his teammates are stressing about every site, paper, and TV pundit predicting a last-place finish for Richmond, he just reminds them of the sewer lesson and not to care what other people think of them.
Besides the fantastic acting that makes the entire cast a joy to watch, the general subject matter makes Ted Lasso appeal to audiences in America and around the world. Viewers in the U.S. know Sudeikis and, for the most part, can relate to being an American in another country. He’ll sometimes poke fun at British customs and traditions, but it’s always done in jest with a smile on his face. On top of that, Ted always talks about how he’s trying to learn about their culture, which shows his humility.
As for the British and other viewers around the globe, the whole show is framed around the most popular sport on Earth. That alone is sure to draw people in. However, the portrayals of British characters and international players focus on them as humans instead of simple flat characters that are just comic relief fodder. This kind of representation is empowering and builds characters that everyone can appreciate no matter where they come from.
Ultimately, what has made Ted Lasso a must-watch program for three seasons is that it’s a pure and simple underdog story. Ted is an outsider from the start as an American manager in one of the most popular and competitive soccer leagues in the world, which is not an easy task (see Jesse Marsch). Yet, his club comes within one goal of surviving relegation, which is quite good considering Ted’s complete lack of soccer knowledge.
When Ted is down in the sewers to teach his players an important lesson about not letting the chatter around the team faze them, Nate sees an opening to insult his former mentor. Then when Ted gets the opportunity to punch back, he acts as an example for the team and takes the high road by complimenting Nate’s knowledge of the game. This is just one example from the latest season, but there are so many throughout the first two that make it impossible to not like Ted.
Despite the challenges that come Ted’s way, he faces them as gracefully as he possibly can. Sometimes he fails, and that’s ok because he always learns from his mistakes to become a better person. Most of all, Ted’s plus all the characters’ willingness to change and grow as human beings make the show a wholly enjoyable and inspirational experience.
It’s a shame that it looks like the third season may be the end of the road for the program. Still, all great shows come to an end at some point. If the final season delivers as the other two have, then it will likely be remembered as one of the most heartwarming and uplifting shows on Apple TV+, if not one of T.V.’s all-time greats.
The first two seasons of Ted Lasso are available now on Apple TV+, and the third season is streaming now.
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