Why Is Ted Lasso My Hero

Ted Lasso is an Antidote to all your blues.
ted lasso makes you believe
image source: fox

Why did I put off watching Ted Lasso for so long? Probably because I didn’t know much about it except it had something to do with soccer and I’m not a fan. It was only through the recommendation of some good friends and twenty Emmy nominations that I decided to take the plunge. I’m picky about what I watch with my limited TV time.

Created by Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso had its humble beginning during performances in Amsterdam where they used the character to contrast their ignorance of soccer with the enormous popularity of the sport.

In 2012, NBC bought the streaming rights to the Premier Soccer League and needed to market soccer to an American audience. They teamed up with the Tottenham Hotspurs to use Ted Lasso as an American mistakenly hired to coach their team. It was a huge hit on the Hotspurs YouTube channel and the ads NBC created for the League.

Even though the ads were eventually discontinued, Sudeikis and Hunt thought the idea had real legs. They teamed up with Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs, and Joe Kelly, a former Saturday Night Live writer, and the show premiered on Apple TV in August of 2020.

In its freshman outing, it was nominated for 20 Emmy Awards, the most for any new comedy show in Emmy history. Sudeikis, along with co-stars Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham, all took home statues for their performances.

Ted Lasso emmy award winner
image source: inc

In the pilot, Ted is recruited by AFC Richmond, a fictional English Premier League Soccer team, to reverse its ailing fortunes. Unbeknownst to Ted, the owner, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) is hoping to sabotage the team as a way of getting revenge on her ex-husband, a former co-owner of the team.

As a college football coach with no experience in soccer, he faces ridicule and resentment from his team, the press as well as the fans. Luckily, his assistant, Coach Beard is a quick study.

Ted’s upbeat outlook and unfailing faith in the goodness of mankind keep him from bowing to the mounting pressure and the attitude the team trolls him with. We can see where this is going, but it’s fun to be along for the ride. Rebecca is a perfect foil for his aw-shucks attitude, and watching her slowly melt under his charm is fresh and funny.

The supporting actors are first-rate: Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) is Ted’s rock, personally and professionally. (The “Beard After Hours” episode in Season Two is a series standout.)

Ted might not know much about the sport, but the emotionally handicapped Beard dedicates himself to learning the ins and outs so his boss can shine. Ted knows people though, and the team slowly warms to him as they experience his caring about them personally as well as professionally.

Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) steals the show as a foul-mouthed aging superstar locked in a testosterone-fueled battle with the hot new star player, Jamie Tartt (Phill Dunster). To make matters worse, they are both in love with the same girl, Keeley Jones (Juno Temple).

Despite Ted’s upbeat persona, alone at night we see him struggle with a failing marriage and a son who is half a world away. A man so upbeat and full of optimism is rejected by his wife for those very things. Despite his personal tragedies, Ted never drops the ball, so to speak, with his concern for the welfare of the team.

For some series, it can be hard to sustain watchability into the second season. But the show goes deeper into Ted’s psyche and discovers another side to his personality.

When the team is stuck in a rut and can’t seem to win any games, a sports therapist, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (played by Sarah Niles) is brought in to help. Her style is decidedly different from Ted’s, but he eventually parks his butt in her chair and has a whopper of a confession.

Nathan “Nate” Shelley (Nick Mohammed) has perhaps the most shocking arc of the season. He begins as the nerdy equipment manager who is abused by the team to become a Coach due to Ted’s support.

But can the friendship survive Nate’s dysfunction and jealousy? No spoilers here, but it doesn’t look good- and is a kick-ass way to end the second season.

Why is it so good?  Like a perfect biscuit, the secret ingredient can be somewhat elusive. But for me, it’s Ted’s unflappable kindness and can-do attitude.

Cynicism seems to be the default tone of most shows, and to see Ted create a family out of a bickering band of dysfunctional athletes is pure magic.

A combination of likable flawed characters who overcome their personal and professional injuries to support each other and go all out for the win is something worth watching. I just can’t wait for the next season to release!

Ted Lasso bought everyone together as a family
image source: ca-times
Sheila is an LA-based writer and actress working in the Television industry.

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