Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Ted Lasso is a show that premiered in 2020 starring Jason Sudeikis on Apple+. The story centers around a small time Division 2 American football coach who is hired to coach soccer in England. Most of the ‘fish out of water’ jokes you’d expect land, and the central ‘conflict’ (if you can call it a conflict) shows how Ted is coping with his new job, team, and country. I will not go into many plot details, because I REALLY want you to go in blind, but I do want to impart a few (spoiler free) reasons you should be tuning in.
Our Main Character:
Our main character is Ted Lasso who comes into his new head coaching job, where he doesn’t even know the rules of soccer, optimistic and full of ideas. Two qualities about Ted make themselves known immediately: his eternal cheeriness and his ability to be unphased by what is happening around him. Ted, throughout the show, uses those qualities to be a different and admirable leader. This is in complete juxtaposition of male leaders we see on other television shows and real-life sports because Ted goes beyond anger and force to motivate his team. Ted wields understanding to help his players know themselves and change on their own instead of forcing them to change to win a game. Ted would truly rather them win at life. He spends time getting to know his players, boss, and even the towel boy to help them all realize their potential. This role is perfect for Jason Sudeikis and I cannot see anyone else embodying it as well as he does. It’s the titular role and it’s the reason this show works expertly well.
The Tone and Approach
Sometimes it feels like Ted’s optimism is infecting the show because of how it mirrors Ted’s own bright and sunny demeanor. The dialogue is on par with anything Michael Schur has created (the office, parks and rec, etc seem to be influences here) as Ted speaks mostly in puns and turns of phrase, leading to big laughs. The characters act with confusion when Ted’s personality contradicts the situation, but the show itself never discounts it. Instead, it touts it as how someone should act when surrounded by confusion and chaos, calm and respectful. Although, one of the best things the lighthearted tone enables the show to achieve is allowing the emotional beats to land harder. Ted Lasso’s characters have issues and the humor hides some of that pain, but in quiet moments the show gracefully gives characters a chance to be real. I will admit, I teared up in a few moments because of how well conflict, hardship, and romance are handled and mixed with levity.
To be frank, Ted Lasso is funny. Just flat out hilarious. I remember laughing out loud, not just at jokes or situations, but at just how the characters interact with themselves and the environment. The bright tone of the show is refreshing in today’s age of self-deprecating humor and 'gritty for no reason' reboots. The situations feel low stakes and approachable which allows the show to feel familiar, as you discover it with our characters. It was a refuge for me in some uncertain times to be able to escape for a few hours with something that felt, in the weirdest way, normal. In any other show, the predictable plot and sitcom tropes are tired and uninspired but the writing rises above, and defies, the turmoil we see on the news. It is welcome and appreciated.
I can say, with confidence, that Ted Lasso was one of my favorite shows to come out of a year when I felt glued to my couch. Honestly, I have already watched it again while writing this piece. I cannot implore you more to watch a show that knows exactly what it is and what it wants to do, encourage you to be better. I invite you to grab some biscuits (cookies, for you Americans) and a beer shaped like a boot and escape, for a while. You might learn something about leadership and communication, if you can stop laughing.