If Ted Lasso season 1 was a warm embrace that the world needed during 2020 (the year that doesn’t exist) and the Covid-19 pandemic, then season 2 is a weighted blanket. Finding comfort in a show when we all felt isolated, alone, uncertain of the future and afraid of the unpredictable environment is exactly what we all needed. A show with characters that can make any viewer smile, laugh, feel angry and cry in the same scene is a rare sight especially in a world where streaming services reign supreme and there is a mountain of content ready to fight for our limited attention.
I use a weighted blanket reference to describe season 2 of the best show currently out today because of the weighted expectations of success after season one literally came out of nowhere and shocked the world (the same way The Queen’s Gambit was a powerhouse of a series). Is it too much weight to the point where season 2 can’t live up to the expectations of the fans? Perhaps, to some but season 2 is just as magical as season 1, hitting the same emotional beats while expanding on supporting characters that may have been overlooked or underutilized in season 1.
Ted Lasso’s ensemble cast picked up right where they left off (same with the story). And while the story focused largely on the sport of football in season one, season 2 put its spotlight away from the pitch and more on its characters. Leading the way is the titular Ted (Jason Sudeikis) – a man out of place, far away from the comfort zone he may have known in America. Same can be said about Ted’s right hand man Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) as both men navigate coaching a football club with zero experience. Season 1 ends with Ted keeping his job after the club, AFC Richmond gets relegated out of the Premier League where season 2 picks up mid-season and in the thick of a match that ends in a shocking and traumatic way.
Trauma and how each individual character lives and deals with it is the biggest theme of season two. After all Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) isn’t hired to take up Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift) office for an entire season for no reason. Sharon as a character represents a cog in the machine, her methods for therapy are an enigma how quickly she can make a player who is unsure of himself suddenly have all the confidence in the world. Meant to push characters past their boundaries, make them uncomfortable and be able to find their inner peace.
But what makes a show like Ted Lasso so brilliantly put together is how each character is relatable. Whatever Ted is going through with his divorce, living across an ocean from his growing son and having the country you’re a foreigner in expect you to fail on the biggest stage is a lot of pressure and Sudeikis nails every emotion that comes with it. Whether he’s a ray of sunshine speaking in his Ted-isms (the Earl’s of risk) or having a panic attack, Sudeikis commands the moment. Ted isn’t the only one having a mental crisis – Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) (who I learned at the start of season two that she played the woman in Game of Thrones shouting Shame at Cersei) is back in the dating world which is terrifying enough but with her status in society as a Football club owner its downright impossible.
Ted Lasso is full of actors and actresses with smaller roles that are treated as equals among the main cast. Hannah is one of them but the most crucial is Mae (Annette Badland) with how much wisdom she possesses and how little shit she takes from the local die-hard fans. Show runners emphasis the smaller roles because no one character is not important to the overall story. Every character matter’s and is used effectively to keep the plot moving.
The show touches upon many plot points that originated in season one that triumphantly make an unexpected return. Moments that felt non-important have bigger implications in the grand scheme of things and social issues aren’t left out either. Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) has a bigger role in season 2 (as he should, Sam is a delightful character) that deals with corporate greed and protesting peacefully (he’s the Colin Kapernick of AFC Richmond). Sam proves that with the right platform and proud parents that invested in Bitcoin in 2009 anything can be possible. Toheeb brings a serenity to the show that is largely a comedy but has all the heart in the world. Especially when the topic of love comes up. Love on Ted Lasso comes from the most unexpected places. Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley (Juno Temple) are the epitome of couple goals – though they may not have a lot in common, the two find ways to make each other better constantly. Brett is hands down a favorite whenever he shouts Oi! At the top of his lungs or goes on a cursing rampage in front of his niece. He also has one of the most important emotional moments with Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster).
Jamie as a character has grown a lot in maturity from season 1 to season 2. Making his return to Richmond he learns how to be a better person amongst being a better footballer and Phil Dunster shines – well everyone on the show is brilliant – not a single bad performance throughout the series thus far.
Like any other series there is an antagonist. Season 1 was Rebecca but season 2 is Nate (Nick Mohammed). I believe he has a better villainous turn than Daenerys Targaryen (see it all comes back to Game of Thrones – there’s no avoiding one of the greatest shows ever created). By the end of season 2 Nate is easily the most loathsome character in the show that includes Rebecca’s ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head).
With all the amazing performances what does Ted Lasso say? What is the purpose driving this series? It’s ok to be vulnerable and not ok with your current situation or mental health. Its ok to panic and feel anxious and not have all the answers. It’s ok to lose because not every loss, whether in sports or personal life is something you can’t bounce back from. It’s ok to not constantly feel in control because Ted, Rebecca, Roy, Beard, Keeley, Nate, Jamie, and countless others aren’t perfect. Ted Lasso is about embracing imperfection, stepping out of your comfort zone, and finding who you are and what purpose your life may have. It’s a series that in its second season didn’t have the same impact season 1 had given the state of the world. Not many people have seen Ted Lasso or are just discovering it thanks to all the well-deserved Emmy wins but for those who have seen it and loved every minute – we Believe in Ted Lasso because it’s not perfect itself.
Nothing is perfect, not even season 2. Yes, it is the best show currently on television but it’s a flawed masterpiece. Tone and pacing from episode to episode shift with one episode in particular standing out like a sore thumb. The comedy can be a bit too much at times but honestly, it’s a nitpick, every character has their comedic moment where none miss a beat in the dialogue. That episode though strange and fits right in, is out of place that can easily distract a viewer from the several important plotlines that hold more gravitas.
If Jamie Tartt-do-do-do-do-do-do and he’s here, he’s there, he’s every fucking where Roy Kent Roy Kent isn’t stuck in your subconscious yet, you may need to see a doctor or Sharon – whichever is cheaper.
Plain and simple, I adore Ted Lasso – it deserves all the flowers. Football is life, ain’t that right Danny Rojas (Cristo Fernández)! More like Ted Lasso is life.
Developed By: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt & Joe Kelly
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple & Sarah Niles
Where to Watch: Apple Tv +
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
My Score: 4.5 out of 5
Based On: Format and Characters from NBC Sports