If you’re anything like me, you’ve suddenly been hearing people talk about Ted Lasso over the last few months. Probably not a lot of specifics, just mentions of how good it is, and a few references that you didn’t quite understand. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve thought to yourself that it sounds like it might be fun, but haven’t watched it, because it’s only available on Apple TV+. (Seriously, who needs—or even can afford—yet another paid streaming service right now?) Well, I’m here to tell you: You need Ted Lasso in your life. And you won’t even realize just how much you needed it, until you’ve seen it for yourself.
Ted Lasso is an American football coach from Kansas who somehow finds himself hired to coach a European football team—a.k.a. soccer. He arrives in England knowing virtually nothing about the sport, but he’s determined to learn and convinced that he can help this team do great things. Of course, first, he’ll have to convince the team, the press, the fans, and Britain as a whole, that he’s not a total wanker.
It’s true that Ted’s knowledge of European football is woefully lacking—and his knowledge of British life and culture is even more lacking – but he’s armed with a relentless positivity that can carry him through any challenge with a smile and an encouraging word.
It’s easy to look at that relentless positivity and write Ted off as an idiot. Most of the other characters do, and we the audience can sometimes get caught up in that mentality, as well, assuming he’s a sort of Inspector Clouseau-type character, bumbling his way through whatever situation presents itself and somehow having everything turn out all right in spite of everything. But this is NOT Ted Lasso. Though Ted is certainly a fish out of water, and sometimes a bit naïve, he is anything but stupid. At times, he’s the smartest one in the room. And when he’s not, he knows enough to listen to the ones who are—even if nobody else will.
Once we understand that, we can see that there’s real depth behind Ted’s relentless positivity, and even a bit of darkness. He knows it’s ridiculous for an American football coach to be in charge of a British soccer team. He knows that people are laughing at him behind his back and rooting for him to fail. His positive attitude is a constant, conscious choice on his part to be the light that cuts through that darkness, both for himself and for those around him. And as the show progresses, we see that that decision isn’t always an easy one.
There’s plenty of humor to be derived from the silly misunderstandings about the differences between British and American culture, or between American and European football. But where the real humor of the show lies is in the interplay between the characters.
There’s Coach Beard, Ted’s right-hand man, who comes over with him from Kansas and tries to help Ted get on top of this whole soccer thing. There’s Nathan, the shy, unassuming kit-man who’s amazed Ted even bothered to learn his name. There’s Roy, the aging football star with a rough and cynical exterior. There’s Jaime, the fresh, young football star who’s an insufferable jerk and a raging narcissist, and Keeley, his supermodel girlfriend who may just be the ally Ted needs. And then there’s Rebecca, the cold, calculating owner of the team, who’s rooting for Ted to fail harder than anyone else.
These are who these characters are on the surface. But one by one, as Ted attempts to win them over, we start to break through their tough outer shells and see that all of them are deeper than they first seemed.
These characters and the interplay between them help make this a really funny show. But of course, it’s also so much more than that. Sometimes, you’ll laugh out loud, and other times, you’ll cry your eyes out—in the best possible way. Either way, you need this show in your life.
If you don’t have Apple TV+, they offer a free 7-day trial of it. That should be plenty of time to work your way through the 10 half-hour episodes of the first season. Or even if it’s not, watching the show is worth the first month’s subscription fee.
This is more than just entertaining television. This show is genuinely good for your soul. The world is a difficult place sometimes, filled with difficult situations and difficult people. Ted Lasso helps put at least some of that into perspective. And if you’re not careful, some of that relentless positivity might even start to rub off on you.
Creative Team: Jason Sudeikis (developed by, created by, Ted Lasso), Bill Lawrence (developed by, created by), Brendan Hunt (developed by), Joe Kelly (developed by)
Released by: Apple TV+
Click here to watch.