OK, I’ll admit, I resisted “Ted Lasso,” the comedy series on Apple+, for a long time.
First, it was on Apple+, and when the show premiered my household didn’t have it. I remembered the original ads on NBC Sports Network about the character Ted Lasso, an American footbawl coach who is managing Tottenham Hotspur, hijinks ensue. They were kind of funny once, and lost charm the 800th time watching a particular ad promoting the Premier League.
Given Lasso is played by Jason Sudeikis and the track record of “Saturday Night Live” stars who try to turn a character into a movie, much less a whole series, is pretty checkered, I wasn’t that keen on tuning in. I figured the show would be one note, and decided not to bother.
Well, I was totally wrong.
So we ended up getting Apple+ for free when we bought a new electronic device, and with that came the ability to watch the show. I still resisted, tuning into the remake of “Ghostwriter” first (very good, by the way!).
But during the holidays, I had several whole days in which I didn’t have to work or herd my child into virtual schooling or virtual Spanish lessons, and I finally gave “Ted Lasso” a shot. It did not disappoint.
The first season of the show has an unusual balance — it’s not really a family show, since the f-word is used pretty frequently, while also being quite sweet and wholesome.
There’s a character who is clearly modeled after Roy Keane (his name is nearly identical) who is actually fleshed out into an entire character. There’s a model girlfriend of a player who is also portrayed as a real human, with a full story arc over the course of a season, and this show easily passes the Bechdel Test. Lasso is not actually portrayed as a bumbling idiot, in contrast to the original commercials that launched his character, and there’s an actor from “Downton Abbey,” who has a totally different persona and is genuinely funny here. For goodness sakes, there’s even a stuffy journalist who shows some growth over time.
Remarkably, I think this show appeals both to soccer fans and to non-fans. If you don’t know much about soccer, it’s not actually the point of the various plotlines. And if you do know soccer, then the central arc of Season 1 — can the fictional AFC Richmond avoid relegation from the Premier League? — is pretty faithfully portrayed, too.
So the mix of something for soccer people and non-soccer people, plus the combination of American and English humor, it doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does.
I will not spoil a key scene during the season, but there’s a moment when a very recognizable song plays, and it’s very emotional, maybe you will get teary-eyed over a soccer comedy series, too, because I certainly did.
So yes, that’s my pitch for you to check out “Ted Lasso” if you haven’t yet. The series has been renewed for two more seasons, and again, it’s a genuinely good show. I was a skeptic, but when I gave it a chance, it turned out to be really excellent. If you’ve been holding out for no good reason, here’s your appeal to give it a go as well.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.