‘Ted Lasso’ is hailed as one of television’s most charming shows. Exactly because of this, the project has stalled.
Roy Kent should replace “Ted Lasso” as the title of the second season of Apple’s beloved sitcom “Ted Lasso.”
Jason Sudeikis plays an optimistic American football coach who is hired to lead a cynical British soccer squad. “Innit neat?” and “aw-shucks” helpfulness from Lasso landed like loving arms amid the darkest days of the pandemic and the most tumultuous election years. “Believe” was his mantra, and he showed that it’s okay for good guys to finish last as long as they create and aid friends along the way.
Lasso’s cheerful temperament and aggressively stupid clichés, on the other hand, feel like comedic mush contrasted to Kent’s sneering, foul-mouthed cynicism (Brett Goldstein). It’s like a cold bath compared to Lasso’s polite-at-all-costs offensive. As we try to climb out of a pandemic lengthened by anti-vaxxer falsehoods and witness the indictments of pro-Trump dead-enders for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, the seasoned veteran’s advise to cut the bulls— and wake the f— up feels more more important now than Lasso’s vague “Believe.”
When it comes to this year’s “Ted Lasso,” the best thing about it is its most difficult-to-like character.
As the former Chelsea captain of Lasso’s AFC Richmond, the ex-Chelsea great adds a spark to a season that has been devoid of dramatic suspense as Lasso has resolved most of the problems that gave him purpose last season Rebekah (Hannah Waddingham) hired Lasso to ruin the squad, but now she wants her boys to succeed. Rupert (Anthony Head), her enemy and ex-husband, is no longer in the picture. Everybody is pulling together, even preening bad boy Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster).
It’s no longer a question of whether or not Lasso should seek treatment from the club’s new doctor, Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles). In an episode, there’s only so much tiger-babble that can be tolerated when it’s been robbed of its purpose and reduced to window dressing.
There’s no “Believe” sign to be seen when Kent reluctantly takes up a new vocation as a television sports analyst. His initial answer to his fellow panelists’ vapid prattle is a grunt. If you ask him about his former team’s performance in a recent game, he doesn’t mince words: “They played like s—.” It was obvious that they were afraid to speak up.” There was a lack of respect among them… If you play like you’re terrified of them, that’s not an acceptable reason. You could tell from their expressions. Terrifying fear. You can compare it to a group of youngsters standing in line for Father Christmas. Embrace your f— pride or don’t wear it.” Yes, please, and thank you very much.
In order for the series to succeed, it requires an edge. A throwback, the show felt like a throwback, a white savior fable wrapped up in a little squad that could comedy.
Except for Nate (Nick Mohammed), the kit man-turned-coach, all of the primary characters were white until Dr. Sharon (a cipher) appeared. There are no backstories for most of the players from Africa and Latin America in Season 2, despite the fact that Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) has a pronounced accent. “Football is life! No, it doesn’t feel like a new phrase either.
All of the characters, including the two main female characters, are based on classic female stereotypes: the angry divorcee seeking revenge on her ex for having an affair with a younger woman and the tart/groupie with a heart of gold (Juno Temple). Social media didn’t focus on its flaws as much as it does with other TV series, proving that timing is crucial. (The same is true for race and gender).
If we’re being honest, “Ted Lasso” has only had to be lovely in order to distinguish itself from the other sarcastic fare that people appear to be desperately trying to escape right now. More than “Ted Lasso,” it speaks to TV’s overabundance of white straight male antiheroes.
You can only imagine what it would be like if a sitcom was created by Mindy Kaling or Issa Rae about an elderly lady who helps lost souls become better people by being pleasant and respectful to them. It’s a privilege for those in authority to be so passive, and to be applauded for it.
It’s not surprising that “Ted Lasso” resonated so well, given all the wonderful programming that has shown since the pandemic began — “I May Destroy You”, “Insecure,” “Ramy,” “Never Have I Ever,” “PEN15,” and “Better Things” — all of which were created by women or people of color. However, it could also explain why, a year later, it feels increasingly out of step, save for Roy Kent, its last figure with edge.