Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso

2020 - Uk Usa

With its heartfelt storylines and feel-good nature, the first two seasons scored back-to-back Emmy Awards

Seasons 1&2 review by Jennifer AJ

From SNL’s Jason Sudeikis, here’s the series that teaches Americans to acknowledge the real football.

Three years ago, who would’ve thought that a comedy series based on a character in an NBC Sports sketch was going to be one of the best comedies in recent memory? Ted Lasso did that, kicking off to little fanfare on AppleTV+ during the height of the pandemic before netting massive love over those locked down months. In a bleak year, Ted Lasso offered a comforting hug, and I’m happy to report it’s retained its winning streak, three seasons in. 

Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso follows its titular character, an American football coach from Kansas played by Sudeikis, heading to England to manage the English football club AFC Richmond. He was hired by Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), who won ownership of the club as part of a divorce settlement from her cheating ex-husband. Here’s the kicker: Rebecca secretly wanted to run the club to the ground as punishment for the infidelity, the only reason she hired a completely inexperienced Ted. Predictably, that doesn’t go over well with everybody. Soon, however, Ted’s sunny personality and innate optimism begins to win everyone over, even as the team struggles to notch up a win.

Ted Lasso

In season 3, Richmond is in a much greener pasture. They’ve been promoted to the Premier League, though pundits constantly predict they’d be at the bottom of the barrel by the end of the season. When it comes to our beloved characters, their commentaries are no mere predictions: from Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy (Brett Goldstein)’s breakup to Ted’s continued mental health struggle, they are going through it all. Can these lovely lads overcome it? Will Richmond finally prove everyone wrong? 

With its heartfelt storylines and feel-good nature, the first two seasons scored back-to-back Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, a departure from the recent trend of high-brow dark comedies. Indeed, on the outset, Ted Lasso might not be as flashy as The Marvelous Mrs Maisel or as edgy as Barry. Instead, the show feels radical in its simplicity and kindness.

Ted Lasso

One of the most outstanding things about the show is its emphasis on mental health. For all its silliness, the show regularly conveys mental health-related messages like the importance of seeking help, the many surprising ways we shield our emotional trauma, admitting your struggle, how to process difficult feelings - all in a non-preachy way. Ahead of season 3, the core cast even went to the White House to speak about the importance of checking up on one another, a very crucial reminder in this increasingly more individualistic world.

Ted Lasso

Despite the heavy topics it tackled, the show never strayed from its uplifting tone. The writing is a perfect blend of American family sitcom and British humour: always self-aware, tongue-in-cheek, but never mean for being mean’s sake. It also relished in things that serious comedies often dismiss: penchant for cheesy rom-com references, Ted’s love of puns, the bro humour. The show is just like Ted: childlike, joyous, and big hearted. A true champion!

Season 3 Review by Jennifer AJ 20 June 2023

After 3 seasons, the beloved AppleTV+ sports comedy finally blew the full-time whistle. Ted Lasso has come a long way since its inception as an NBC Sports parody skit. Now, the intrepid coach and his AFC Richmond family have permanently resided in the hearts of millions, thanks to its heartwarming storylines, a host of lovable characters and emphasis on mental health. Its final episode, aptly titled So Long, Farewell, wraps up all the arcs introduced since 2020 in neat bows while leaving the door open for new possibilities. 

With the series ending, there’s no better time to score Ted Lasso’s overall performance than now. And I’m happy to say that for the most part, it hits all the right notes. 

From the kick-off, Ted Lasso proved itself to be such a rare gem. Amid the wave of cynical, dark comedies populating mainstream media, here comes a silly comedy that is so aggressively kind and sincere. Debuting in the middle of the pandemic, the show felt like a comforting hug against the bleakness of the world. And until the end, it continues to be just that. 

Season 3 expands on the lives of longtime regulars who previously only lurked in the background. Trent Crimm, Colin Hughes, and Isaac McAdoo get their times to shine with some surprising revelations. We also see the continuous evolutions of Jamie Tartt, Roy Kent, and Rebecca Welton in the right direction. In particular, it warms my heart how far Jamie has come from the prick villain of season 1 to the sweet goofy jock of season 3. Speaking of villains, Nate Shelley’s season-long darkside era kind of underwhelms with its haphazard conclusion. But the real gem of that arc manifests in a scene between Nate and Coach Beard in the penultimate episode. After all that happened, what transpires there truly brings home the theme of forgiveness echoing through the show.

While most characters received fitting ends, there are two main casts who unfortunately got sidelined this last season: Keeley Jones and, surprise, Ted Lasso himself. Keeley spent most of the season busy with her PR company and a new gay romance, keeping her away from Richmond. Both of her major storylines ended with a thud, with little effects on her character development. She abruptly just went back to frequenting the men’s locker room as if she’d just been on vacation. It's a baffling decision and a major loss of the feminine energy she brought to the Greyhounds. It’s equally as frustrating to watch Ted fade into the background this season. His arc got buried under a mountain of stories to tell inside a 12-episode bracket that we barely spent enough time with the moustachioed pun master. The show also wickedly plays on fans’ shipping hopes, constantly teasing but never paying them off. For a show with an abiding love for romcom references, it’s quite disheartening.

Ted Lasso cast

Some writing issues aside, the show remains on brand till the very end. The finale induced a flurry of laugh crying and ugly sobs as they brought things in circle with meaningful callbacks. Mental health continues to be the highlight of the show, with big speeches that sometimes border on ostentatious. But hey, that’s fitting for a show that wears its heart so proudly on its sleeves. For all its honest explorations of the psyche, I’ll always be grateful.

Interestingly, the final episode is labelled as “season finale” instead of “series finale” despite multiple interviews of the cast and creators calling it the end of the line for Ted Lasso. Near the end, Ted made a declaration that “it’s not about (him), it never was”, perhaps hinting that this story can go on without him (a Richmond spinoff?). Or perhaps, it’s just my reluctance to bid goodbye to one of the finest comedies to ever grace the screen talking. 

These season reviews originally appeared as two separate articles.

Published on April 14th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

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