Jason Sudeikis stars as an American coaching English soccer.
Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is the coach for an American NCAA Division 2 football team that has recently won a title for the first time ever. Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), the recently-divorced owner of the Richmond Association Football (soccer, all uses of football from here on mean soccer) Club, decides to hire Ted in the hopes that he will ruin the team, because that way she can spite her adulterous ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head). Rupert’s only real love was the team, apparently. Ted, who doesn’t know anything about this kind of football, agrees and brings his assistant coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) along for the ride. Ted quickly finds himself at odds with the experienced team captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and the new superstar Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), but is determined to see things through with his unyielding positivity. Other major characters include Rebecca’s assistant Higgins (Jeremy Swift), assistant coach Nate (Nick Mohammed), and Keeley (Juno Temple), Jamie’s model girlfriend who is much smarter than he is.
END SUMMARY (All uses of football continue to mean soccer).
I had not planned on watching this show because I didn’t have Apple+ and I’m hitting my limit on what I can afford to stream for this blog. Fortunately, the Faceless Old Woman who lives on my Sofa uses a Mac and for the first time I am glad for that. This show is one of my favorite watches in a while. We got through the entire series in 2 days and, while I am a binger, my counterpart is very much not. While this show is ten half-hour episodes, it goes down so smooth that you’ll think you just started as the last episode airs. This isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of ground covered by the show, it takes almost every character on a large emotional journey, it’s just that the series is so funny and positive that it goes by quickly.
Ted Lasso himself is an interesting character. He’s so upbeat and supportive and idealistic that he’s closer to Mr. Rogers than the typical image of a professional coach. There’s a running gag where the local football fans insult him to his face only for Ted to politely joke with them and thank them for their opinions. When confronted by reporters about the fact that he doesn’t know anything about football and will likely not be a good coach, he earnestly responds that his goal isn’t to win, it’s to make the people on his team into the best people they can be. The key here is the writing, which manages to show Ted as always being genuinely excited and supportive of almost everyone. While Ted has moments of weakness or anger or sadness, he always defaults back to being happy and caring. In one of the last episodes, he reveals that it stems from his constant curiosity. The world is full of so many interesting things and there’s always more to find, so why not be happy and excited about life and learning? It’s honestly one of the best philosophies I’ve ever heard.
The supporting cast are all amazing, but I’ll admit that I think there are three highlights. First, Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca not only showcases her amazing voice but also puts her in the position of the antagonist who doesn’t want to be. She does such a great job at this that you like her even when she’s doing things to sabotage Ted. Brendan Hunt, who is often a guy who pops up in various sitcoms, is amazing as Coach Beard. Beard seems to perpetually be on Ted’s wavelength, completing his jokes and answering his strange trivia questions, but also to be living a very exotic and extremely intriguing lifestyle off-camera. Then there’s Keeley. Dear god, I think it would have been so easy to hate this character, but Juno Temple and some quality writing manage to make her into one of the funniest, most interesting, and most developed characters on television right now.
Overall, this show is amazing. It’s just genuinely fun and it wants to make you a better person. That’s the kind of stuff I love.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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