I am not an adventurous television viewer by any stretch of the imagination. I have watched “The Office” at least 20 times and up until recently I had not willingly immersed myself in a new show in years.
When my parents suggested that we watch “Ted Lasso” as a family over winter break, however, I was reminded that there is more to life than hearing Michael Scott yell, “WHERE ARE THE TURTLES?!?!”
“Ted Lasso” is based on an NBC Sports comedy sketch by Jason Sudeikis in which a former American football coach takes a job as a British football coach, not entirely aware of the differences between the two games. The cultural differences between England and Kansas, Lasso’s inability to comprehend the sport and his foolish yet kind personality make for comedy gold.
Lasso first arrives in England when he is hired by Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), a recent divorcée who is determined to run her former husband’s football club into the ground. She makes consistent efforts to sabotage Lasso but it becomes harder and harder for her as she comes to realize that they get along far more than she hoped they would.
The duality of Lasso’s character is a large part of what makes this show such a fun watch.
On one hand, I start crying with laughter every time Lasso leaves Welton’s office and hits either his head, foot or entire body on the door as he enthusiastically leaves (yes, it happens more than once). I lost my ability to breathe when his response to a question about relegation was that he was looking forward to the definition of relegation.
On the other hand, it’s impossible to dislike Lasso because of his genuine kindness and his ability to inspire anyone, anywhere. Although the team shows contempt for him at first, he genuinely inspires the AFC Richmond squad both on and off the pitch, making “Ted Lasso” a truly feel-good sports show.
Lasso is a believer to a fault. He admits to having ‘BELIEVE’ signs all over his apartment, and when asked if he believes in ghosts he replies, “I do, but more importantly, I believe they need to believe in themselves.” His constant optimism is uplifting at times and causes disappointment in other times, but it is an integral and hilarious part of the show.
Even though I could write a book about how much I love Lasso’s character, I would not be doing the show justice if I did not at least mention others.
Early in the show, there is constant tension between aggressive team captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), who is noticeably older than the rest of the team, and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), an arrogant young star who is incredibly unlikeable at times. Both of these characters develop tremendously throughout the show, and while their banter is hilarious, their experiences figuring out what leadership is and how to navigate team relationships is a nice storyline.
I also have to give a shout out to the love of my life, Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández). He joins the team mid-season and provides youthful and hilarious energy to the team. He often runs around the pitch yelling, “Dani Rojas!” and “Football is life!” Eventually, though, we come to learn that he does in fact know other words and is a very sweet character.
Although the show is a comedy, as the characters grow and develop better relationships with one another, it is a seriously moving show. The team goes through ups and downs, gains and losses and triumphs and defeats. The characters begin as strangers or even enemies but end as a tight-knit unit.
“Ted Lasso” is incredibly funny and heartwarming and can put anyone in the absolute best mood. I recommend heading to Apple TV+ right now to check it out.