We Need To Talk About… Why Ted Lasso Is The Perfect Post-Euro 2020 Hangover Cure
Mr Jason Sudeikis at the season two premiere of Ted Lasso, Los Angeles, 15 July 2021. Photograph by Mr Jordan Strauss/AP/Shutterstock
Football. It’s a funny old game. It makes you laugh (see the Italian assistant coach for more on that), it makes you cry (for that, well, you know). And if football didn’t quite come home in this month’s Euro 2020, then the progressive, open-hearted spirit of the England team, led by manager Mr Gareth Southgate, has since travelled the globe.
As a measure of that, witness last week’s red-carpet moment from actor Mr Jason Sudeikis, who sported a “Jadon & Marcus & Bukayo” sweatshirt at the West Hollywood premiere of his Apple TV comedy Ted Lasso. The sartorial homage to the Three Lions who bravely stepped up to take penalties in the final was a sweet show of transatlantic support and a smart tie-in with Sudeikis’s show, which is back for a second season this week.
The return of Ted Lasso couldn’t be more timely. A comedy about a kind, gentle coach who inspires an ailing football team, it’s maybe just the ticket for your post-Euro 2020 blues. Sit tight for not quite 90 minutes and let us explain the Ted Lasso ball game….
A comedy about football you say. Haven’t we suffered enough?
I know, I know. Your heart is still sore from the Euro defeat. But maybe a fish-out-of-water-story about human kindness and decency is just the televisual tonic you need right now?
Ah, Schitt’s Creek. Already binged it. Besides, isn’t a comedy about community and kindness so very 2020?
Because 2021 is turning out to be such a barrel of carefree laughs?
OK, you make a valid point. Now you’ve just got to sell the idea of a US TV series about football.
Right, that. Ted Lasso – played by the show creator Sudeikis – is the small-town American college football coach drafted in to manage an ailing English Premiership Club…
Oh, fish out of water, across the water. Cue lots of American-in-London jokes…
There’s a bit of that, to be fair. The show, which debuted last year, deals in fairly broad archetypes, such as the villainess club owner who only brought Lasso in to enact revenge on her former husband. Then there’s the players, who range from a young Mr Jack Grealish-style striker to an ageing midfielder in the vein of Mr Roy Keane. They’re a motley crew, united only in their dislike for Lasso’s coaching style.
How would you describe that?
In a word, whimsical. Lasso is the kind of guy who believes the good will eventually win out, even if you go 5-0 down by halftime. Lasso knows heartache (he’s really in London because of marital strife back home), but he believes in triumph. He’s a man who brings an A6 sheet of paper to team talks, scrawls “BELIEVE” on it and Sellotapes it to the changing room wall in the hope of inspiring his players. Spoiler: it doesn’t.
Messrs Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt and Nick Mohammed in Ted Lasso, Episode 2 Season 2 (2021). Photograph by Apple TV+
Is this how Americans imagine English football to be?
A little. The idea for Lasso came about when NBC hired Sudeikis, then a regular on Saturday Night Live, to do a skit promoting Premier League football to a US audience in 2013.
Well, that worked out…
Maybe where Ted Lasso version one failed in turning a nation onto soccer, Ted 2.0 will triumph.
I’m a stats man. You got any to stand this up?
Sure do. In the US, since it debuted on Apple TV last year, Ted Lasso has proved a hit with American audiences, been immediately recommissioned for a second and third series and is turning into an awards magnet. Sudeikis has already picked up a Golden Globe for his performance this year (memorably dressed in a tie-dyed hoodie for the occasion) and the show has just earned itself a record breaking 20 Emmy nominations.
So, what’s its secret weapon?
It’s Lasso, who, with his gentle humour, folksy charm and we’re-all-in-this-together vibe, begins to win over players, pundits and club owner.
Some deep Southgate energy right there. I’m welling up.
He’s also eloquent, philosophical and a fan of using Mr Walt Whitman’s poetry to make a point in the pub about being a decent human being…
Oh man, you’ve really set me off.
… All while winning a game of darts.
Sounds like a winner to me (sobs).
Ted Lasso season two is on Apple TV from 23 July