TED LASSO: Humor and Philosophy We All Need

As AppleTV+ expands its modest programming, a few originals have already captured the attention of viewers and critics alike.  One of these pieces would be TED LASSO, which has been renewed for a third season before its second has even gone into production.  The series stars Jason Sudeikis as the titular character and Brendan Hunt, who both serve as creators and writers, as well.  Other creators are Bill Lawrence, partial creator of COUGAR TOWN (2009- 2015), SCRUBS (2001- 2010) and CLONE HIGH (2002- 2003); and Joe Kelly, known for his work on DETROITERS (2017- 2018), SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (writer from 2003- 2017), and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (2007- 2013).  Aside from the show’s creators, there is quite a lengthy list of writers and producers that contribute, making the series all the more impressive given its many lessons on teamwork- it would seem that LASSO “trains” what it preaches.

TED LASSO poster on AppleTV+

Sudeikis created Ted Lasso, a Kansas City football coach turned premier-league soccer coach for NBC Sports soccer promos in 2013 and 2014.  The character was incredibly popular amongst fans, with the ads garnering more than 20 million online views combined, as reported by Soccer International August of this year.  The premise of the series essentially follows that of the promos: Ted Lasso switches from coaching Kansas City American football to coaching AFC Richmond European football, or rather, soccer.  Lasso brings with him Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) and more positivity than most can handle.  He learns to navigate his team, the sport, and the culture, as ownership is handed to Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) amidst her high profile and vicious divorce from the cruelly charming, Rupert Mannion, played by Anthony Head- most known in North America for his role as the timid and sweet feather-figure, Giles, in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (1997- 2003).

TED LASSO was written with an intent to instill the concepts of “joy, possibility, and goodness” within its viewers in a literal sense.  In a recent interview with Brené Brown on her podcast, Unlocking Us, Sudeikis and Hunt both opened up about their research into philosophy à la John Wooden and even Brown herself, who has a Ph.D. in Social Work and is a renowned self-help and mindfulness guru.  With that, TED LASSO doesn’t bring with it overly dramatic and salacious plots, but that’s not to say it won’t cause a few tears to spill.  It cleverly combines American and British humour and excels in its very grounding of its characters; every one of them feels real and likable, with very real flaws and problems within their universe.  Lasso himself seems like a caricature at first, but  becomes incredibly lovable and inspirational once let in; in that, the character reflects the series itself.  You very much will only get from it, what you are willing to.

In such a time of upheaval, TED LASSO brings with it the positivity we need and we should aspire to enact.  And much like one of the series’ characters hardwon by Ted, “I’m rooting for him.”

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