“Believe”, says a hand-written and slightly crooked sign above the door of the AFC Richmond coach, and it represents everything that Ted Lasso is. A tireless dreamer that never stops believing.
The series is a new Apple TV+ sports comedy that premiered with three episodes in mid-2020. It features a coach of college-level American football, played by Jason Sudeikis, who makes the switch to coaching British soccer.
Football or soccer?
Ted is lured to England by Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), the new owner of the AFC Richmond team. Fresh from a divorce, she has only one goal: to get the team demoted and take revenge on the former owner, her ex-husband.
The new football coach and his deputy Beard (Brendan Hunt) jump into the world of British soccer, ricocheting from one day to the next with no clue. They do not know how to coach the team and how such a job should be done. Ted, even during the season finale, still doesn’t understand the concept in soccer of ‘offside,’ and he’s horrified at the discovery of being able to tie a game.
Where the past meets the present
But Ted Lasso wasn’t born as an Apple TV+ series. Sudeikis played the part several years ago in a series of commercials on NBC football broadcasts.
The comedian took that character back and built a whole world around him. That slightly cocky character of Sudeikis was injected with a massive dose of optimism and confidence. An endlessly good and kind character, who makes people laugh easily; his energy is in contrast with the seemingly icy armor of Welton, the cause of AFC Richmond fans’ rage, and its players’ distrust.
Kindness is not a weakness
Ted Lasso shows an uncommon range of values, such as kindness and understanding, in an increasingly cynical world. Its striking ability is to create a strong empathy towards those who watch the series; mostly through the main character but also with the magical combinations of the other characters’ personalities with which everybody can identify themselves.
Although, fundamentally, there are no major twists in the plot. If you look at it carefully, in fact, you can see how the football aspect is a mere outline. The main objective is represented by universal topics in apparent decline on the sports field; just like solidarity and unity as a team, but also as human beings.
The structure is very similar to a classical comedy, it may seem a bit like a football version of The Office condensed into 10 episodes. The series is developed by Bill Lawrence, who displayed a knack for comedy with another series – Scrubs.
Ted Lasso opened up a new wave of TV series, based on completely good main characters; they are not shapeshifters or bad in disguise. It already won a Golden Globe, three Critics Choice Awards, and obtained 2 nominations for the SAG Award.