Ted Lasso: A Different Kind of Football


Wikimedia Commons

Ted Lasso brings joy and normalcy back to families, despite abnormal circumstances.

Sophie Ryan

Ted Lasso can commonly be recognized from multiple sports commercials, but this year, the infamous character will now be recognized for something more: his own TV show.
Initially, I thought that ‘Ted Lasso’ would prove itself to be a cheesy and predictable show. After watching all ten episodes, I still believe that to be true. Which brings up the real question, how does this show captivate an audience?
Ted Lasso, played by actor Jason Sudeikis, originally made his debut in NBC’s promotion for Sports Premier League in 2013. The commercial’s main plot was that a Kansas football coach, Lasso, would be moving to London to become the new manager of Tottenham Hotspurs, an English football (soccer) team. It was immediately evident that Lasso was very out of his element with this new sport, and that is where the majority of the jokes in the commercial stemmed from.
In the skit, Lasso made comparisons between American football teams and English soccer teams, making Lasso look more aggressive and shallow than he would later come to be known. For example, In the first commercial Lasso yells at his players and tries to incite anger and aggression out of them, while displaying it himself. He gets all up in their faces, and there is no off the field bonding like there is in the show.
The Apple TV+ series, entitled “Ted Lasso,” adds more depth, character development, snarky humor, humanity and wholesomeness to the original commercial’s plot.
In the show, much like in the commercial, Lasso is a small-time American football coach who was hired to coach the fictional soccer team AFC Richmond in England. Lasso is hired by the team’s new owner Rebecca Welton, played by Hannah Waddingham, as a way to get back at her wealthy and cheating ex-husband. Welton’s goal is to have a non-experienced coach run her ex-husband’s precious team into the ground.
However, Lasso is not aware of this plan, and therefore tries his best to do his job and makes his way into the hearts of everyone at the club, even his boss.
The series displays a pure reality of how soccer can be used as an outlet for people to relieve stress and how the love of the game can bring together people from all different backgrounds.
Throughout the series, the viewer is introduced to many of the players on the team, but burnt-out team captain Roy Kent, played by Brett Goldstein, and the arrogant lead-scorer, Jamie Tartt played by Phil Dunster, stand out the most. Lasso has a particularly strong impact on the lives of these two players, as they do on him.
Lasso’s constant optimism should be considered annoying. In most circumstances, it would be. However, we are not living in normal circumstances, and this show helps brings a sense of normalcy back. There are no mentions of Covid-19 or politics. That is not to say there is no conflict, but rather in every episode, the good always outweighs the bad.
Naturally, the players on the team benefit the most from Lasso’s guidance. Yet, while Lasso seems to know a lot about life and living, he knows very little about the sport he has to coach.
Despite being about football, aspects of the show prove that the actors know very little about the sport they are acting to play.
Additionally, many of the jokes are about Lasso going from one sport called football to another. The series never really gets into the aspects of football management or how the game works. Nevertheless, the show centers around Lasso’s coaching off the field, so viewers still get a good idea of how Lasso is able to achieve his success with the team.
All of the characters show tremendous growth throughout the season and by the end of every episode, it’s impossible to find yourself not cheering for AFC Richmond. Lasso comes to a foreign country to teach a sport he knows nothing about, and yet he still exceeds everyone’s expectations, even my own.