Former SNL star Jason Sudeikis is reprising the role of Ted Lasso, who first appeared in a series of sketch promos for NBC Sports. But could Apple TV+ stretch the concept into a full-length format, without the joke getting old? The answer, due to the show's uplifting tone, good-natured intentions, and surprisingly layered cast of characters pulling it all off, is yes!
Ted Lasso's fish-out-of-water premise centers on an American college football coach known for goofy pre-game dance routines and armed with nothing but an exhaustingly positive attitude, touching down in England to coach a sport that's more foreign to him than the country itself... soccer (or as they call it, football). The series certainly doesn't miss a chance to poke fun at both the unfamiliar land he's entering, and the water from which he came, checking all the usual boxes of low-hanging jokes about "the wrong side of the road", the taste of tea, and funny words Americans don't understand. That kind of surface-level shtick can only take a series so far though, which is why some viewers may question Ted Lasso's ability to keep them coming back for a full season. But once those viewers truly get to know Lasso and the team around him, they just might go from rolling their eyes to misty-eyed, as the show quickly settles in to its sincere charm, warmly inviting the audience join in the unwavering good spirits that make the titular coach so endearing himself.
Sudeikis as the lovable Lasso is the driving force that makes it all work, bringing an infectious energy to the character, whose constant kindness and empathy win us, and those around him over, a bit more with each episode. But the show is further elevated by a strong and diverse supporting cast for Sudeikis to play off of, and it's the joy of watching the fictional AFC Richmond grow into a real team that keeps us wanting more and ultimately carries the season all the way through. Nick Mohammed, Brett Goldstein, and Jeremy Swift stand out in bringing moments of both effectively awkward comedy and genuine emotion, while Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple fuel much of the main plots, with a well-rounded female presence that's a pleasant surprise coming from a show about a men's soccer club.
It's formulaic, idealistic, and has its fair share of sports clichés, but even if Ted Lasso doesn't consistently make you laugh, it's guaranteed to make you smile. In an age where television seems to be getting darker and heavier with each new show, Apple TV+ has delivered the complete opposite: a light-hearted, breezy delight. So grab a pint, curl up in front of the telly, and you'll be rooting for Ted Lasso before the final whistle.
The first three episodes of Ted Lasso are streaming now on Apple TV+.
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