If you have no clue who “Ted Lasso” is, now might be the time to learn.
Nominated for 20 Emmys, the AppleTV+ series was a balm for audiences stuck in the house during the coronavirus pandemic.
Like a modern-day Forrest Gump, he “aw-shucksed” his way into the head office of English Premier League team and charmed a hardened bunch of athletes.
Ted’s experience? He was coach of a college-level American football team.
Among those he charmed: Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham), the owner who got the team in a divorce settlement. Eager to dump AFC Richmond, she thought if she hired the worst possible coach she could get revenge. Instead, she fell for his charms, too, and saw Ted (Jason Sudeikis) as a co-conspirator.
One by one, members of the team became essential to the comedy’s story-telling. They got spotlights in those first 10 episodes and became essential to making this feel-good half hour work.
About to enter its second season, “Ted Lasso” is now a bit more relaxed and able to play ball.
In the opener, which premieres July 23, the team hasn’t won – or lost – but looks to improve on its record. Jamie (Phil Dunster), a striker who alienated his teammates, is hoping to up his profile with a gig on the reality show “Lust Conquers All.” A good move? The consequences are evident in those early days back.
While Waddingham doesn’t get a big showcase until several episodes in (wait for Christmas), she aids Ted in his attempt to Andy Griffith the players in his life.
Sudeikis continues to inspire in untenable situations. Season Two throws out plenty of them and lets the fish out of water swim more than sink.
A big chunk of the supporting cast earned Emmy nominations and it’s easy to see why – particularly when they’re made the focus of entire episodes. That happens here, again, but the one to really embrace is Juno Temple, who plays Keeley Jones, the office worker who knows everything (and isn’t afraid to admit it).
She gets plenty of laughs when she’s put into play with everyone. Now Jamie’s ex, she has a keen interest in his future, even though she doesn’t want Roy (Brett Goldstein), her current beau, to know. Roy is also going through a bit of an identity crisis and, with Keeley’s help, could adapt.
What makes “Ted Lasso” stand out (in a field with very interesting comedies) is its deep bench strength. Like “Modern Family,” it could pair any number of characters and find interesting storylines.
Season Two bubbles with them. Before it begins, binge those first 10 and get to know the regulars. They’re back – and ready to play.
This is one team you won't have a problem cheering.