Ted Lasso is indomitable, indefatigable, and, on account of an infectiously, gloriously optimistic performance from star Jason Sudeikis, inimitable. Sure, unfettered, Midwestern buoyancy is nothing strictly speaking new, yet the combined elements of its fantastic parts render Season 2 of Ted Lasso altogether intoxicating, a sumptuous cocktail with familiar ingredients that tastes better than ever. Have no fear, Ted Lasso fans, Season 2 is no Led Tasso.
Debuting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ted Lasso was an underdog not unlike the show’s titular premier league coach. Though modestly received, it took several months (and a Golden Globe win for star Sudeikis) for the show to really penetrate the zeitgeist. Ted Lasso morphed from the show your mother and a few friends had seen with their never-ending access to Apple TV (thanks, annual iPhone upgrade programs) to one everyone was talking about. If you weren’t watching Ted Lasso, you were talking to someone desperate to have you start. A good-natured, adult-oriented comedy series whose laughs derived from its charm, not irreverence or cruelty like so many of its contemporary peers. There was nothing else quite like it.
Alongside them, of course, was the show’s trademark pathos, brief forays into the human condition rendered all the more poignant on account of both their authenticity and patient deployment. Of the six episodes I’ve seen of Season 2, Ted Lasso delivers more of the same with episodes that either rival or exceed its premiere season.
Picking up right where the finale left off, Ted and the AFC Richmond team are working their way back toward Premiere status after their defeat and relegation last season. An inciting event in the first episode does feel too incongruous with the show’s established world, a distressing augur thatLasso, like so many television comedies, would grow more heightened in its sophomore outing. Luckily, early missteps are exceptions to the norm, and Ted Lasso emerges stronger than ever. Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), owner of AFC Richmond, and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) remain television’s finest pair of girlfriends, undergirding Ted Lasso with its most consistent laughs and fittest friendship.
Yet, it’s the underdogs of Richmond that truly steal the show, with Season 2 expanding the roles for Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) and Dani Roja (Cristo Fernández), both of whom adroitly balance thoughtful emotion and piercing laughs that move them beyond the quasi-caricatures of last season’s portrayals. Sam in particular is thrust into Ted Lasso’s pantomime of current events with more grace (and laughs) than most shows muster when striving for relevancy.
And relevancy, perhaps more than anything, remains Ted Lasso’s core strength. The world of Ted Lasso might look increasingly unlike ours with its overabundance of heart, good deeds, and genuine regard for others, yet it remains so deliciously watchable because of that. There are still elegiac detours and melancholic meditations on love and loss (including a mid-season cliffhanger I won’t spoil here), yet its big, beating heart shines through. The world we know isn’t nearly that nice and simple, but the best thing about Ted Lasso is the simple suggestion that it could be. With a little kindness and a lot of Lasso, it very well already might be.
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