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Review: Ted Lasoo Season 2

Rated TV-MA

12 30-Minute Episodes

Released on Apple TV+, one 30-minute episode each Friday from July 23rd to October 8th

Whew! Like it or not, Ted Lasso Season 2 has become a bellwether for our emotionally beat-up society. Season 1, which was released in August 2020, was the darling of our locked-down humanity. American football coach “Ted Lasso” accepts the thankless job of Head Coach for a failing British soccer team and brings to the cold damp London suburbs an unabashedly persistent, American Midwest upbeat joyfulness. His spirit seems completely out of place among the serially reserved Brits. What he doesn’t bring is much knowledge of soccer. All this leads to the intrigue of the first season – did management really want him to succeed? 

In Season 1, Ted could dive into a cesspool and come out smelling like a rose. That season of the show won a slew of awards including three Emmy’s. The ensemble cast did spectacular work, the writing was refreshingly original and upbeat and the sets richly colorful. Obviously Season 2 had a lot to live up to. However, when the first episodes of Season 2 began to be released, there was an outpouring of postings, news articles, twitter threads and other dissertations, much of the commentary irate and heated, imparting that the show was not shaping up the way the viewers had envisioned. Season 1 made us comfortable. Season 2 forces us to face our fears.

My take is that the viewers became so personally invested in the show that they took ownership in it, really took it to heart. Shhh! – don’t tell them that’s a good thing. I believe that people are upset because the story is a little messy, just like real life. The essence of Ted Lasso hasn’t changed. Our lives have changed. We are coming out of a nearly complete shutdown of society, and the cycle we are in now is even harder to deal with. We are no longer confined to home, but we are striving for a normal that is maddeningly elusive. Relax! Let your angst pour out. This show will make you contemplate some of the tougher aspects of your existence.

In Season 2, something is off about Ted’s magic touch. His timing isn’t there, and he is cringing mentally. Things change – he’s no longer the “new” coach. His team STILL isn’t winning. He’s going to have to reinvent himself, to dig deep into the pain and sorrow inside that make him a rock of goodness for everyone around him. An enigmatic new character is introduced, played by Sarah Niles, who will help him explore the complexities behind his consistently kind and giving personality. The curtain is opened, so to speak, and reveals the “Wizard.” In this new season several of the players who were little more than extras in Season 1 become multifaceted characters.

Ted’s mantra for the team is “Believe!” Team member “Dani Rojas” chants, “Football is Life!” In the end, all sports mirror life. For me, Ted channels the legendary John Wooden, who was transplanted in 1948 from Indiana to Los Angeles to coach basketball at UCLA. For Wooden, winning was not the object – playing and living well was the goal. He said, “Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.” He knew that to be kind and giving is not a weakness. As he said, “You can do more good by being good than any other way.”  His teams didn’t win right away. It was years before his teams won 10 national championships. Even Coach Wooden lost his temper from time to time. But he never swore. His refrain was “Goodness Gracious, Sakes Alive!” I can almost hear those words coming out of Ted Lasso’s mouth.

Another mantra for this show might be “Show Me the Money,” as one headline in the September 14th Hollywood Reporter reads “Ted Lasso Stars, Writers Score Big Paydays for Season 3.” So if money speaks, it says this is an incredibly significant TV series.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

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