The second season of Ted Lasso seamlessly mixes frivolity, honesty, sincerity, and a warmth that’s uncommon in most series to deliver one of the best follow-up seasons in recent memory. A big reason for this is due to the fearlessness exhibited by Bill Lawrence and Jason Sudeikis. It would be hard to find another comedy that’s willing to deal with so many deep emotional issues. What’s refreshing about Ted Lasso is how none of them are treated as a punchline. While Lawrence’s tale of a Football coach from Kansas City coming over to coach “the beautiful game” may mostly occur on a soccer pitch, Ted Lasso is much more. This critically acclaimed series is about who we are. Think about it!
Life isn’t full of Cinderella moments and fairy tale endings. We do have triumphs, but more often than not, there is a struggle, and it’s how we respond that defines us. Sometimes we overcome, but other times we fall or, in the case of AFC Richmond, become relegated. Season 2 is acknowledging their past struggles and finding a way to overcome them. Positivity can only take someone so far. Taking on a job 4,000 miles from home to give someone space can only last so long. At some point, we have to acknowledge our issues. Season 2 tackles Lasso’s issues head-on. He’s not the only one avoiding the truth.
Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is avoiding truly moving from her divorce by hooking up with random men. We do get the sense that she longs for more than a one-night stand, and that becomes apparent when Rebecca makes a connection with a person over a dating app Keeley (Juno Temple) is promoting. To say much more would get into spoiler territory.
Roy (Brett Goldstein) is having trouble adjusting to what life may be like now that his playing days are done. We find him attempting to coach elementary girls soccer and taking on a new role, which leads to some hysterical moments in season 2. Will Kent be able to find something that fills that void playing did?
While Nate (Nick Mohammed) has taken on a new role as an assistant coach with AFC Richmond, he’s still struggling to find his “voice” off of the pitch. It isn’t until he enlists some help from friends that we see his more assertive side. Will it last?
Higgins (Jeremy Swift) has ascended to a new role in the club, and he decides to bring on a sports psychologist played by Sarah Niles. He now has more of a voice in the everyday operations of the club, and this decision looms large during season 2. How will Ted and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) respond to her presence? Both are more “traditionalists” and don’t see the need to address “issues.” Could her presence be seen as an afront to Lasso? In his mind, if the players have problems, then they should be coming to him.
Season 2 shatters the antiquated notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Strength doesn’t come from internalizing your turmoil. We saw glimpses of what that might look like in season one when Higgins tells Rebecca to “fuck off” when he finally refuses to take part in the scheme to destroy AFC Richmond. Men often confuse strength as a necessary part of our identity when in reality, strength comes from recognizing who we really are.
Coach Beard is still struggling with that notion in season 2 as he attempts to be whatever Jane wants him to be. Ted’s positivity is in many ways avoidance and a failure to be self-aware. He’s so wrapped up in everyone’s life that he fails to address his own. The same can be said about Jamie (Phil Dunster), except instead of positivity, his narcissism ruins him in season 2. Will Ted’s constant need to avoid his own reality ruin him?
The dynamic of this ensemble really is something that we’ve rarely seen on television. While Sudeikis and Waddingham have certainly received much acclaim, Ted Lasso works because of this cast. Much in the same way Big Bang Theory, Seinfield, and Cheers were. No one really cared about Amy Farrah Fowler, George Constanza, or Norm Peterson unless it was in the dynamic of their respective shows. We even had a taste of Ted Lasso would be like without Rebecca, Roy, Nate, and the rest of AFC Richmond. Those NBC Premier League commercials were fine, but it was Lasso in the dynamic of this show which made him special.
Every so often, a show comes along that defines a time period. Much like Cheers defined the 80’s, Ted Lasso will define this era of partisanship and COVID. Lawrence and Sudeikis set out to develop a series that shows us all that positivity and kindness can make a difference in this world. In season 2, they show us that it also includes being kind to yourself.