With a glut of shows and streamers and recommendations these days, sometimes it's hard to find a diamond in the rough even when its thumbnailed face is staring back at you a bunch of times while you're scrolling for something to watch yet again. Well I'm here to tell you that "Ted Lasso" is one such diamond.
It's a heartwarming, hilarious, and suprisingly moving show that stars the great Jason Sudeikis as an American college football coach who gets hired to coach an English soccer team and, the owner hopes, run it into the ground in the process. Think MAJOR LEAGUE meets THE DAMNED UNITED in 10 episode form.
While there is an outstanding cast that makes this show hum, make no mistake that Sudeikis is the star and heart of "Ted Lasso". I've been a huge fan of his since he arrived at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and this show is up there with the best work that he's done. Sudeikis is excellent at playing the earnest boob that eventually does or says something stupid à la 'Fred' in HALL PASS. But as Lasso, he keeps only the earnestness. And after a few eps of waiting for him to become the dipshit, you realize that this is who Ted Lasso is: a folksy Midwestern guy with some killer pop culture references who is really just a nice person making the most out being put in a tough spot. I won't spoil it but there was one scene where I legit asked myself, "Did Jason Sudeikis just make me cry?".
The toughest part of writing this piece is not going overboard with spoilers or repeating killer lines because I think the best way to go into a show is knowing as little as possible. But the highlight of the season might just be when Lasso takes one of the most famous sports pressers ever and brilliantly subverts it. Even though the athelete's quotes have since become a meme that appeared to be milked dry of material, Sudeikis turns them into TV magic with his commitment to the scene. It's also the scene that sways not only Lasso's locker room but the show's audience as well because Sudeikis goes balls to the wall doing it. After that, everybody is all in on Ted Lasso. Additionally, awards voters should be all in on nominating Sudeikis for his stellar work here.
You don't need to know a corner kick from a [other soccer term goes here] to enjoy "Ted Lasso". Shit, you don't even have to like or care about sports to dig it. Even if you're an anti-soccer hardo, you can still appreciate the locker room dynamics/dysfunction and how Lasso handles the various egos/personalities. It has your 'surly aging star' vs. 'cocky young stud', a silent but deadly funny assistant coach, and a meddling owner whose own plans backfire on her. And the Keeley Jones character is a sharply written avatar for shrewd, hot women who are "famous for being famous".
"Brockmire" is the best sports-related show to air in the last few years and one whose praises I can't sing loud enough. It's a brilliantly cynical and caustically funny show about a damaged man and the even more damaged society he toils in. "Ted Lasso" is the yang to "Brockmire"'s yin. If you're looking for a binge that will make you feel good when you finish it, make it "Ted Lasso".
("Ted Lasso" is currently streaming on AppleTV+.)