How often does someone see a commercial and think, “You know what, that would make a great tv show.”?
In 2007, we saw the Caveman TV show, which spun off from the Geico Cavemen commercial, crash and burn after just one season. This shouldn’t suprise anyone. Nick Kroll did his best to get the ratings to improve but there just wasn’t much interest. Then, in 2017, Brockmire stole our hearts. Stemming from a Funny or Die Short, the alcoholic baseball announcer showed the world it was possible. That leads us to 2020 and the Division 2 National Champ Ted Lasso.
Jason Sudeikis and team took an arrogant and somewhat unlikeable character from the commercial and developed one of the most heartwarming and funny shows of 2020. So let’s jump in and break down the best moments of season 1.
Ted Lasso’s unwavering positivity
Before Ted even lands in England, he is met with doubt from Scott Van Pelt and local fans alike. That doesn’t deter him at all. He welcomes the challenge. We do learn early on that behind his cheery attitude, is a sense of dread over his rocky marriage. So, Ted is looking for a fresh start across the pond and despite all the obstacles in his way, he’s got just what the team needs… Belief… and a whole pocketful of snappy one liners such as, “I like my locker rooms how I like my Moms bathing suit, in one piece”. We cannot forget that we get not one, but two spit takes during his introductory press conference. What’s worse? Unknowingly chugging a water bottle full of vodka, or sipping some sparkling water when you expect flat water?
I’d also like to formally apologize for my Higgins slander. It was unfounded and I will retract said slander on the basis of the following clip:
Ted Lasso is not the guy to let a perfect pun go unnoticed. I mean, really… “Caesar you later!” I had a literal spit take after Ted stormed back into the room.
Though he lacks experience on the pitch, Ted is the literal definition of a players coach. He does the little things to get on your good side. Whether it’s baking cookies for Rebecca, fixing the water pressure in the locker room showers, or even chowing down on spicy curry so Trent Crimm, The Independant, can get the real scoop on Ted Lasso. The team responds positively to his efforts and the results are seen on the field.
No new coach sees success without growing pains. Ted has a serious thorn in his side with Jamie Tartt, the star striker (thats the guy who’s only job is to score). The diva is less concerned with his teammates than he is with how his hair looks. It does not seem to phase Coach Lasso, however. All Jamie needs is a little push in the rear. Ted breaks out the Allen Iverson “practice” speech in the locker room hoping nobody there can spot the reference. Turns out, he was right. Jamie takes his licks, joins the second team and needs to decide whether or not he wants to be a team player.
This brings us to Danny Rojas. In what should go down as the greatest character intro in TV history, the smiling Rojas is the perfect play for Lasso to get more out of his star player. While both are excellent players, Danny’s “Football is Life” mentality instantly puts the pressure on Tartt to suck it up and get onboard.
Nathan’s rise from kit boy to Assistant Coach
When we first met Nathan, we knew instantly that he was the resident punching bag for the club. He is shy, unsure, and extremely nervous to meet the new coach. In typical Lasso fashion, Ted immediately knows that this guy is the key to the success of AFC Richmond.
Ted and Coach Beard constantly push Nasty Nate to be more confident and that effort pays off almost immediately. Take his team roast session for example. “Tyler, do you wax your balls? No really, do you wax them? Then why do you try to play like a Brazilian?” Just a savage comment. He’s been with the team so long, he knows all the players best traits and biggest weaknesses. Ted knew it was there so getting him to let it rip like that confirmed what Ted and Coach Beard knew, and taught the players that it was time to give Nate his props.
Keeley and Rebecca + Keeley and Roy Kent
I’ll be honest, I was not expecting to see Keeley’s role in the show expand beyond “supermodel Girlfriend of star player”. Boy was I wrong. Keeley turned into one of my favorite characters in the tail half of the season after breaking up with Jamie Tartt. Let’s start with her role as PR/ social media with the club. I mean this clip from her first day sums it up pretty well:
She’s got that Posh Spice vibe to her and it complements the prim and proper Rebecca perfectly. Throughout the season, we see Rebecca beaten down because of her age and the fact she inherited the club through her divorce. Keeley doesn’t see any of that. She looks up to Rebecca and constantly reminds her that she is a strong and powerful woman. On the flip side, Rebecca seems to take in Keeley as a sort of daughter figure she never had.
And then there’s this… the first moment we knew there was some chemistry between Keeley and our grizzled veteran Roy Kent. * Sidenote, amazing Soccer name.
Do they not have the cutest courtship story ever? I mean, after their romp in the hotel after the team’s first win, it seems that Roy punted things but their chat in the press room was all time. Keeley sits roy down and proceeds to mock a press conference. She bounces from chair to chair, raises her hand, and asks Roy questions about where they’ll go on their first date, how much he likes her, and so much more. It’s just one of those scenes that makes you smile ear to ear.
When Roy needs some relationship advice, he goes to Ted who calls a meeting of the Diamond Dogs (Nate and Coach Beard) to assist Roy in his quest. Another reason why Ted is the perfect Players Coach.
The Lasso Special
Every underdog sports story features some version of this concept. The good guys have their backs against the wall and need that special something to push them to victory. Space Jam had Michael’s secret stuff, The Mighty Ducks had the Flying V, even the convicts in The Longest Yard had their Schoolyard Bullshit play. For AFC Richmond, it was the Lasso Special.
Facing relegation, the team needed to tie Manchester City to survive the cut. After explaining to coach what that means, Lasso decides he needs a trick play. All sorts of colorful and double entendre names are thrown out but Ted takes a page from his American Football days to create the Lasso Special. Surprise, surprise… it works to perfection. After the beautiful bicycle kick by Danny Rojas, the crowd erupts, Richmond has done the impossible and avoided relegation! Or do they? Ted Lasso and team forget that there is stoppage time and allow their former star Jamie Tartt, now with Man City, to sweep down the pitch and pass off to the winning goal as time expires. What a bait and switch that was.
Although he finds it funny that relegation moves the team from the Premier League to the Championship League, Ted knows that his team is down and upset with themselves. He pulls out one more heartfelt locker room speech for the boys and simply tells them to be a goldfish; a callback to an earlier moment where encourages them to have short memories.
So what’s next for Ted lasso in season 2? The series was renewed for another 10 episodes back in August but where will we find Ted? Will he be back with Whichita State in KC, will AFC Richmond be tearing up the competition in the Championship League? Stay tuned to find out.
Until next time…