Based on a character portrayed via Jason Sudeikis in a variety of NBC sports promo’s, “Ted Lasso” is a show I had no hope for. The premise of an American football coach who gets recruited to coach an English football team isn’t what I'd call original. After watching these first three episodes thanks to the kind folks at Apple TV+, this one is definitely a pleasant surprise. The reason I was surprised was just its very nature of story choices. In a time where a lot of streaming (film, television, etc.) is rather dark and dreary, this one is exceptionally positive. A large part of this positivity I would have to say comes from our lead performance in Sudeikis.
In his acting catalogue, Sudeikis is arguably someone that has been fit into a narrative box as a performer. He normally goes from over the top characters (The Horrible Bosses franchise, We’re the Millers) to more of the straight man role (Sleeping with Other People). In playing someone who is admittedly naive in his new environment, he comes off as incredibly endearing. Essentially, an argument can be made that this character is an amalgamation of several of his different roles. I wouldn’t argue that fact, in his portrayal of Lasso over these three episodes comes off with an incredible warmth many fans won’t expect. We’ve got a great lead performance, but the real question is do the supporting characters carry him through?
Unfortunately, where Lasso flies high the rest of this cast just doesn’t match laughs. The only reasonably funny supporting actress Juno Temple (you’d know her if you saw her) is able to match Sudeikis. With the rest of our supporting casting, they essentially serve as obstacles for Lasso to cross. There are mild laughs to be had particularly between Lasso’s boss and right-hand man, they never land as strong as they could. Now I want to make something clear, none of these supporting characters are poorly written. You can just tell that after watching these three episodes that this show is designed around the character of Lasso.
There is a particular moment late in the show’s third episode that made me realize what exactly the point of this show was. I won’t spoil the scene, but I will just say that it involves a rather funny decision made at an Indian restaurant. A character like Lasso is an underdog and someone who simply wants to make those around him happy. It’s a large part of what makes him so enjoyable to watch. Even when people doubt him and want him out as coach, he just can’t help but smile. Someone like Lasso is what we need in more forms of media since there really isn’t a negative thing about him. He doesn’t necessarily make this show an Emmy winning hit, but you’re never bored watching him. Narratively, “Ted Lasso” is a show that still has to find its footing, but after three episodes I’ll surely keep watching.
Watch the trailer here.