‘Ted Lasso’ Season 2 review: Putting the pack before you

Though feel-good as ever, the Apple TV+ show’s sophomore season focuses on building the characters around Ted, whose charm we tend to continually want more of

From starting out as the source material for an ad campaign, to getting a dedicated show, and then going on to winning accolades, Ted Lasso has had a dream run. It came into people’s lives in the middle of a pandemic when they were cooped up in their homes; and proved to be the perfect antidote to combat grief and grimness.

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Just like its seemingly preposterous premise — where an American football coach is hired to train a British soccer team — the show subverted many situations and emotions, and created a story where the sport became merely a canvass for its protagonist to make a splash.

In the new season, however, Ted (Jason Sudeikis), perhaps taking a leaf out of his own book, dissolves into the background to put his team Richmond FC and its members, before him. This accommodating act means that all the relentless optimism, infectious enthusiasm and the inherent goodness — all of Ted’s characteristic traits played to perfection by Sudeikis — mark a subdued note.

Yet, this mellowed approach throws open the doors to other characters, and certain unlikely, yet engaging, relationships between them. The supporting cast, including the likes of Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple and Sarah Niles, makes ample use of the occasion.

Ted Lasso

  • Season: 2
  • Creators: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence
  • No of episodes: 12
  • Cast : Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, Sarah Niles
  • Storyline: Ted Lasso continues to navigate personal and professional relationships while managing a professional English soccer club

In the eight episodes of the second season made available for review so far, the tendency manifests all along, like when Ted remains a mere facilitator in a meeting for his team’s newly-anointed captain reeling under pressure, or when he sits out as Sam Obisaniya flags the unethical practices of the team’s kit sponsor, which — along with an instance of commentary on players’ mental health — serves as a hat-tip to the athletes and becomes a mirror to contemporary times.

Ted is reduced to a spectator once again when Roy and Keely discover things about their relationship and Rebecca forges new ones with the people she meets, including her mother and a teenager. On certain other occasions, the lead protagonist is even seen accepting help from these people.

With the first season, a winning formula had been arrived at. To not chase that, and, instead chart a new course by making room for the supporting characters is brave and commendable. However, the fact remains that no amount of puffing and padding can make them as vibrant as Ted.

When Ted forgives Rebecca in the first season for an unspeakable act, it was a concoction of his qualities that made him a unique protagonist, and the show, a breath of fresh air.

That changes as the focus shifts to the supporting characters in the second season. Their actions come across as rubbed off from Ted. While that may not necessarily be a bad thing, it simply reduces the show into a feel-good drama.

Ted Lasso’s commitment cannot be questioned. For it puts to practice the generosity preached by its protagonist; only to pay its own price.

Season two of Ted Lasso is currently streaming on Apple TV+ with weekly episodes

 

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