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Josh Reviews Ted Lasso Season Two!

October 13th, 2021
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I loved the first season of Ted Lasso.  The show quickly became one of my very favorite currently-running TV shows.  I quickly fell in love with all of the characters.  The show was very funny, but more importantly I was moved by the series’ upbeat, life-affirming ethos.  I was incredibly excited for season two to arrive, and I’m pleased at how strong this second installment was.  It’s a little shaggier than the first season, a little messier, but for the most part that’s because the series chose to deepen and challenge its characters, something I was very happy to see.

Season one of Ted Lasso was pretty much a perfect season of TV.  It’s tough to top such a flawless first season.  Even if the follow-up season is just as great, it can still wind up feeling like a disappointment because you’re missing that initial spark of discovery.  That is hard to avoid, and I freely admit that I felt that when watching Ted Lasso season two.

I found it took me a little while to settle into the new rhythms of the new season.  After watching the season two premiere, I remember commenting that a few of Ted’s lines felt to me more like a parody of Ted’s dialogue rather than something I felt the character would naturally say.  I suspect that speaks more to the hurdle I had to get over to accept a continuation/expansion of the beloved first season than a weakness of the show.  (I’m looking forward to finding the time to rewatch those early episodes to revisit how I think about them.)  Either way, by the third episode I thought the season was off to the races and I was once again totally hooked in.

I enjoyed the way season two chose to dig in and explore Ted’s positive attitude and the ripple effects, positive and negative, that can have on those around him.  I was intrigued that the early episodes this season presented us with a Richmond team that was happy and loving one another, and yet failing to win matches.

Like Ted himself, I wasn’t sure at first about the addition of a major new character, the new team psychologist Sharon.  But in the end I grew to love Sharon just as much as every other member of the ensemble, and I loved how she allowed us to explore the damage that Ted’s unrelenting positivity was hiding.  The dual montages in episode ten, in which Ted and Rebecca describe traumatic events involving their fathers, was a high point of the season.  I loved Sarah Niles’ work as the unflappable Sharon.  It was fun to see someone unaffected by Ted’s charm, and then … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Ted Lasso Season One!

In the Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis stars as the incredibly up-beat Ted Lasso, an American football coach who, improbably, winds up coaching an English Premiere League football (what Americans call soccer) team.  I remember seeing lots of ads for Ted Lasso when the series launched several months back.  From the ads, this looked to me like a dumb show about an idiot American, and I wasn’t interested.  Having seen it now, I can’t believe what a poor job those ads did of conveying what this excellent show is all about!!  Jason Sudeikis, working with Bill Lawrence (mastermind behind the wonderful comedy Scrubs), Joe Kelly, and Brendan Hunt, took Mr. Sudeikis’ silly commercial character and turned him into the basis for one of the best new TV comedies I’ve seen in years.  The show is absolutely hilarious; but what makes it great is how soulful it is too, and how joyful.  I absolutely loved this first season of Ted Lasso.  

The key to Ted Lasso is that the show is very funny and also joyously warm and upbeat.  Very few shows can strike that balance.  (I’m reminded of the great Parks and Rec and The Good Place.)  I love how life-affirming Ted Lasso is.  To be able to be so upbeat and positive, and also very funny at the same time, is extraordinarily difficult.

The show can also, at times, be sad!  That’s because the characters on the show aren’t one-dimensional cliches.  Over the course of these ten episodes, they succeeded in developing these characters into real, multi-layered people.  Again, talk about difficult!!  To create characters who can be super-funny AND also have true dramatic weight is a feat that few TV shows can pull off.

Mr. Sudeikis is absolutely perfect in the leading role.  In the hands of a lesser actor, the perpetually perky Ted Lasso could easily have been annoying.  But Mr. Sudeikis is able to add enough shadings to Ted to make him endearing.  The ads for this show made me think that the show would be making fun of Ted.  That he’d be the idiot, oblivious American in over his head.  (Indeed, having gone back now and watched those early commercials for NBC Sports, which is where Ted originated, that was the approach.)  But the series, wisely, took a different angle.  Ted isn’t a bumbling idiot.  As the episodes progress, we see that there is a method to his madness, and that his caring, positive approach to coaching — and to living his life — just might be brilliant.  It’s certainly aspirational, at least to me.  I loved that about the show, and about this character.

Ted Lasso is a show in … [continued]

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We’ve arrived at the conclusion of my list of my favorite TV series of 2020!  Click here for part 1 of my list, click here for part two, click here for part three, and click here for part four!  And now, here are my five favorite TV series of 2020:

5. How To with John Wilson This bizarre, beautiful documentary series is hard to describe, and I think it’s best to go into it knowing as little as possible.  Filmmaker John Wilson has created six short masterpieces with this incredible first season.  Each episode purports to explore a different “how to” topic, but inevitably the joy of each episode is in the unexpected (and often deep and moving) digressions from that initial topic.  The series is a love-letter to New York City, and also to our wonderfully weird fellow human beings.  (My full review will be coming soon.)

4. Ted Lasso Jason Sudeikis, working with Bill Lawrence (mastermind behind the wonderful comedy Scrubs), Joe Kelly, and Brendan Hunt, took Mr. Sudeikis’ silly commercial character and turned him into the basis for one of the best new TV comedies I’ve seen in years.  The show is absolutely hilarious; but what makes it great is how soulful it is too, how joyful and life-affirming.  Mr. Sudeikis is absolutely perfect in the leading role as the incredibly up-beat Ted Lasso, an American football coach who, improbably, winds up coaching an English Premiere League football (what Americans call soccer) team.  The entire cast is dynamite.  This is a show in which I almost immediately fell in love with every single one of the main characters: Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard (his Doc Brown impersonation was amazing!!); Hannah Waddingham as team owner Rebecca Welton; Jeremy Swift as Rebecca’s sweet and unassuming assistant Leslie; Phil Dunster as the hot arrogant young super-star Jamie Tartt; Juno Temple as Jamie’s girlfriend Keeley Jones; Brett Goldstein as aging veteran Roy Ken; and Nick Mohammed as Nathan Shelle, the team’s kit man who flourishes under Ted Lasso’s influence.  I love this show!!  I can’t wait for season two!  (My full review will be coming soon.)

3. Brockmire season 4 The fourth and final season of this amazing show brought the story and characters to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion.  I love the way these four seasons gave such a rich and complete story-arc to the character of Jim Brockmire, the broken and profane disgraced baseball announcer.  As I have written many times before, this is the part Hank Azaria was born to play.  It’s an incredible comedic performance and an incredible dramatic performance, all in one.  I love how deeply this show is in love with baseball.  … [continued]