Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) has been through a divorce from her cheating husband Rupert (Anthony Head). At the trial, Rebecca, as the injured party, could set her own conditions, and she sued Rupert from his favorite football team, Richmond. The team is not doing particularly well anyway, it barely managed to stay in the English Premier League, and then there is the transition of the team into new hands. The new owner, who seeks revenge on her mean ex-husband, is determined to make the team completely screwed up: Rebecca hopes it will break Rupert’s heart.
To make sure everything happens, Rebecca fires the team’s coach and invites American Theodore “Ted” Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) to work at the club. Ted has had some success as a coach in the States: his National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Shockers team won the championship, but they are still a college team, and most importantly, they play American football (European football in America is called soccer), so Ted doesn’t know anything about European football.
Ted flies to the UK with his assistant, a taciturn coach nicknamed Beard (Billy Harris). After meeting Rebecca and team spokesman Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift), Ted finds out that he has to hold a press conference right away from the ship to the ball. Of course, Ted completely failed the press conference: he does not understand anything about football, he does not even know the basic football terms, since in America everything is called differently, so the journalists, as they say, pecked at him. And when it turned out that of all the famous football players, Ted could only name Ronaldo and this one, like him, from the movie “Play Like This, Like Him”, then Rebecca had to save Ted from an immediate lynching.
Richmond team members and Richmond fans are all shocked by this American who publicly made himself look like a complete idiot. It looks like it will be more than a challenge for Ted to work with the team, but that’s exactly what Rebecca is counting on, so everything is going according to plan.
However, it quickly turns out that Ted is an extremely mild and non-aggressive person, he completely ignores constant attacks on himself, and when working with a football club, he is primarily interested in players as individuals and their teamwork, and not in achieving a certain result.
Ted pretty quickly figured out what was happening, understood which players the team was based on and where there were frankly thin places, and began to gradually build the team in the way he saw fit and right. And since a coach is, first of all, working with people in a team, Ted slowly began to succeed. Which Rebecca certainly didn’t expect.
The prehistory of this series was as follows. It started back in 2012, when the American television channel NBC Sports acquired the rights to broadcast the British Premier League football. Well, I bought it and bought it, but the Americans had to somehow explain what European football is, because this soccer in the States is played mainly by schoolchildren. And then for NBC Sports, Jason Sudeikis and his friend Billy Harris came up with a character – American football coach Ted Lasso, who was invited to London to coach Tottenham: he gives a press conference upon arrival, at which he completely screwed up, and so on. Here is the video.
Several of these commercials were made, they were very popular, and Jason Sudeikis from that time began to think about how to make a whole series with this character. This idea was supported by Bill Lawrence, showrunner of the famous TV series “Clinic”: he and Sudeikis wrote the script and interested the Apple TV + streaming service in the project.
If we judge this series by the trailer (which was done by a certain Vadim Bogdanov from InterMedia, who wrote a review of the entire series after watching just the trailer: this is a very professional approach, the cat Bublik and I shake his manly leg), then it seems that here in general unlikely to be anything interesting. Is an American football coach going to London to coach a football team? Stupid American against violent British? Jokes about right-hand drive, tea, subway as an underground organization and so on? Seriously?!!
However, on the other hand, sophisticated moviegoers could assume that there would be some next “Jerry Maguire” in half with “Any Sunday”, diluted for color with jokes about an uncouth American in the British community, for example, “Mr. Baseball” (a good film, by the way), where the uncouth American shocked the Japanese.
But no, it’s not like that at all! In some reviews, for some reason, they write something like “this series will delight football fans” – they, you see, also just watched the trailer. Because this series is not about football at all! Football here is given simply as a team game that evokes the most vivid emotions in the UK, but it could have been a series about volleyball, field hockey and even Quidditch!
Of course, this series can appeal to football fans, without a doubt! It may also appeal to fans of aquarium fish breeding and fans of Lecoq de Boisbaudran’s experiments!
More to the point, you say, so what’s so good about it that notes of admiration are already clearly slipping between you and Bagel, and did you set the rating downright outrageous? Is this really such a masterpiece? No, this is more interesting. The joke is that “Ted Lasso” doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is – purely an entertainment show. On the contrary, here they even intentionally, albeit very carefully, use plot twists that the audience should perceive very easily – from the series “well, everything here is according to the laws of the genre.”
However, this series is much thinner than he wants to appear. First of all, because of some amazingly charming and at the same time not fake personality of Ted Lasso, which is downright superbly played by Jason Sudeikis! But, it would seem, little foreshadowed! Sudeikis in “Horrible Bosses” – somewhere strongly on the sidelines. However, in “We are the Millers” he just played one of the first violins and showed that he could be quite interesting, but it was still a very passing film.
But there is something really special here! And I was completely struck by how both the creators of the series and Jason himself managed to show this Ted Lasso: without falsehood, without sliding towards buffoonery or, conversely, tearfulness – no, Ted Lasso conquers everyone by the fact that he is completely immune to insults, while In doing so, he tries to see in each player of the team he coaches, first of all, a personality and reach out to this personality. And all this – under the guise of a stupid American who speaks with a strange accent, does not understand local terms, and in general – as if out of this world, in the sense that he is certainly not from the British world of this world.
And there is a funny story in one of the episodes, how intriguing Rebecca invited the evil pen shark Trent Krimm (James Lance) from The Independent to write an article about Ted Lasso, who was supposed to trample Ted Lasso in the article, but Ted Lasso managed to charm with his approach and how open he is for communication and sincere, even such a journalist. Here, by the way, I immediately remembered the recent good film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, where a cynical journalist was sent to write an article about the “modern saint” Fred Rogers (this is a real person) and he was so amazed by the spiritual qualities of this man that they became the best with him friends.
Ted Lasso is, of course, a fictional character, but there is something of Fred Rogers in him, and Jason Sudeikis said in an interview that when they worked on the script, he planned to show Ted Lasso as completely non-conflicting, somewhat simple-minded and very bright a man who, however, bends his line and is quite firm in this. At the same time, the series clearly shows that he is not a “modern saint” at all, he has serious problems in his relationship with his wife Michelle (Andrea Anders from the very pretty series “Come on, Ted”), he is subject to panic attacks, during which he himself needs help, but nevertheless almost always maintains a complacent attitude and confidence that everything will be fine.
I don’t know how the creators of this series and actor Jason Sudeikis managed to make this really good guy very, very interesting! This is an insanely difficult task! Who cares about a good guy anyway? A good guy is either a longing green, or an insanely annoying constant smile.
After all, bad guys – cynics, manipulators, destroyers – they are an order of magnitude more interesting than good guys. Well, for example, look at what an amazing bad guy played by the wonderful JK Simmons in “Obsession”! And there are hundreds of such examples! And where is an example of an interesting good guy? They are orders of magnitude smaller!
But here they did it! Ted Lasso is both a nice guy and a very interesting character!
However, just as the retinue makes the king, so here Ted is also made by the environment. The closest assistant coach Beard is very colorful and, like Athos’s Grimaud, is silent very eloquently.
Team outfitter Nathan (Nick Mohammed), whom none of the players even knew by name – Lasso drew attention to him and made Nathan his consultant: the outfitter has been working with the team for a long time, he has a lot of interesting ideas, and Ted doesn’t care who listen to ideas – he sees no problem in listening to some outfitter there.
Hannah Waddingham (Tonya from Benidorm) was great as Rebecca. She is not a bitch at all. An offended woman who wants revenge on her ex-husband, while also falling under the spell of Ted, but this will not make her change her plans. And there is still an interesting moment with her – Rebecca’s rapprochement with Keely (Juno Temple), the girlfriend of the main star of the team Jamie (Phil Dunster).
The team also has some bright characters. Well, first of all, the same Jamie Tartt – a rising star who shows excellent technique and a complete lack of understanding of what a team is – this, in fact, Ted is struggling with. Jamie turned out to be moderately blunt, narcissistic and quite funny.
The second interesting character is team captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldsteen). (People in the know say that Kent was copied from former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, but I can’t say anything here, I don’t understand anything about it.) Kent was once a star, but his time is gone, and he is with it can never reconcile. Quite a bright character, there were curious collisions with him.
Well, I’ll note the team’s PR director, Rebecca Leslie Higgins’s closest assistant, played by Jeremy Swift. At first, Leslie seems to be a completely spineless lick-singer, but there he noticeably approaches Ted and begins to allow himself not to agree with the owner of the team on everything: this, of course, is fraught with trouble for him.
Great series, just great. Very simple at first glance, but it is not so simple at all, and this is precisely its secret. And there are a lot of good jokes in it: both based on all sorts of differences between the UK and the States, and others. True, it is not very clear which of them will be preserved in translation. However, I know many people who really liked this series, and they watched it in translation. So don’t miss out!
However, I must warn you about the high expectations syndrome. So, I warn you about the high expectations syndrome! Everyone warned.
Ted Lasso series review
Director: Bill Lawrence, Jason Sudeikis, Joe Kelly, Brendan Hunt Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldsteen, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple, Tohib Djimon, Billy Harris, Anthony Head, James Lance, Andrea Anders
Series, USA-UK, 2020, 30 min. 1 season, 10 episodes