Ted Lasso

Apple / Doozer Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and Universal Television

The premise of this wildly popular show from Apple TV+ has all the markings of a formulaic cornball dud.  A seemingly homespun and loquacious American football coach from Kansas is hired to run a London “football” team—soccer, of course, a sport about which he knows nothing. The new owner (the wonderful Hannah Waddingham) intends to drive the team into the ground as revenge against her adulterous ex-husband who lost his ownership in the divorce. What this presumably Ugly American, fish-out-of-water tale offers instead is a charming dose of radical optimism, with an equally endearing Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso. It turns out that more than simply a sports coach, Ted is remarkably good at honest communication with others, affecting change by being a deeply good human being, one with his own quiet anxieties and pain. Indeed, much of the personal transformations in the characters and their extended relationships occurs through the ripple effect of Ted’s radiant optimism and intensely sincere, if folksy, good will. Those who typically would be treated as minor or marginalized characters such as Keely, the soccer star’s model girlfriend, and Nate the Great, the diminutive South Asian locker room assistant, become significant change agents of Ted’s philosophy—the Lasso Way—that when we “BELIEVE,” all manner of positive things will happen. For offering the perfect counter to the enduring prevalence of toxic masculinity, both on-screen and off, in a moment when the nation truly needs inspiring models of kindness, Ted Lasso wins a Peabody.