The season 2 premiere of Ted Lasso is an outstanding continuation of the strong ending to the show’s inaugural season. Leaving the club relegated to the second division, the series was unafraid to make the less obvious, less dramatic choice and show its characters failing. The first episode of this new season continues this trend, showing the team on a remarkable run of draws to kick off the story. The character work this allows for amongst the titular Ted, as well as the supporting cast that make up AFC Richmond, is fantastic.
The debut of Ted Lasso was one of my undeniable standouts of 2020. The show is filled with such an undercurrent of kindness that is a vital trait in the current pandemic-stricken world. The characters are well-rounded, funny, and oftentimes beautifully positive. It could’ve been so easy for Ted Lasso to simply be a parody which played on the “duck out of water” trope from the original sketches on which it is based, instead, it grew into a multi-faceted and wonderfully written series which never takes the easy way out. It perfectly blends elements of British and American culture, and presents some of the most imminently likeable characters on television.
Season 2, as previously mentioned, continues this trend. Earlier in the show, Ted Lasso appears to be presented as an infallible perfect man, to later display cracks in both his personal and professional life. These cracks remain here, and play into one of the big storylines of the first episode. After a shocking event ruins Richmond player Dani Rojas’s confidence, he develops “The Yips” and proceeds to be unable to perform the basics of the sport, missing penalty after penalty in training. A sports psychologist is then brought in to try help Dani overcome this. The conflicts the introduction of this player creates with Ted demonstrate real character flaws in Lasso, ones that are believably born out of writing and events from the previous season. Having characters develop flaws out of nowhere in second seasons to create conflict is jarring, having them be believable continuations of previous plot points is the basis for incredible follow ups.
One thing that is often overlooked when discussing Ted Lasso is that under the stellar writing, the kindness, the challenging of toxic masculinity, is a very funny show. The season 2 premiere has some laugh-out-loud moments, as well as a consistent undercurrent of humor throughout near every scene. Lasso’s right-hand-man Coach Beard is once again a delight, providing a dry wit that allows him to stand out in the show. Sudeikis, as with the character he portrays, is a wonderfully unselfish actor and writer. While the series premiere is very much focused on him comedically, the back half and now opening to season 2 oftentimes place him in a role facilitating the laughs coming from other characters.
The Ted Lasso season 2 premiere is a very strong episode that sets the series up to head in fantastic directions. The characters within AFC Richmond are on a fascinating road in the follow up to their failings in the season 1 finale, and the characters outside of the club, such as Roy Kent, are set on their own journey in a way that feels intensely unique to the show. It’s funny, heartfelt, and once again, Sudeikis and his writers never take the easy way out.