Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso: The Unexpected Appeal of the Good Guy

I’m sure I’m not the only one who generally picks a bad guy over the good one. Since I can remember I’ve gravitated towards bad guys in everything: movies, TV shows, books and even in real life. There’s something mysterious and almost dangerous about a bad guy that draws a person in. But when a really good guy, a guy like Ted Lasso, comes along… should an exception be made?

While a part of me likes to think I’m an optimist, I’m far from one. Realist is the closest but on some days I’m a raging pessimist. So people like Ted Lasso, a character filled with overwhelming optimism and a drive towards wholesomeness, irritate me. Too positive, too upbeat, too helpful to a point of annoyance. So how did a girl like me end up loving Ted Lasso and his almost unwavering optimism? Well, let’s find out.

Look out for a spoiler warning!

BACKSTORY

Ted Lasso as a character existed before the Apple TV show was even green-lit. Ted Lasso as an idea was born in 2001, in Amsterdam where Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt were performing with their improvisational comedy troupe. There Hunt became a fan of soccer and both would play FIFA on a PlayStation.

This all-American football coach had its first introduction to big audiences in 2013 for the NBC Sports channel. You see, NBC Sports bought the broadcast rights to the Premier League before it realised there was an issue. Football, soccer for US audiences, was a bit of an unknown field and they needed something to make it more appealing. Or better yet, someone!

Ted Lasso was the right coach for the job! With witty and effective ads Ted Lasso showed that it was okay to enjoy these games without knowing the rules as well. And who better to play this coach!? Well the creator Jason Sudeikis himself, who was at the time making a big name for himself with comedies like Horrible Bosses (2011), Hall Pass (2011) and We’re the Millers (2013).

The soon-to-be eight year old video has been watched over 15 million times on Youtube. And it will sound familiar for Ted Lasso fans: the press interview, the first training session and many jokes were repeated in the pilot. But it misses that charm and optimism of Ted Lasso that we’ll come to know in 2020. The elements that will make Ted Lasso the wholesome good guy who has won many-many hearts.

 

7 YEARS IN THE MAKING

After the Premier League was over Ted Lasso was shelved but Sudeikis never forgot the character. “The feeling at the end of the day of writing this guy or pretending to be this guy, it’s nice. He’s egoless,” Sudeikis said to Los Angeles Times in 2020. “He’s Mr. Rogers meets John Wooden.”

After the NBC bit the challenge to develop Ted Lasso into a show was the biggest challenge. Apparently, as always, Hollywood had its doubts. Without having any buyers Sudeikis and Hunt kept at it and eventually TV produces and Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence came on board.

“The only reason that it took a while was people always thought it was a super funny sketch, but they didn’t have the vision Jason had in his head of it being a show with a big heart,” said Lawrence.

Well that vision finally paid off. In October 2019 Apple TV announced that they will give Ted Lasso a home. Next year it premiered and won many hearts across the world. By October 2020 Ted Lasso got an early season three renewal, season two hadn’t even started filming then.

THE APPEAL OF THE GOOD GUY

As I said in the beginning, Ted Lasso is a good guy. He is there to uplift people and his answer to everything is positivity. In the first half of the season we see him trying to find his footing. He is learning a new game, he tries to find ways to connect to the players and ultimately win football matches. Though not all goes according to plan this never frustrates him. Instead he finds ways to overcome obstacles and the harder the obstacle the harder Ted tries.

Ted stays upbeat throughout and he has a knack of making everyone included. But what I love about Ted is that while he is so positive there’s always a sense of wisdom. Like he isn’t naïve in any sort of way which I usually associate with this level of positivity (hello, are you not aware of the shit that is out there in the world?). There’s also no cockiness in his demeanour which sometimes comes with the confidence Ted possesses. Ted simply balances the scales of being a good guy with being a guy and by the end of the season we sort of find out why.

There was an initial review somewhere that called Ted Lasso shallow. Shame on that dude for saying so! But I guess I get it in a way. He saw the first four or so episodes and thought Ted was this upbeat, positive, always trying to please others type of guy. Based on that, sure, you could see Ted as shallow but there’s this saying: never judge a book by its cover. (The cover being the first half of the season here in case you missed my not-so subtle metaphor.)

And Ted is a very interesting book with a very bright cover. By the end of the season Ted’s private life has unravelled and with that so does he.  We see a side to him that now makes sense. There is so much more to Ted and it would make no sense to call him shallow. Ted is simply hiding parts of him that go against his own positive personality. He is almost scared about this because if he can’t make this work, will others see him as being a failure? Would anyone ever really believe in his positivity when he can’t make that positivity work for himself?

That vulnerability at the second half of the season is what truly reveals who Ted is in his heart. And I think that seeing this side of him makes him less than perfect and touches that aspect of a bad guy. He messed up, he focused on wrong things, though being a total good guy about those things, he was still being a shitty guy. I think that’s what truly makes him human and more complex than the initial (shallow) Ted Lasso that we first saw.

Spoiler warning!

LIFE IMITATES ART/ART IMITATES LIFE

It’s probably painful but I can’t help to wonder how ironic the combo of Ted Lasso and Jason Sudeikis really is. We have this guy, a good one on both ends. Ted has a wife, a kid and Jason has a fiancé and two kids. Suddenly Ted’s perfect idea of a marriage crumbles and he is far away from his family, dealing with it alone. Then we have Jason, losing his fiancé to Harry Styles (the bitterness I have about this is truly beyond disappointment at this point) and then having to jump back into playing Ted in UK. Ted who just like him has lost a huge part of him.

This is probably going to be a difficult season for Jason to film but in a way it could be cathartic. He gets to play a character that stayed with him for years! That he fought for for years! So in away Ted is Jason and wise versa and now we have this situation where both their relationships have crumbled. (Though Jason’s relationship to Olivia Wilde crumbled far worse than Ted’s. Again, I’m beyond disappointed in this!)

Spoilers are gone now!

But what I find almost cosmic is how people rallied to support Jason in this. Just as we support Ted and root for him, we are rooting for Jason. He accepted his Golden Globe and critics attacked him for wearing a hoodie. First of all, fuck yeah, Jason won a Golden Globe for playing Ted Lasso and secondly fuck you all who criticised him!

I get it, it’s awards but let’s be clear, 2020 and 2021 are fucked up and there’s nothing normal about these years. So if we accept awards in the middle of the night, after a day long shoot (most likely) in a colourful hoodie it’s acceptable! And by the way Jodie Foster accepted her award in PJ’s, sure, they were silk but still! So there’s no need to jump at these actors working through the pandemic in order to bring us content for maybe not trying hard enough. Honestly, we are all human and unless we are crying in the beginning of the pandemic in our huge ass mansion for everything being hard or singing Lennon’s Imagine we don’t deserve the hate. So back off!

By the way, it’s the same ass hoodie he wore AFTER they called off their engagement (Page Six pictures are here) and hugged each other in front of their home. I mean… coincidence or some conspiracy type shit!? (Probably a coincidence because the tie-dye hoodie is designed by Jason’s sister but oh do we love a conspiracy.)

HERE’S TO A THREE SEASON WONDER

As I said, Jason is filming season two of Ted Lasso right now and that gives me hope. We are getting the second season at some point and most likely the third. Though the creator of the show has hinted that the third will be the end. “Ted Lasso is a three-season show. After the third season, I will desperately try to get Mr. Sudeikis to do a…” Lawrence started, and then he stopped to rephrase. “The only way I think a fourth season of Ted Lasso exists would be if TL went and coached a soccer team that played about a block from Jason’s house in real life, you know what I mean? He’s got young kids.”

And you know what I’m glad. So many shows push further than they need and eventually lose their footing. It’s good to have a game plan and it’s stupid to go beyond just because you’re doing great. Finish on a high as they say.

That being said I don’t think Jason will set aside Ted Lasso completely. I feel like after so many years Ted is part of him and now as their journey has almost cosmically intertwined it would be hard to let go completely. What I do feel like is that I need a season 2 sooner rather than later because I need Ted, my favourite good guy, back in my life.


Have you seen Ted Lasso season 1? What did you think and please do share who you usually root for, is it the bad guy or the good one?

 

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3 Comments

  1. This is such a beautifully written post! I gave in to the hype and I’m so glad I did, Ted Lasso is up there with some of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen, and nothing has warmed my heart so much.
    I can’t wait for Season 2 and as much as I wish I could watch it forever, I think 3 Seasons is perfect. There’s nothing worse than watching an excellent show drift into mediocrity after too many years.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m trying something new with my writing so it’s a little different than usual. And I agree, 3 seasons sounds pretty good. I’d rather it end strong than give us a shitty final season. 😀

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