The season finale of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso dropped yesterday and cemented the fact that it was the show we never knew we needed.
It’s August of 2020. The whole world is steeped in anxiety. Four months before, many countries started going under lockdown, with some promising it would last two weeks or a month tops. Four months later, there seems to be no end in sight, and people are now trying to come to terms with the fact that this is perhaps our new reality: alone with our thoughts, imprisoned within the four walls of our home, and stewing in anxiety while also recovering from that cringy “Imagine” video by Gal Gadot and friends.
In 2019, Apple launched their streaming service, Apple TV+. Not a lot of people thought much of it, though it was quite impressive that they were launching with original content like The Morning Show. One of their upcoming titles was a comedy starring Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis called Ted Lasso.
In August 2020, Ted Lasso premiered on Apple TV+, and it immediately became a source of solace and comfort for a world that was going through an unprecedented time.
Mild spoilers ahead for Season 3!
Ted Lasso: the show the world needed
Fish out of water
Ted Lasso was supposed to be a dumb comedy show. It was based on the eponymous character Sudeikis played in a series of promos for NBC’s coverage of the Premier League. Watching Ted try to understand football while coaching Tottenham Hotspur all while making quips in his signature Southern drawl was hilarious. If the promo videos were anything to go by, the Apple TV+ show was going to be a funny fish-out-of-water tale of an American in London who will be utterly oblivious to the disaster he’s causing.
It seemed to be going in that direction in the show’s very first episode. Ted faced the press, who humiliated him, and then his players, who made fun of him, and then he met Rebecca, his boss, who, it was revealed, hired him so the club could fail. Everything was set for the dumb hillbilly to make a fool of himself. It was going to be a hilarious hot mess that would be utterly entertaining.
But that’s not what happened. Ted, as Sudeikis mentioned in an interview with 60 Minutes, was Teflon to negativity and hate. By the end of the first season, he had won people over: his boss, his team, the club’s fans, and us, the audience. Who we expected to be the dumb fish-out-of-water turned out to be the person we all wish we could become: someone who saw the best in people.
The chicken soup of TV shows
The show is heartwarming. It’s the chicken soup of TV shows. While other shows like Succession were showing off the revolting acts and characteristics of people, Ted Lasso was reminding audiences that there’s good in everyone. Despite how that sounds, the show was able to tread carefully and not be too cheesy, which is a testament to its writers. It didn’t shy away from reality either. Season 2 went a tad darker as it portrayed Nate the Great’s fall from grace and Ted’s anxiety problems.
That’s also another thing the show did very well: despite Ted being the fountain of positivity and the human embodiment of sunshine, they also made it clear that he was still human. He suffered heartbreak. He needed therapy. Even in the latest season, he had to confront his mother and finally admit what he had been bottling up inside.
Ted Lasso was able to be hopeful without having to shy away from reality. In a TV landscape of superheroes, conniving board members, and murderous fantasy worlds, the show reminded us that just because life is messy, that doesn’t mean we have to be unkind.
The best of us
What else can be said about what Ted Lasso highlighted other than it highlighted the best of us or the best we can be? And it’s not just Ted himself. Rebecca and Keeley’s relationship is one of the few shining examples of two female friends who didn’t just support one another but were each other’s biggest fans. I was afraid that the latest season was going to derail that, but it was actually a work of genius how they portrayed that just because there’s a change in one person’s life doesn’t mean the friendship has to suffer.
Roy and Jamie, while each had their own specific arc, also showed that even the “manliest” of men need support. It can be awkward, and that made for a lot of funny moments, but in the end, these two became nothing short of brothers.
And then there’s Nate. Oh, did we all hate Nate after Season 2. But haven’t we all done something that stupid or rash before that we ended up regretting? The only difference between us and Nate is that he actually said sorry—he even insisted on it. He also had Ted, who was gracious enough to forgive him.
That’s another thing Ted showed us: forgive, and that includes forgiving yourself for your mistakes. As one of my favourite Lassoisms goes, “Be a goldfish”.
Richmond ‘til we die
Ted Lasso reminded us that we could be better. We have the capacity to support a friend in need, to look for the best in people, and to bring that out of them. It reminded us that everyone goes through tough days so be kind to one another. It also reminded us to take care of ourselves, which was a major flaw of Ted’s that was dealt with this season. It showed us that vindictiveness and hate get you nowhere. Instead, why not try loving others?
While the show’s team was very careful about definitively saying this is the end of Ted Lasso, the season finale, which aired last night, actually serves as a fitting end. As much as I would love to see Ted and the rest of the Richmond gang continue their story, I’m glad that Jason Sudeikis and his fellow creators knew the story they wanted to tell and when to end it instead of trying to milk the cow until it was dry. It’s bittersweet, but it’s rare to have a TV show with a perfect run, even if it was just three seasons.
I was going to say that we now live in a post-Ted Lasso world, but that wouldn’t be true. I’m on my way to rewatching the whole thing again, and others who haven’t seen it (including my boss, who must be tired now of all the show recommendations I give her) have the enviable chance of watching it for the first time.
Our Wednesdays won’t be the same anymore now that we won’t be visiting the dog track and hearing Ted say something like, “Your body is like day-old rice. If it ain’t warmed up properly, something real bad could happen.”
One thing’s for sure though: we’re Richmond ‘til we die.