What to know about ‘Ted Lasso,’ Apple TV’s feel-good soccer series

Apple TV’s new comedy, “Ted Lasso,” proves that whether you call it football or soccer, it’s a beautiful game.

The show, currently in its first season on Apple TV+, stars Jason Sudeikis and is based on old NBC commercials for the English Premier League. After a multi-year hiatus, with producer Bill Lawrence on board, “Ted Lasso” got the go-ahead to be made into a series. Sudeikis’ character, Ted Lasso, takes charge of a fictional Premier League club, AFC Richmond, while its owner attempts to sabotage the team, a la “Major League.” Lasso’s hire itself is supposed to lead to relegation — he’s a national champion coach in Division II American football who knows nothing about soccer. But Lasso turns out to have more resolve than anyone expected.

The 10th and final episode of Season 1 of “Ted Lasso” drops Friday, Oct. 2. There’s already been a renewal for Season 2, which is set to release in 2021. Here’s what to know about the show.

Ted Lasso is meant to be a failure as a coach

Before being hired by AFC Richmond, the fictional Lasso wins a Division II football national championship with Wichita State. A video of him dancing in celebration in the locker room goes viral and plays on “SportsCenter” with Scott Van Pelt. Across the pond, new Richmond owner Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham) wants to ruin AFC Richmond after divorcing the previous owner, her husband, because it was the only thing her husband loved.

Walton sees the perfect fit in Lasso — he’ll make her ex-husband’s pride and joy an embarrassment to the entire city. In the opening scene of the show, a young man approaches Lasso on the plane to England and sums it all up pretty well: “You coaching football? You are a legend for doing something so stupid. I mean it’s mental. They’re going to murder you.”

Ted Lasso radiates positivity

Lasso doesn’t catch on to the negative role he’s supposed to be playing. Rather, he lifts up those around him. 

He begins to bring biscuits to his owner each day, and she continually asks him where he buys them. Lasso never reveals the secret. 

Lasso also does everything he can to uplift two of the most timid people he encounters at Richmond. He takes the team’s “kit man,” Nathan (Nick Mohammed), under his wing and makes him feel like just as much a part of the team as the players. And Lasso finds ways to encourage one of his youngest players, Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh), who struggles to adapt far from his home in Nigeria. 

Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt provide worthy foils

Lasso’s Midwestern kindness and optimism don’t immediately resonate with all his players. Richmond’s veteran captain, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), is unhappy to be playing at such a small club and rarely cracks a smile through the whole of Season 1. And Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) is a talented young striker who acts like he’s better than everyone, fitting outside Lasso’s team ideals.

Tartt’s attitude does create one of the more amusing scenes in Season 1, though, as Lasso harnesses his inner Allen Iverson and rants about “practice” in a way that few of his players seem to understand. Must’ve not been a lot of kids growing up in England as 76ers fans.

And in a heart to heart with Kent, Lasso ends up doing the Carlton dance.

Lasso’s lack of soccer knowledge is endearing, not annoying

The show strikes the right balance of Lasso not really understanding soccer or England without it becoming overbearing. It’s the perfect show for a United States audience that’s still much more heavily filled with fans of American football and not the football played in England.

In his opening press conference, Lasso says, “AFC Richmond is gonna give you everything we got, win or lose.” A reporter adds, “Or tie.” And Lasso hits the answer perfectly: “Right, y’all do ties here.”

Another exchange among Lasso, Nathan and assistant Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) captures Lasso’s ignorance again.

“He must be from England, yeah?” Lasso wonders of one of his players.

“Wales,” Beard answers.

“Is that another country?” asks Lasso.

“Yes and no,” Beard replies.

“How many countries are in this country?” Lasso responds, confused.

“Four,” Beard and Nathan answer in unison.

And in the interest of sounding like a true American from England, Lasso even mocks tea: “I always thought that tea was just gonna taste like hot brown water,” he says after his first sip. “And you know what? I was right. It’s horrible. No, thank you.”

Funniest Ted Lasso quotes

Each episode is packed with a number of statements, intended ironically and otherwise, that should induce laughter. But here are a few of our favorites if you’re not already convinced to watch “Ted Lasso.”

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