FFT readily admits it expected to hate Ted Lasso before seeing a single episode of it. American humour with a feel good, rom-com vibe set to a backdrop of Premier League football? Absolutely not...
And yet, with the finale of season 2 set to air this Friday, FFT couldn't be more excited. It's a brilliant show which, against all the odds, became an office favourite during its first season, and a weekly must-watch during its second.
(While there are no finale spoilers here, this article will touch on one or two of the story lines in Ted Lasso season 2 – you have been warned)
The season began with AFC Richmond languishing at the foot of the Championship, with Ted's team of triers struggling to break a worrying sequence of draws in their bid to return to the top flight. The talismanic but troubled Jamie Tartt has returned to Manchester City and captain Roy Kent retired (more on the latter's choice of career path later), leaving a big void in the dressing room.
What follows over the course of 12 episodes is a highly entertaining turnaround (it's a feel good show, after all), but one with enough unpredictability and curiosity to keep TV buffs on their toes. There are countless scenes in which you're sure characters are about to behave a certain way (score a goal, kiss, cry, scream at someone) and it almost never pans out that way. It's well written and keeps you guessing.
The second series does a great job of addressing some taboo issues around modern football, including mental health, unethical shirt sponsors and pushy parents. In one of the series' main plot lines, a psychologist is brought to the club to help Richmond's troubled striker, only to end up finding ways to help the entire team – not least Ted. These "on the couch" scenes tread the line between humour and sincerity expertly and Jason Sudeikis deserves plaudits for striking the balance just right in Ted's (apprehension of and desperate need for) therapy.
There's clearly a much bigger budget this time around, with Wembley Stadium, Gary Lineker, Thierry Henry, Jeff Stelling and other beloved footballing institutions used to fun and hilarious effect throughout the series. The in-game scenes (which, let's face it, are never perfect when performed by actors) are solid enough, and there is enough talk of false nines and offside traps to maintain an interest for those that prefer the football bits to the romance bits.
Some of the very best scenes in series 2 revolve around Roy Kent's decision to join Soccer Saturday as a pundit after hanging up his boots. The Roy Keane-rip off is surly and short-tempered but easily the most watchable and informative member of the panel (often like the real man).
There are some strange episodes – not least Coach Beard's bizarre drunken caper through London's lamplit backstreets – but everything comes together in typically entertaining fashion by the final episode, which contains a heart-wrenching twist. Give it a watch and, like us, you'll be hoping a third season lands quicker than a Roy Kent C-bomb live on air.
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