Warning: this article contains spoilers for the first six episodes of Ted Lasso season 2
After its first season, Ted Lasso became something of an internet darling. The Apple TV Plus original series received rave reviews and enthusiast recommendations from just about everyone. Even the most cynical viewers were quickly won over by Lasso’s unwavering optimism.
The anticipation surrounding Ted Lasso season 2 was significant. Yet, the show’s sophomore run has become surprisingly divisive. The internet can be a fickle place and a not-insignificant amount of viewers are blasting the series for not living up to the hype.
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This growing criticism came to a head when Daniel Radosh, a senior writer for The Daily Show, composed a lengthy Twitter thread (opens in new tab) explaining his reasoning for why the “might be the steepest decline from S1 to S2 in TV history.” This post got so popular that one of Ted Lasso’s co-creators and current showrunner, Bill Lawrence, fired back with a tweet of his own (opens in new tab) defending his creation.
With episode 6 dropping this week, we’re now exactly halfway through Ted Lasso season 2 and I still firmly believe. Allow me to explain why I’m very much still on the Lasso hype train…
Kindness never goes out of fashion
The key attraction of Ted Lasso has always been its wide-eyed optimism. The eponymous character is unflappable in his ability to see the best in people and find the silver lining in even the bleakest situation. We should all inspire to be a bit more like Ted in our daily lives.
Season 2 of the show hasn’t lost this crucial element. It’s double-downed on it. Even with AFC Richmond now slumming it in the second tier of English football, Ted is his usual optimistic self. Turning team squabbles into teachable moments and always having a polite response to anyone who doubts his abilities as a soccer coach.
I’ve previously described the show as the television equivalent of a comfortable blanket, and that remains true in season 2. Ted Lasso is the series I turn to when I want an easy watch that will instantly pick my mood up, that hasn’t changed over the last few weeks.
Going in a different direction
One of Radosh’s chief criticisms of the show is that the first season worked because practically the whole world was rooting against Ted. You had an over-arching story that had tension and drama, and as my editor points out, that's not exactly as present this time. Instead, the first half of the season explored Richmond's winless weeks, building to something else. And with that change, Ted Lasso season 2 got better.
The players, fans and local media were quick to label him a fool and were desperate to see him sacked from his position as coach. Even his boss was scheming behind the scenes, employing Lasso as an act of revenge rather than because she thought he could do the job well.
Ted slowly winning everybody over was the backbone of the show’s debut season. In season 2 sees the majority of these people are on Ted’s side, offering him support and actively working with him rather than looking to undermine him. According to critics, this is a problem as it’s too boring watching everyone be supportive.
Personally, I would have found it extremely jarring if all of Ted’s working winning everyone over last season was suddenly undone at the start of season 2. Plus, I’d rather not see the same plot points repeated again.
Ted’s already proved himself to his critics, I'm glad the show is now exploring fresh character relationships and narrative arcs. And as the end of episode six showed, Ted's optimism doesn't always beat his other emotions.
New stories to tell
Ted Lasso season 2 has thankfully avoided the urge that some shows get to retread the same ground as its first season, and is exploring new arcs and putting the spotlight on its excellent supporting cast.
For much of the second season, Roy Kent’s struggle to deal with his retirement from football has been the focus. We’ve seen him resistant to take up a punditry job, giving it a shot but finding it hollow and then ultimately discovering that coaching is his new true calling. Hardly the most original character arc, sure, but it was an enjoyable journey in a fantastic episode.
I’ve seen some people claim the show isn’t telling solid stories across multiple episodes, but again I’d have to disagree. For the last few episodes, we’ve been teased with the identity of Rebecca’s mysterious suitor, and the sixth episode ends with a pretty excellent reveal that she’s actually been messaging Sam all this time — I didn’t see that coming!
Assistant coach Nathan has also enjoyed more screentime in season 2. We’ve seen him gain some much-needed confidence but there have also been hints that he’s not very pleased with Roy Kent joining the coaching staff and seemingly usurping him. This is a storyline that could play a big part in the back half of the season.
Let’s not overlook that Ted’s own personal struggles are coming to a head, as the heartbreaking ending of the latest episode shows. From where I’m standing, there’s plenty going on in Ted Lasso season 2. Ted himself isn’t always at the heart of the action, but I’m enjoying the supporting cast being fully utilized.
Consistency is key
Consistency is a remarkably underrated quality when it comes to television. Even the best shows can struggle with disappointing episodes or later seasons that just can’t match up the brilliant start. Any show that can maintain the same level of quality throughout deserves plaudits.
Halfway through its 12 episodes second run and Ted Lasso season 2 has been extremely consistent. The show isn’t a masterstroke, but it wasn’t in season 1 either, it’s just wholesome entertainment as it’s always been. If you can’t see that, well you’re a bit of a Trent Crimm I’d say.