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TVON: Ted Lasso’s Season Two Own Goal

Ted’s own goal

I started watching Ted Lasso the day season one hit Apple + and was won over immediately, just like everybody else only faster.The sitcom was a miracle of good vibes with a recurring cast the equal of “The Good Place” and a lead,  the SNL alumni Jason Sudeikis, in  the role of a lifetime as the title role coach of AFC Richmond, an association football team. If you add two top female roles for the team owner Hannah Waddingham, and the star player’s girlfriend, Juno Temple, and a many other roles for the extended family, what makes Lassi work is its huge heart and almost as huge smarts. . Even the kitman, Nick Mohammed, had his part to play (and gets promoted to assistant coach).

By the end of the first season, they are relegated to the second division, and by the start of the second season they have just had six straight drawers: which beggars the imagination, Nick Mohamed’s Sully has become a bullying asshole, and a team psychologist has joined the team. Where have all the good vibe gones? In 2020, Lasso was comfort food for the soul, but if you hadn’t watched Season One, you’d have been baffled by the creaking rones of Season Two.

While the first two episodes (#1: all the drawers, #2:a star player returns), had moments where the magic reoccurred, with the exception of Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent -the footer talking head for Sky Cable with a mind of his own- episode three had none of the above. S1 had us suspend our disbelief with ease, sure it’s a fairy tale yet it is still a fairy tale rooted in reality. S2 has the fictional Dubai Air (AFC Richmond’s main sponsor) facing a protest from the players because (didn’t I mention) fictional Dubai AIr is owned by the fictional corporate owner, lead Sam Obisany (a break out performance from the charismatic Toheeb Jimoh) an oil company polluting his home, Nigeria. The team puts masking tape over their tee shirts to hide the airlines logo. This is science fiction, AFC Richmond would be sued till they were puss if they did anything such thing and not saluted by the team owner Rebecca -who I prefered before she became a good guy).

What, precisely, did Ted Lasso gain with its fictional subplot. Dubai’s oil production contributed less than 1 percent of the emirate’s GDP in 2018, so why claim the country is destroying Nigeria which it clearly isn’t? I don’t know if a country can sue a sitcom for slander, but Dubai should seriously consider it. As for the secondary story, Ted Lasso becomes Led Tasso, the asshole team manger, which is also nonsense.

When Ted Lasso arrived we were nearing the end (though we didn’t know it) of the Trump Era (season one), and the concept of empathy and compassion were in very short supply, so Lasso’s extreme sense of decency was both strange and wonderful, an American who shared instead of attacking viciously everything. Lasso represented an American vision of itself, a masculine decency in the face of proof all day long that it doesn’t exist. People flocked to the program because it hoped to show how people should care about each other. It was perfect.It couldn’t last, we have just hit season two and between Nate’s bullying and Led Tasso’s -the alter-ego from hell, it was squirmy and horrid. as Roy Kent might it, it’s fucking horrible.

Simply, Season Two is far from perfect. The mood isn’t there, it is the Godfather Three of season twos…it looks the same, it feels the same, but the magic isn’t there. Last August, Ted Lasso was the only show that matters. A year later it is a pretty good sitcom and while there are nine episodes to go, as we stand right now…

Season One: A

Season Two – C+

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