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Roy and Keeley on Ted Lasso and the Frustration With Not Letting Couples Be Happy

Juno Temple as Keeley Jones and Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent in Ted Lasso as Roy and Keeley our OTP

In season one of Ted Lasso, we got to fall in love with the relationship between Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein). Then in season two, the writers did what a lot of writers do when a couple gets together—make them have weird conflicts. Spoilers ahead.

Keely and Roy have some elements of opposites attracting. Her bubbly personality and vibrancy in comparison with his growly, dark personality. But in true Ted Lasso fashion, it goes much deeper than that. Both are funny, have insecurities, and balance each other out into a very fulfilling package. I loved how early on whenever Roy and Keeley had some growing pains or conflict, they talked about it and communicated. Especially Roy.

Relationships work and it was great to watch a couple put in that effort. It can’t all be rainbows and sunshine, sometimes it is having the trust to tell your partner the truth and know it’ll take work, but it is something both are invested in.

That is what has made the last set of episodes so confounding when it comes to the Roy/Keeley relationship.

Jamie Tartt saying he loved Keeley came out of nowhere. Especially, Keeley’s look of confusion once he said it. Then we get Nate kissing Keeley in the dressing room, which was creepy and predatory. But, don’t worry in that same episode Roy also hangs out with his niece Phoebe’s hot vulgar art teacher for five hours without mentioning he has a partner. Why?

During an interview with A.V. Club both Temple and Goldstein discussed the relationship between their characters before the release of the second season:

“[…] the challenge was how do we tell a romantic love story after they’ve got together and keep it engaging and keep it interesting and sexy and funny and sad and all of the things that you can do in other stories,” Goldstein said. “Can we do that in a relationship that stays together? I really hope we’ve achieved it, but yeah, we certainly like a challenge because it was like, “how do we do this?” And I can’t say anymore because you’ll have to see.”

When asked what makes them work, Temple hit the nail on the head that the couple has a mixture of sexiness and sweetness.

“Because they hold each other accountable and because they listen to each other,” Temple explained. “They learn from each other, so they teach each other. I think they’re also very attracted to each other. There’s that kind of feral, sexy attraction. And then at the same time, there is a sweetness that Roy brings out for Keeley that I think she knows is just for her, and I think that is the romance in it for her. That never gets old, even if he’s constantly wanting to swallow the marshmallow goo back down. She loves it, and it is something that’s just for her and for Phoebe. They can share it.”

This is why when Roy plans a vacation for them and Keeley says no, and there is a lingering feeling we are left with that Roy doesn’t feel like it fits in Keeley’s life—it feels off.

All the attempts at conflict felt just like that: conflict for conflict’s sake. Will-they-won’t-they when it comes to relationships only works so far. Yes we want drama, and dragging things out can work, but only if it feels natural.

Nothing about this setup feels natural, and it’s sad—because this season, both Keeley and Rebecca’s storylines were overwhelmingly relationship-based. Hopefully that will change in season three.

(image: Apple TV+)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.