Ted Lasso

The Significance of Ted’s Panic Attacks on Ted Lasso

He's not always a beacon of optimism, and that's important.

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Everyone knows Ted Lasso, of the Apple TV+ series of the same name, as the optimistic coach of AFC Richmond, but we were reminded this week that that’s not always Ted’s mindset. In fact, we saw in season 1 that Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso is prone to panic attacks; he just tries to get away from people when it is happening so as to not burden someone else with his problems, which leads me into this: Ted Lasso’s inability to share his emotions is probably the most relatable aspect of this show.

There have been criticisms of Ted Lasso season 2 and the idea that it doesn’t have conflict. I don’t agree. I think it had plenty of conflict going for it, but in season 2 episode 6, “The Signal,” Ted is overwhelmed by his family being away from him and the team potentially heading into a winning season. He leaves the field in the middle of the game and says that there’s something wrong with his stomach, but we learn, at the end, that he went to Dr. Sharon’s office and is clearly going through something and is ready to talk with her.

This is the second time that Ted has had an attack and tried to escape. In season 1, Rebecca finds him and helps calm him down in the midst of an attack, but it gives us a glimpse into the cracking façade of this beacon of hope and joy that Ted Lasso sells himself to be. And, to me, that’s the most relatable thing about him.

So many of us (myself included) have been told we’re “always happy.” Growing up, I was often told I was just a happy kid. So, whenever I wasn’t happy, I felt like I was letting the world down and would hide it away. To this day, I don’t want people to know when I’m sad, and I make a joke about being anxious because that’s easier than disappointing people by admitting I’m not always a happy person.

Ted Lasso seems to be very similar in his approach. He hides himself away, flees his own emotions, and tries to just be this figure for his team to look up to, and while I do think the show had enough of a conflict before this episode, this does give them something to unpack for the rest of the season.

For most of season 2, Ted has looked at Dr. Sharon as someone for the team but not for him, and she’s asked him to talk to her time and time again, and now that he fully broke down on the field and ran to her office? Something is weighing on Ted that isn’t good, and I’m interested to see how the show unpacks his emotions.

But I’m grateful to this show for showing that kind of emotional arc. Being told you’re happy all the time or putting on an optimistic front isn’t easy, and it’s something that can break you, especially if you’re not doing great emotionally. Watching Ted also struggle with his own feelings and try to remain upbeat means a lot to me, and I hope the show continues to explore how Ted is feeling about his family, the team, and his life as the head coach of AFC Richmond.

(image: Apple TV+)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.