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Ted Lasso Leans on Kindness and Connection in a Stellar Season 2

The feel-good Apple TV+ comedy returns with plenty of humor and heart.

When Apple TV+ premiered their unassuming sports comedy Ted Lasso last summer, we were in the midst of a global pandemic and a bitter, high-stakes presidential election. During one of the cruelest, hardest years in recent memory, Ted Lasso galloped into the already crowded streaming space, offering a quirky comedy that centered on unbridled optimism and the power of human kindness.

Timing really was everything, as viewers quickly fell in love with the good vibes and generous spirit that set the series apart from countless mean-spirited cringe comedies (which we still enjoy, by the way).

The first season followed Division II football coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) as he left the Midwest for London to coach AFC Richmond, a flailing British Premier League soccer team. Ted knows nothing about soccer, and nothing about British culture for that matter, but that doesn’t deter him from his signature folksy style and positivity.

The character, who originated in a series of commercials for NBC Sports, inspires the very best in everyone at AFC Richmond, from aging captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) to cocky young star player Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). Ted also won over team owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), who hired him in the hopes of tanking the team but cannot resist his can-do spirit. The end of season one saw AFC Richmond relegated after last year’s season-ending loss.

Season two opens with AFC Richmond stuck in a series of ties but no wins. Ted is still optimistic about the team’s chances, but he carries the sadness and stress of his divorce. He also (gently) butts heads with the team’s new sports psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), who is immune to his charm offensive.

Now that AFC Richmond has embraced Ted’s positive outlook, the series spends more time developing its terrific supporting cast. Newly promoted coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) struggles to find his coaching style, while Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) continues to enjoy a turbulent romantic life. Nigerian player Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) struggles with the ethics of corporate sponsorship and the cost of being openly political on and off the field. Even the ebullient Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández) experiences an existential crisis of his own.

Meanwhile, Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt find themselves at a crossroads in their careers as they ponder their future in football. And Rebecca is back on the dating scene, thanks to Keeley’s new anonymous dating app BANTR. The first six episodes of the season offer plenty of the funny wordplay and rapid-fire jokes of the first season, as well as extended riffs on romantic comedies and popular culture. But season 2 offers a deeper, more complex look at the man behind the mustache, with Sudeikis doing some of the best work of his career.

All in all, season two of Ted Lasso ably avoids the sophomore slump by leaning in to what works and letting their excellent cast shine. The series remains a bright and hopeful beacon guaranteed to give audiences all the warm and fuzzy feels. Welcome back Ted Lasso, we missed you.

Ted Lasso Season 2 premieres Friday, July 23 on Apple TV+.

(image: Apple TV+)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.