Ted Lasso made his first appearance in American media via short skits on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel to promote its coverage of English soccer. The fictional American soccer coach was featured for promotional purposes soon after NBC Sports acquired the rights to broadcast the Premier League in the United States. That was in 2013.
Then, in 2020, fans of the character rejoiced upon hearing of his return. Only now, he returned in his own show as the manager of fictional Premier League side AFC Richmond.
While the initial Apple TV+ commercials for Ted Lasso were a bit chaotic and disorganized, the actual show became an instant hit. As it turned out, it wasn’t just a show for soccer fans either. In numerous anecdotal examples, Ted Lasso has captured the hearts of everyone from soccer moms to the mainstream press as well as many of the public who don’t follow or understand soccer. It’s been such a hit that the series currently boasts a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been nominated for a plethora of awards from the Golden Globes, Primetime Emmys, and Screen Actors Guild.
So, how is the show about a soccer coach so popular with such a wide range of audience? One of the biggest elements is the fact that the show was released at the perfect time.
Ted Lasso becomes must-see TV
The first season of Ted Lasso came out in August 2020.
At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic forced families to stay inside. Ergo, many people simply watched television. The show became a way to escape all of the bad things going on around us.
Jason Sudeikis’ portrayal of Lasso was the perfect character to follow on TV in 2020. At such a divisive time in American history, the character’s supreme optimism and youthfulness brought a breath of fresh air into our living rooms.
Ted Lasso contradicts the stereotype machismo culture associated with men in sports programming. Instead, he evokes amusement, hope, nostalgia, and sadness, with just the right amount of corniness.
The show is much more than a ‘soccer show.’ Whether viewers watch alone, with friends, family, or their significant other, Ted Lasso works with practically any (adult) crowd.
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Ted Lasso, both the character and the show, received much acclaim after the first season. As GQ’s Zach Barron writes:
“It’s a somewhat strange experience, being moved to tears by a guy with a bushy cartoon mustache and an arsenal of capital-J jokes. Talking about humanity and how we all might get better at it. But that’s kind of what the experience of watching the show is. It’s about something that almost nothing is about, which is: decency.”
The show goes on
Following the immediate impact that the show had on the streaming world, Apple TV+ quickly renewed Ted Lasso for a second and third season. However, the show deviates slightly from the freshman season, particularly in the case of Lasso himself.
Regardless, the show retains much of the feeling and warmth. Furthermore, it still received praise from critics, including the New Yorker’s Doreen St. Felix:
“The sports comedy, now in its second season, is almost alarmingly unsexy, and yet it’s expertly attuned to the romantic and the sentimental, as if engineered by Pixar. You don’t discuss what the show is about but, rather, how it feels to watch it, which is comforting, or, as one headline put it, like “a warm hug of nice.”
Also, the show’s success allowed people involved with its creation to receive big pay raises. The Hollywood Reporter recently claimed that Sudeikis is set to see his salary skyrocket to nearly $1 million per episode for season three. Ted Lasso’s star actor, however, isn’t the only one to get a pay increase. Additionally, the report suggests that writers, producers, and other actors all entered negotiations following the completion of filming season two.
Writers of the show supposedly began work on the third season this week.
Popularity of the show only increases as new episodes debut. Ted Lasso is quickly becoming a staple in the modern streaming world. In fact, episodes of season two are reportedly seeing six times the amount of views compared to a year ago with their initial season.
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