Ted Lasso captured the hearts of audiences everywhere during a rough time. While I've met plenty of people who shared my enthusiasm and love for the commercial sketch-turned-show, I've yet to express exactly what it is about it that hits me so hard. There's a real magic to the Apple TV+ series that is hard to quantify. If it was hard for me to explain, I wondered if the cast could explain the greatness to me.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, each cast member of Ted Lasso who I spoke to had a different response to what the magic of the series is. There's a ton of reasons to love this Emmy-nominated series, but don't just take my word for it! See what the cast had to say.
Brett Goldstein's Roy Kent faced a reckoning in Season 1, as the famous football legend realized he just couldn't keep up with the young talent anymore. Roy's coping with that in Season 2 and navigating the next step in his career. When I asked Goldstein about the magic of Ted Lasso (which he's also a writer for), he surprisingly didn't reference Roy, but instead a critical scene with Ted that happened late in Season 1.
I think it shows everyone has their reasons for who they are, if you look hard enough. And it's about forgiveness. I think that's the real - the main thing in Season 1 that felt - I think with everything that was going on in the world. For me, the most profound moment in Season 1 is Ted forgiving Rebecca immediately. And it feels so - it's shocking because we're not used to that sort of behavior and how important it is. And how wonderful to have that empathy and understand everything that is going on and still be able to go, 'I understand, and I forgive, and we can move past it.' I'm a sap, I think it's beautiful. I think it's a real unusual thing to see.
There are certainly times I've been touched by the beauty of Ted Lasso and thought the AFC Richmond coach was a better man than I. Lasso's optimism and empathy are something to aspire to, and potentially a key to the magic of the series.
Juno Temple's Keeley Jones seemed like someone completely different when she was first introduced to Ted Lasso, but perhaps the perception of her was influenced by the fact she was dating Jamie Tartt. Keeley has since found love with Roy Kent, and in Season 2, continues her public relations job for AFC Richmond. Temple had a different perspective on the magic of Ted Lasso compared to Brett Goldstein, but one that's valid all the same.
You think it's gonna shed light on people being assholes, and it doesn't. Instead it shows people to be kind, and accountable, and own up to their mistakes even if they need help to get there. It shows that it is possible and actually easy to be a good person that puts good things out into the world. And that's catching.
Juno Temple hit the nail on the head there. I spent a lot of Season 1 of Ted Lasso expecting cynically for someone to get revenge or for the shoe to drop. When it finally did, it wasn't at all what I expected, and that in itself was pretty refreshing.
Toheeb Jimoh's Sam Obisanya had his fair share of struggles in Season 1 of Ted Lasso, but in the Season 2 premiere, he found himself in more of a comfortable role in the team. When I asked Jimoh about the magic of the series, he spoke to relatability and how one can find a lot of it in the Apple TV+ show.
I think it really just comes down to the individual, man, like I think everybody, regardless of where you're at in life at the time, can get a little something from Ted Lasso. Whether that's relating to a character who's going through something that maybe you've been through or maybe you're going through. Or just like getting lost in the team spirit and like the community that we kind of have. Like on social media, you go on so many different fan accounts that are like all interacting with each other, and like, cast are interacting back. So we've got our own little Ted Lasso bubble. Like for me that's the real magic of it. It's a very wholesome show. It's a show that inspires people to believe and to be kind, and it just has a lot of relateable people going through some relateable stuff. And I think everyone can associate with it on some level.
People can relate to Ted Lasso, and apparently, find other people to share that experience with. I personally haven't spent much time on the fan pages for Ted Lasso, but Toheeb Jimoh's talk about the level of interaction has inspired me to check it out.
It's hard not to smile anytime Cristo Fernández's Danny Rojas is on screen because he's the only character in the series that can match Ted's optimism. Unfortunately, the Season 2 premiere features a tragic (but darkly hilarious) moment for Rojas that he's forced to reckon with. Despite that moment, Fernandez spoke to the good presented in the series, which is undeniable.
It's just about being kind. It's good, and sometimes it's just because you want to be kind. You know, like, that doesn't mean you need something from someone else, you just have to be kind and people can be kind. And that's a cool thing, you know? And I think that's good that the show talks about it.
People can be kind, and Ted Lasso is evidence of that. Perhaps that's part of the magic that spoke to so many during 2020 when the world was put on its back and renewed some of our optimism that things can and will get better.
Phil Dunster's Jamie Tartt certainly started as one of the most unlikable characters of the bunch, though as Ted Lasso fans got to know him, I'm sure they warmed up. Tartt made a surprise appearance right at the tail end of the Season 2 premiere, but perhaps not in a way audiences expected. Dunster confessed to me he also has struggled to explain the magic of Ted Lasso to others but eventually found a great way to break it down.
I think that the magic of it is that all of the lessons that they try to teach in the show: empathy, challenging leadership, challenging masculinity, it doesn't exist within a vacuum. It's there because we see characters struggling with pain, and with loss and with shame. And so we see people act in a bad way, and this empathy and these lessons exist because of that. And that is-the goodness is trying to infiltrate the darkness. Well, certainly the shadier parts of the human existence. Also, like, I think it does it with humility and it does it with a humor, and they love puns. Who doesn't love puns? If in doubt just tell people there's good puns in the show. I think that'll help people come around to it.
Honestly, telling people it's big on puns may be the easiest selling point for Ted Lasso. Watch for the puns, and stay for so much more. Credit to Phil Dunster for the suggestion because that's something I'll share with any curious party in the future.
Jeremy Swift plays Higgins on Ted Lasso, but that's just one of the many roles he's held over his long career. If there was anyone who could effectively encapsulate what made a series special, I wagered it would be him, and Swift did not disappoint.
I think that it's heartwarming without being sickly or saccharine, and positive without being sort of naive. It's strength I think is that, to a certain extent, it knows what and deals with toxic behavior. And it acknowledges all those very very squirmy kind of dark sitcoms that we've liked and we still love. It keeps them there in a way, but it's winning. It's a winning show. At the same time it involves you in a kind of dramedy way with people's lives and how they interact and the decisions they make. So, being like any great story, it draws you in.
Those words are straight-up poetry. Jeremy Swift couldn't have said it any better there, and while I don't think I could organically work "saccharine" into my vocabulary if I tried, I may have to just to feel as eloquent as this Ted Lasso star.
Last, but certainly not least, I spoke to Season 2 newcomer Sarah Niles. Niles joined Ted Lasso as a sports psychologist named Sharon and was seen in the premiere helping Danny Rojas overcome his trauma. Niles has been a fan of the show since Season 1 and had a lot to say regarding its magic.
There's a real skill to the writing. There's many writers on the board. There's a real skill to-the set producers just do an amazing job in how they've created this show. But it reminds me of those comedies I've watched when I was a bit younger and I really loved because they were just so optimistic. And you just root and love the people because they do become people. You know, they're not just- they're these characters, but they're so fully fleshed out. Like with Ted, it's like he seems one thing, and as it transpires later on in the first season, you begin to realize there's more to him than meets the eye. and it's wonderful and he's vulnerable as well as well as that. He's many things and that's what I loved about it. I'm always a big supporter of being able to- especially for men-being able to be vulnerable, and being able to be open, and being able to try things and be able to bumble. And it's wonderful to see someone tripping up and falling in life and still remaining optimistic.
I agree with all that and can earnestly say I haven't felt as connected to a group of characters since The Office. That's obviously high praise, but not the only reason why this show is still popular. Perhaps the takeaway is that there are many things to love, which is why the series has connected with so many.