I have always found the main criticism against Ted Lasso, that it’s too sweet, to be completely unfair. This is an in-mold series, where sunny skies and primary colors sweeten the bitter pills dispensed. For every wish-fulfillment scene designed to make you gasp for air, there are meditations on suicide, betrayal, and emotional neglect. It’s also funny — enough that Emmy voters gave it Best Comedy two years in a row. Now the third and, to our knowledge, final the show’s season will return to Apple TV on March 15.
It resumes after the summer break, ahead of Richmond’s return season in the Premier League (EPL) after winning promotion by the skin of their teeth last time out. It’s been a long time since the second season aired, with the longer gap attributed to behind-the-scenes issues. Jason Sudekis, who became co-showrunner this time around, ordered a complete rewrite after being unhappy with the initial direction this season was taking. Based on the first four episodes, which Apple made available ahead of broadcast, our patience has been well rewarded.
Such is the nature of Apple’s spoiler covenant that I can’t speak to many details about the third season. The first episode is the weakest of the bunch, taking time to reestablish where everyone is after their summer vacation. (Are placeholder episodes necessary given the nature of streaming these days?) Keeley finds the rigors of running her own business harder than expected, while Rebecca has taken the promise to heart. from Ted to win the league. Ted, meanwhile, feels just as emotionally rickety as he has before, even more so after spending a summer with Henry, obviously not having dealt with Nate’s betrayal, or the contrived reasons behind it. underlie.
As part of Lasso evolving from a sitcom to a comedy-drama, the lengths of each episode are now firmly measured in hours, rather than half-hours. The narrative has expanded to cover the personal lives of many of the major footballers, as well as giving Keeley a whole new team to work with. We even get our first glimpse of Michelle and Henry back home in Kansas, not to mention storylines featuring Sam and, of course, the fearsome Nate. That’s a lot for a show to handle, especially one that – just as unfairly – has been portrayed as and in its second season. (The blame must lie with Apple for that one, given its belated request to add two more episodes to the order.)
There are more threads in the script, but Ted Lasso has refocused its episodic structure around the Premier League season. And two parallel narratives emerge: Ted’s struggle to access his emotions in a healthy way and the battle for Nate’s soul. Rupert, played with evil taste by Anthony Head, is the devil lurking on the prodigy’s shoulder, tempting past him at every turn. Nor can I possibly speak of (ACTOR) playing (CHARACTER), a condensed version of every single-name prima-donna footballer who is often idolized and hated in equal parts.
I was interested to see how the show’s new embrace would alter its usual lack of grounding in reality. This season sees a lot of filming at some marquee stadiums, even down to retaining sponsor walls for post-match interviews. But don’t expect a new commitment to football verisimilitude, with opposing teams all played by actors bearing little resemblance to their real-world counterparts. Don’t forget it’s still Ted’s world, we just get to spend some time watching it.
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