TED LASSO – Review by Susan Granger

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This delightful, culture-clash comedy just scored a massive 20 Emmy nominations, the most ever for a 1st season sitcom – with accolades going to its star Jason Sudeikis, along with co-stars Hannah Waddington, Juno Temple and Brett Goldstein.

Created by showrunner Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougartown) with Jason Sudeikis, it premiered during the summer of 2020, when the world was in the midst of a global pandemic. The plot revolves around an unflappable American football coach named Ted Lasso (Sudeikis).

When he’s summoned to London to coach a Premier League soccer team, he’s purposely set up to fail in every possible way. Although no one appreciates him, particularly brittle Rebecca (Hannah Waddington), the club’s icy owner, genial Ted responds with consideration and kindness, repeating, “I appreciate you,” over and over again.

His unflinching optimism and aggressive enthusiasm prove contagious, even to the gruff-but-tender-hearted AFC Richmond captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), who is also one of the script writers.

Skillfully blending the fish-out-of-water concept with workplace humor in a sports genre, the feel-good appeal of Ted Lasso is almost irresistible – despite the fact that two of the primary characters are enduring difficult divorces and one of the team’s star players realizes that his aging body cannot keep up with the demands of professional soccer.

But for a male-centric show that often mocks toxic masculinity, its two female leads, steely Rebecca and bubbly ‘influencer’ Keely (Juno Temple), are complex, intelligent women who defy all expectations by becoming close friends.

“Women are such extraordinary creatures, and we don’t have to be competitive,” notes Ms. Temple. “I think the show showing that is one of the things I’m proudest of being a part of, actually.”

And if the strategy of having Rebecca deliberately trying to sabotage Ted Lasso feels eerily familiar, yes, it’s somewhat similar to Major League (1989).

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Ted Lasso is a terrific 10 – and the second season begins on Friday, July 23, on Apple TV+ with 12 half-hour episodes released weekly on the streaming service.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.