Ted Lasso (Season Two)

I loved the first season of Ted Lasso. The show’s character development was especially masterful. Many of the early “villains” became surprisingly sympathetic. Conversely, many of the early “heroes” became more complicated as the season wore on. And because the characters were so complex and dynamic, they were highly relatable and highly instructive.

I also appreciated the cross-cultural curiosities that were written into each episode. And last but not least, I just felt refreshed after watching almost every episode. There was something relentlessly hopeful about the title character and the show, in general.

I also loved Ted Lasso because I felt like I had the show almost to myself. My brother Jay recommended it to me shortly after its release, and I became a relatively early adopter — recommending the show to others before most of them had even heard of it. Even my cool and cultured teenagers loved the show, after I introduced them to it. And then, of course, my sense of pride grew after the show started getting more momentum in popular culture, too. I felt like I was surfing a massive wave before it crested.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the second season of Ted Lasso as much as the first season.

It was still better than most shows. I continued to look forward to watching each episode. But sadly (if perhaps inevitably), I felt like many of the stories and the characters regressed in their sophomore season. Most of the characters got less complex. And in the cases where the characters did become more complex — they were less interesting characters, and their transformations seemed to take them to less satisfying places.

I appreciated the ways that Coach Lasso served as an avenue to explore issues of mental health and family dysfunction. And his therapist, Sharon Fieldstone, was a delightful addition to the cast. Still, I feel like the success of the Ted Lasso show depends on the success of the Ted Lasso character. And mostly, it seemed like Season Two was a struggle for the Ted Lasso character. He didn’t have nearly as many flashes of brilliance. Neither humor nor wisdom. I still found him to be a sympathetic character. I related to his frailty. He just didn’t get my heart pumping as much in Season Two as he did in Season One.

I was also disappointed that Season Two didn’t include as many of the cultural curiosities as we got in Season One. There was a little bit of fun with Dr. Fieldstone’s foldable bicycle… a stereotypically direct Dutchman playing a minor role on the team… and Coach Beard’s unusual adventures in the underground club scene of London (though this was my least favorite episode in either season)… But there weren’t nearly as many as clever play-on-words insights between British English and American English. They seemed to just assume that all of the foreign characters had assimilated to English culture. Consequently, there seemed to be more of an assumption of a happily multi-cultural team, which reduced both dramatic tension and cultural insight.

Some notable bright spots in Season Two, however, were the characters of Sharon, Nate, Jamie, Rupert, and Jan. I also really appreciated the development of the character Sam Obisanya. He managed to pull some of the emotional weight that Ted Lasso carried in Season One. But I didn’t find myself invested in his romantic relationship (which I’m intentionally leaving vague, to avoid spoiling anyone else’s experience of the show). And it seems like they want that storyline to carry some weight, going forward. So we’ll have to see what happens with all that.

I’m definitely hoping to tune back in for Season Three next year. And I can see how they might be poised for a rebound, in some of the areas where I feel like they fell short in Season Two. But if you haven’t seen it yet, Season One is totally worth your time and attention. And that will likely be enough to carry you through Season Two, too.

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