Ted Lasso captured our hearts and minds. It gave us all the reprieve we needed.
One of the biggest surprises of the last year was Ted Lasso. It was a TV show based on a commercial character football coach, who heads to England to coach soccer. It found its legs on Apple TV and a crazy amount of word of mouth, which made it one of the most beloved shows in recent memory. It seemed like everyone was obsessed with Ted's heart, his purity, and the way the show could make you laugh and cry.
So why did Ted Lasso catch on?
After a decade of dark comedies like Barry and more drama than comedy 30-minute shows like Transparent, why was this little coaching comedy the thing that seemed to unite everyone?
Now, with a string of Golden Globe nominations, the show seems to be basking in the limelight.
In a recent interview with Uproxx, showrunner Bill Lawrence talked about the show's attitude, its famous speeches, and why he thinks it clicked with audience members. One of the most powerful answers he gave was in talking about the ethos of the show and why they created it.
"... When we first did the show, there wasn’t a quarantine or pandemic or anything, but we did talk a lot about how cynical and negative and dark the discourse has gotten, not only with politics but on social media. We talked about in the writer’s room how, if any of us met Ted Lasso in real life, I mean if I did, I would at first be like, 'Oh, in a couple of weeks, this person will reveal himself to be an asshole.' And then when they actually turned out to be that kind and empathetic and forgiving and optimistic and hopeful and all those things—then you kind of have to take a look at yourself. We didn’t know at all how it would be received or why it is being well received, but, as a group, we kind of felt like it was therapeutic to work on. So to be honest, that was enough. We were tickled that people dug it, but just doing the show and getting to be around that attitude and writing about it and working around people that felt that way was why [we did it]."
I always say write the show or movie you want to see. And it seems like this team really bought into making a show that highlighted the better parts of life.
I have to say, Jason Sudeikis was born to play Ted. He's so genuine and you really care about him and his choices. A lot comes from the writing, which Sudeikis is heavily involved with. In fact, when it came to that final speech, Sudeikis wrote it himself.
Lawrence said, "That was 100 percent Jason Sudeikis. He insisted on it. And here’s what a good guy he is: he didn’t rub it in my face. In editing, I tried to cut it down and I’m like, 'We don’t need all of this.' And he was adamant and really passionate about it, how he wrote it and performed it. The testament to his kindness is as we get to watch people on social media love that scene and react to it, he hasn’t once texted or emailed any 'I told you so' messages. He hasn’t even forwarded a tweet to me. You know what I mean? Were it not for him, that would be on the cutting room floor."
I love hearing about stars with a vested interest in the show. Obviously, Sudeikis created this character from a commercial, so he sort of knows where he needed to go, but above and beyond that, he's the head writer of the show.
Lawrence said, "... He is wearing a ton of hats. I’m lucky that he suckered me in because I was chasing him to do some other show and he talked about how Ted Lasso could be something. I’d seen those commercials. They’re super funny but very sketch-like and broad. He knew from the start he’s like, 'I want to turn that guy into a character with a lot of emotional pathos in his life and some real emotional depth [with] people who underestimate him.' So he knew ahead of time that dude had all those levels and it was what made it really interesting for me to get in and write and be involved with."
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what made Ted Lasso so popular, but I do think TV is trending toward shows with bigger hearts. Now that we have streamers willing to take a chance and program more content, now is the perfect time to pitch the shows that make you feel good.
Shows like this make you feel uplifted and excited to watch more.
Are you a Lasso fan? Sound off in the comments.
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