By Alicia Powell
“Ted Lasso,” a heartwarming TV series about an American football coach trying to rally a struggling British soccer team, returns Friday with players and staff searching for a winning formula on the field and navigating personal challenges off of it.
Star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis said the second season on Apple Inc’s Apple TV+ delves deep into the “heads, hearts and souls” of the AFC Richmond crew around a theme of “sometimes the best way to help others is to help yourself.”
“We try to do that with a little comedy, a little drama, like last year,” Sudeikis said.
The show’s first season charmed critics and audiences with boundless optimism that uplifted viewers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sudeikis won best comedy actor at the Golden Globes, and the show was nominated last week for 20 Emmys, more than any other comedy series.
Season two finds the soccer club back at work with new and returning players and working to improve after a disappointing run. The team brings in a sports psychologist (Sarah Niles) to help, and Lasso immediately tries to win her over with his trusty treat – sugary homemade biscuits.
Despite the overarching can-do spirit, the season delves into some heavy topics, especially outside the stadium.
“We’re spending so much time with these people, we’re going to eventually see some of the harder things they’re going through, if we are indeed trying to show a bit of truth,” said Brendan Hunt, a co-creator and writer who portrays Lasso’s assistant Coach Beard.
“The show has such a wacky premise that I think we kind of felt duty-bound to put as much emotional reality around that,” Hunt said.
Among the challenges are divorced team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) trying to find her way in the modern dating world. Waddingham said she does not know if Rebecca will find love.
“She’s having to go, like we all do,” Waddingham said. “She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing, but she’s having a go.”