Ted Lasso Season 1 [9/10]

Word of mouth for the first season of “Ted Lasso” was overwhelmingly positive, especially during dark lockdown days, but it took me over a year to get to it, mostly because the Apple+ streaming platform seemed too paltry back then. Now I can confirm the accepted wisdom: Ted Lasso is an unmitigated pleasure, an intelligent, vibrant, singular series. You probably know the premise: a middling American football coach—Mr. Ted Lasso himself, played superbly by Jason Sudeikis as the eternally optimistic, sweet-as-pie mensch (with occasional hidden flaws)—is hired to coach mediocre British soccer team AFC Richmond. From the start, the series features Yank-Brit cultural clashes, often involving jokes that should be lame but are rendered hilarious with wonderful comic timing. The series takes its time unveiling a panoply of contributing characters: Brendan Hunt is also flawless as the other hired “Coach”; Hannah Waddingham wonderfully hams up the club’s owner; Brett Goldstein does a great gruff pastiche as the foul-mouthed star, Roy Kent; and let me also mention with admiration other key roles played by Nick Mohammed, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, and Juno Temple. The entire ensemble (and there are more) swirl around an unfolding plot of sweet twists and resolutions, following this ill-fated soccer team toward some kind of cohesion. The dialogue is swift and intelligent and funny, the plot is controlled well, the camerawork is all English eye candy, and the overall theme of hope resonated the heck with me. All in all, I see Season 1 of Ted Lasso as an unmitigated triumph.

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