Review: ‘Ted Lasso’ kicks off Season 2 in hilariously heartfelt fashion on Apple TV+

WTOP's Jason Fraley raves about 'Ted Lasso'

Today’s television landscape offers a daunting number of different streaming services.

However, if there’s one reason to subscribe to Apple TV+, “Ted Lasso” is it.

TV’s most hilariously heartfelt comedy kicked off Season 2 over the weekend, but don’t worry if you missed Season 1. Thanks to half-hour episodes that are tailor-made for a breezy binge, you can easily get caught up before the next weekly installment.

The series follows a pollyannish American college football coach, Ted Lasso, who is hired to coach a British soccer team, AFC Richmond. Unbeknownst to him, he was secretly hired to lose by a scheming owner trying to tank the team owned by her ex-husband.

The Season 2 premiere continues many of the storylines we grew to love in Season 1.

“SNL” alum Jason Sudeikis picks right up with his Emmy-worthy portrayal of a lovably earnest coach with an aw-shucks demeanor that you can’t help but adore. He’s a nicer Michael Scott with a heart of gold, delivering laugh-out-loud banter with his assistants, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) and Nate “The Great” Shelley (Nick Mohammed).

Meanwhile, we explore the dating troubles of team owner Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham), whose character arc is one of the show’s biggest strengths. Starting as a scorned villain (i.e. “Major League”) aided by a slimy sycophant (Jeremy Swift), she gradually develops empathy for her head coach — one shortbread biscuit at a time.

We also check in on the budding romance between cockney model Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) and stoic veteran Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), who retired after last season and now coaches his niece’s youth soccer team. We’re even reminded of his ongoing feud with the cocky Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), whose name is sung to the tune of “Baby Shark.”

Most memorable is the eternally passionate Mexican soccer superstar Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández), who believes that “football is life” until a wild event gives him the “yips.” This is when an athlete psychs himself out and can’t perform the basic fundamentals of his sport, like catcher Rube Baker unable to throw to second base in “Major League II.”

Enter the new character of sports psychologist Dr. Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), who not only brings diversity to the cast, but also boasts a multilingual ethos to back up her confident talk as she works down the entire roster of players to improve their lives on and off the field.

Here’s hoping this builds to one-on-one therapy sessions with Ted Lasso himself, whose personal issues will likely come to the forefront this season after his wife requested distance in their relationship, making him estranged to their daughter across the pond.

Is Ted Lasso’s eternal optimism a self-medicating balm for a deeper personal pain?

If anyone can crack the inner-workings of Lasso, it’s the sports psychologist who closes the door on him in a cool gender reversal of the final shot of “The Godfather” (1972).

Yes, there’s symbolic directing to rival the masterful writing in this comedy.

“Ted Lasso” is that good — in every sense of the word.

Episode 2 of Season 2 drops this Friday on Apple TV+.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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