Ted Lasso is back on Apple TV+ and he's as stubbornly optimistic as ever Jason Sudeikis' Ted Lasso returns as folksy as ever, but one wonders if there is enough ah shucks personality to carry the series to a compelling end.


TV Reviews

The third season of 'Ted Lasso' basks in the glow of its quirky characters

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ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: How you feel about this latest and possibly last season of "Ted Lasso" probably depends on how you feel about the characters in "Ted Lasso." That's because star, co-creator and executive producer Jason Sudeikis and his fellow producers spend a lot of time this season savoring the quirky, familial vibe of the show's signature personalities, like this moment, featuring Rebecca Welton, the woman who owns the British soccer team that Ted Lasso manages, played by Hannah Waddingham. Rebecca can't hide that she really wants to beat a rival team, beloved by sports media, called West Ham United, owned by her ex-husband, Rupert.


HANNAH WADDINGHAM: (As Rebecca Welton) The worst part is that they've picked Rupert to finish in the top four.

JASON SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Rupert's going to play this year?

WADDINGHAM: (As Rebecca Welton) What? No.

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Oh, so you mean West Ham?

WADDINGHAM: (As Rebecca Welton) Precisely. Everyone thinks he's better than us.

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) They. Everyone thinks they are better than us.

WADDINGHAM: (As Rebecca Welton) Yes, that's what I said - they. So what's the plan? How are we going to beat him?

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Them.

WADDINGHAM: (As Rebecca Welton) Exactly.

DEGGANS: Fans of the show know that Sudeikis's Ted Lasso faces a rivalry with a former assistant, unctuous strategist Nate Shelley, who left Ted's team for a job as head coach at West Ham. Nate is becoming a terror at West Ham, berating a reporter during a press conference.


JAMES LANCE: (As Trent Crimm) You are now the manager of a contending Premier League team. But just two years ago, you were a mere kit man, washing another team's underwear. I mean, it must all feel a bit overwhelming for you.

NICK MOHAMMED: (As Nathan Shelley) What's overwhelming is the confusion I feel when someone so intelligent looking has such a stupid question.

DEGGANS: But when asked to respond to public insults from Nate aggressively, Ted decides to crack jokes pointed at himself.


SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Well, I'm so dumb that the first time I heard you all talking about Yorkshire pudding, I thought it was a fancy word you all had for dog poop.


SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Yeah. I mean, I'm so dumb...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) How dumb are you?

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Yeah. All right. Well, you know, whenever I text someone over here about money, I still spell pounds L-B-S.

DEGGANS: Those who've been watching the show a while know these self-deprecating clips hide a deeper pain. Likely connected to Ted's own questions about whether he should stay in Britain to win a major championship as his ex-wife and son seemingly move on without him in America. Regret is a common theme this season, as various characters consider choices made and rose not taken. Even Brett Goldstein's gruff soccer-star-turned-coach Roy Kent wonders to Ted if he retired too early.


BRETT GOLDSTEIN: (As Roy Kent) I didn't want to be one of them broken-down footballers just taking up space until they're dropped years after they should have been.

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Yeah. Well, a lot of folks think it's better to quit than be fired, you know.

GOLDSTEIN: (As Roy Kent) There's a part of me - maybe I should have stayed, just enjoyed myself. But that is not who I am, I guess.

SUDEIKIS: (As Ted Lasso) Not yet.

DEGGANS: Yeah, that line has a double meaning, but I can't explain without dropping a major spoiler. So just trust that this admission means a lot. For those who hate character development presented that obviously, this season may be a tough slog. Characters here often do what real people rarely do, baring their inner feelings through perceptive monologues. Despite Sudeikis's statements that this season wraps up the story he wanted to tell, Apple TV+ hasn't said for sure if "Ted Lasso" will end here, and it's tough to know if these moments will add up to a truly great series conclusion if it does. But it's a measure of "Ted Lasso's" quality that even if they don't, we'll still be left with some pretty compelling television. I'm Eric Deggans.

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