'Ted Lasso' Season 3 breaks out of the 'sitcom textbook' in character development

"Putting everybody on different canvases, but still connecting them to the curriculum, was a very fun challenge," Brendan Hunt says

Episode 1. Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt and Jason Sudeikis in
Episode 1. Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt and Jason Sudeikis in "Ted Lasso," premiering March 15, 2023 on Apple TV+.

Ted Lasso has two successful seasons under its belt, and Season 3 of the Apple TV+ series keeps things fresh and engaging, primarily by breaking though sitcom norms.

As Brendan Hunt highlights, who plays Coach Beard in the series in addition to being an executive producer and writer, Season 3 takes some of its core characters away from the specific AFC Richmond landscape, operating on their own.

Some examples of this in Season 3 include Nate (Nick Mohammed), who has moved on from Richmond to manage West Ham, and Keeley (Juno Temple), who has started her own PR company.

“It was a fun challenge in a way because technically, in the sitcom textbook, you're not supposed to do that,” Hunt said. “But if people like that we let these characters develop in interesting directions in their lives, well then we have to follow through on that, and that's going to branch out.”

“Putting everybody on different canvases, but still connecting them to the curriculum, was a very fun challenge.”

While we haven't been able to see exactly how emotional Season 3 of Ted Lasso will be, the way the show balances comedy with the vulnerability of its characters, including Ted managing his anxiety and panic attacks, is something that has been praised by viewers each season.

“One of the central tenets of improv, at least in Chicago, was to find the truth in comedy,” Hunt explained. “[A show can be] ... just comedy if it's 22 minutes. When your show is getting into 35, 40 minutes, it's got to have a little bit more to it than that.”

“I think people, perhaps, respond to that tension between those two elements because that's what life is. People talk about the positivity of the show, but it's not just Kumbaya, real sh-t happens. And then how do we respond to that? You’ve got to have salt with the sugar.”

'Ted Lasso' Season 3, Episode 2 tease for what's to come

The primary occupational goal for Ted (Jason Sudeikis) in Season 3 of the show is for Richmond to stay in the Premiere League, while all the pundits expect them to come dead last, and be relegated to the English Football League once again.

For Hunt, one of the highlights in crafting this new season was the introduction of the character Zava (Maximilian Osinski), who we will see for the first time in the second episode. Zava is an international soccer superstar who is leaving the Italian club Juventus because his wife watched The Office, and now she wants to live in England. But Zava's off-the-pitch demeanour is unlike anything the Richmond team has seen.

“Ted said he's going to try to win the whole thing, win the whole f-cking thing, so if you're going to do that you need at least one actual superstar,” Hunt said. “He's not trying to disrupt, he's not trying to disobey, … he is in the moment, ... and he'll kick the sh-t out of the ball.”

“Zava is such a fun character and we really hit the jackpot that Maximilian Osinski happened to be in London at the time, because he is absolutely perfect, and a good dude. I enjoyed that new element. The new wrinkle for Ted's coaching style to come up against, because he's not quite the same as the baby superstar that Jamie was in Season 1. This is a man who's seen it all, this is a man who's got real gravitas and that's a new challenge for Ted. It's just super fun to play with.”