Amid fears of COVID-19, Jason Sudeikis and Ted Lasso burst onto the scene to give us the comfort we all needed. As we approach the premiere of season two (which you can watch on Apple TV+ in Canada and beyond beginning Jul. 23), the big question for fans is whether the magic of the first season can be recreated.
“It's a difficult second album,” Phil Dunster who plays the popularly unpopular Jamie Tartt said ahead of the second season premiere.
“But as soon as we got back together again...and we got to see the scripts, it was pretty clear that it was going to be business as usual. So the nerves dissipated.”
Nick Mohammed, who plays Nathan Shelley, described his feelings before the premiere of season two as “nervous excitement,” adding that the bar has been raised in this second season.
“They go to some really interesting places and areas that you might not suspect but then there's also some really fun payoffs that have absolutely been set up in season one,” he teased.
Mohammed added that he remembers around awards season earlier this year, including the Golden Globes, it felt very strange because they were trying to film season two of Ted Lasso and he had to distance himself from all the “noise” around season one.
“You absolutely want to deliver above and beyond,” he said. “You don't want your audience to be disappointed and I think there becomes a degree of responsibility there.”
Legendary English actor Jeremy Swift, who plays the hilarious Higgins in the series, highlighted that the evolution of the story takes the audience deeper into the characters, and is “just as funny for it.”
Overall, everyone who’s a part of Ted Lasso shouldn’t be worried because season two of the show starts off with a bang (you’ll know exactly what we're trying to tease when you watch the first episode).
While the first season may have been the perfect fit for that moment in time, season two sets off on another brilliant foot (or soccer/football cleat in this instance), pushing the storyline forward in a way that draws you back into the characters you fell in love with, and gives you the opportunity to spend more time with the lesser featured characters from season one, including Higgins and Nathan.
“In season one it’s the kind of classic underdog story, being brought out of his shell off the back of his interactions with Ted, he’s feeling slightly empowered,” Mohammed explained. “He does have this newfound confidence but he's not a different person, he still has the insecurities...and it’s interesting to see how he’s going to tackle the challenges that come his way off the back of slightly new responsibilities.”
“For Higgins, after the kind of little empowerment episode at the end of season one, he goes with that in season two, without giving too much away, and he's a little bit more centred,” Swift added. “As an older character, he's able to be a little bit wise and tutoring people a little bit, and he engineers a couple of big moments.”
‘Ted Lasso’ women steal the show
While the men of Ted Lasso, of course, play an important role in moving the second season forward, it’s the women in the cast, particularly the relationship between Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) that’s a highlight at the outset of the new season.
“It's just beautiful that we get a chance to show that women are great companions, and possibly, [if you] just let them in, your greatest champion in life,” Waddingham said.
She added that much of that relationship was based on the off-screen friendship that developed between the two actors while filming the show.
“The amount of times Jason would observe us together in the makeup trailer and suddenly something's kind of just tickled upon within the scene, [the] way they always have us on the sofa together in Rebecca's office, and Rebecca is long and conservative, and Keeley is like a little kind of, I always say to her, she looks like...if you put a little kind of koala clip on something,” she said.
“If you think about it, we're like 15 years apart in age. She lives in [Los Angeles] and she's a huge film star, I'm more television and theatre, and with my little girl, and so in theory, there's no reason for us to immediately just gone ‘clonk’ but we did, and I'm very grateful for that.”
Waddingham explained that while often actors can feel like their contribution to a project hasn’t fully shown what they’re capable of giving to a character, playing Rebecca often allows her to “run the gamut of emotions in one scene.”
“That is completely unique,” Waddingham said.
She did have her worries going into season two, seemingly leaving Rebecca relatively sorted out with the team and her ex-husband, but there are still plenty of new paths of resistance for her to explore in season two, including her possible new love life.
“They give [her] moments where she has a breath of fresh air and then it all descends on her again, and she reaches up for air and finds her way, and then steps two steps back,” Waddingham explained.
“That continues for quite a lot of season two with her ups and downs and I just think that's so brilliantly drawn, because that's exactly how our lives are, aren't they? You can give an impression of who you are but there might be a million things going on, paranoias and fears and whatever, and the way...we find Rebecca, I think is exactly where she should be.”
Where are we at the beginning of Ted Lasso season two?
Title star Ted (Sudeikis) is still coaching AFC Richmond but the team is having a bit of a hard time taking home some big wins.
That’s where a new character, sports psychologist Sharon, played by Sarah Niles, joins the coaching staff.
“I think she's really good at her job,” Niles teased. “She wants the best for everyone, she wants to do her job well, she doesn't want any distractions.”
Sharon’s demeanour is basically the complete opposite of happy-go-lucky Ted, she keeps to herself and isn’t particularly warm or chummy with her colleagues at the outset. Despite that difference, Niles revealed she actually had a lot of fun banter with Sudeikis on set.
“He would be doing some ad libbing and stuff and I was trying not to laugh, trying so hard to be serious about it,” she said. “I like to have fun and...she's serious, she's coming to do a serious job.”
“I think [Ted and Sharon] both find each other interesting.”
While Jamie left Richmond at the end of the first season, you can probably tell at this point that this character isn’t a one season wonder.
“He's taken a slightly different path,” Dunster said. “He's maybe trying his fame shoes on, celebrity shoes on...I think just trying to discover who he is through something other than football, perhaps, that he's known all his life.”
“Being able to sort of go into it and sort of look into why he's a douchebag, why it is that he has this sort of arrogance... I think that people are the way they are because they've been affected by their lives. It's really fun being a douchebag but it feels very satisfying to be a douchebag for a reason.”
If you loved “shipping” Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley you won’t be disappointed heading into season two. As their relationship moves forward, as does their professional relationships with Richmond, you’re likely going to love them together even more after watching the first few episodes of the show.
The bottom line is that Ted Lasso is back and, dare I say, the first few episodes may have achieved the seemingly impossible task of being even better than the first season.