There is a concept in soccer known as ‘second season’ syndrome. It is usually applied to a player who unexpectedly overachieves in their first season but finds it hard to maintain those standards in the next. Ted Lasso certainly surpassed all expectations when it first arrived on Apple TV+. Can it maintain those high standards for season two?
‘Ted Lasso’ Season Two – All The Right Elements Are There
The first episode of season two, released Friday, does little to alleviate the fear that the show might suffer its own version of second season syndrome. There’s nothing at all wrong with it, per se. There’s just nothing to shout about either. Yet.
Indeed, all the right elements are there. The team is in a rut and desperate for a return to glory. Biscuits are delivered. There’s an inspirational speech during a press conference. There’s the odd good one-liner too. For instance, at one point Ted Lasso compares being in an uncomfortable situation to the time he wore a “red baseball cap at a planned parenthood convention.” On another, he says “back home we don’t call a team playing badly unlucky. What do we call them, coach?” To which Beard replies “New York Jets.”
The whole first episode of Ted Lasso season two is predicated on a rather daft setup involving AFC Richmond’s mascot, Earl the dog, and star striker, Dani Rojas. There’s nothing wrong with a 30 minute comedy using daft setups. Far from it. But it needs to be very funny, and this episode doesn’t quite have enough truly funny moments to make it stick.
Reunited With Old Friends
It is though lovely to be reunited with Ted Lasso and the gang, and see what has become of them. We see the development of Keeley and Roy’s relationship, Rebecca getting back in the dating game, and Nate the Great getting a bit of an edge. Watching Keeley and Rebecca’s friendship strengthen is a great homage to ‘girl talk’ everywhere. There is also a new character, a sports psychologist sharply played by Sarah Niles (pictured above), who proves to be an early source of tension.
Overall then, episode one leaves us with plenty to build on but not much substance. Let’s hope season two of Ted Lasso finds the groove of the original.