Everyone was skeptical of “Ted Lasso.” After all, it was based on a TV commercial with a one-note premise: Kansas football coach is transplanted to England to coach a sport he knows nothing about: their version of football, aka soccer.
Then people started watching the series and realized there was far more to it, thanks in large part to its co-creator and star, Jason Sudeikis, the “Saturday Night Live” alum who grew up in Overland Park.
Now that “Ted Lasso” and Sudeikis are vying for two Golden Globes on Feb. 28 — for best comedy TV series and best actor — the most-watched show on Apple TV+ has found even more believers yearning to know more.
Just as Rebecca loves the biscuits Ted brings her, here are some morsels to savor:
Will there be more ‘Ted Lasso’?
Yes. Not only is the 12-episode Season 2 shooting in England now, but Apple has already greenlighted a third season.
That was the hope all along, co-creator Bill Lawrence told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a neat way to write,” he said. “Jason was obsessed at the start with planting things early, like the biscuits in the second episode or the army men. It’s such a good thing to know that the three years are happening, as he’s planting things in.”
Who inspired the character?
What’s the difference between Ted Lasso of the commercials — promotional shorts for NBC Sports’ coverage of British Premier League soccer — and Ted Lasso of the TV show? Heart.
“I have said for many moons that the worst combination of a human man is one that’s ignorant and arrogant,” Sudeikis told EW. That was basically the first incarnation of the character.
So, he and his collaborators gave the new Ted a crucial difference: ignorant but curious. “That’s my father,” said Sudeikis, who often tells loving stories of his dad, Dan. “That’s probably many of our fathers. And it’s probably how I am to my kids. But that was the unlocking of the character.”
A couple years ago, Sudeikis told The Star that his dad was also his inspiration for playing Joe Biden on “SNL.”
“Part of it was just a version of my dad, and just his openness and loquaciousness.”
Sudeikis told Variety that Ted Lasso sprung from portrayals by several actors, including Robin Williams in his various mentor roles, from “Aladdin” to “Good Will Hunting.”
Ted “is rooted in these teachers here, and mentors, these Obi-Wan Kenobi types that see more in you than you can see in yourself, and that optimism,” Sudeikis said.
What are the Kansas City connections?
If you missed our interview with Sudekis last summer on how KC permeates “Ted Lasso,” here’s a quick summary:
— Ted’s hometown: “I believe he grew up in unknown parts of Kansas City.We’ll say on the Kansas side because I know it better.”
— Ted’s accent: “Even though we’re not the South, especially Kansas City, you’ll still get a nice Midwestern drawl. I went to Fort Scott Community College there for a little while and when you get down to southeast Kansas, it’s more prominent there.”
— The barbecue: Ted’s barbecue mashup shirt that says “Joe Arthur GATESTACK” is from Three KC, the Kansas City clothing brand started by Sudeikis’ high school friend Brendan Curran. And Sudeikis knew someone who knew someone at Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, so he got to use the sauce in the show.
— More KC gear: Assistant coach Beard ((Brendan Hunt) sometimes wears a KC Sines Original hat, a tribute to Sudeikis’ old buddy from grade school through college, Chris Sines.
— Wichita State football? Ted is hired to coach soccer after taking the Wichita State Shockers football team to the Rose Bowl. But Wichita State hasn’t fielded an NCAA Division I football team since 1986. Sudeikis just wanted to showcase Kansas, and WSU came through with permission to use the logo, colors and everything. “I like the fact that they don’t have a football team — just like AFC Richmond is fake, too — which allows us to create this mythology for Ted.”
What about those biscuits?
First, we must point out that Ted’s boss, Rebecca, is played by Hannah Waddingham, who was another difficult woman on “Game of Thrones”: Septa Unella, the “Shame Nun” who tortured Cersei.
Maybe Cersei should have tried to win her over with “biscuits.” That’s what Ted does with Rebecca, bringing her a daily dose of shortbread cookies (butter, flour, sugar, salt, sometimes vanilla). They look sooooo delicious. They weren’t.
They “actually tasted like a sponge,” Waddingham told Variety. “That’s the greatest acting job of my life that anyone thought they tasted nice.”
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