Does ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 2 Deserve the Backlash?


The Ted Lasso backlash has begun. Ever since the delightful Apple TV+ comedy emerged this year as a universal favorite and not a plucky underdog, the series has been inviting disgruntled “hot takes.” Whether we’re talking about The New Yorker publishing a review literally titled “Ted Lasso Can’t Save Us” or the myriad of Twitter fights about whether or not Ted Lasso Season 2 is working so far, the show is being heckled like never before. Could it be that the show truly is a let down in Season 2? (No, it’s actually still profoundly good.) Or is it the fact that Apple TV+’s choice to release new episodes of the half hour comedy weekly (and not all at once à la Netflix) is hurting the show?

To put it bluntly: Is Apple TV+’s weekly rollout killing its biggest show, Ted Lasso?

When Ted Lasso premiered last summer, it largely flew under the radar. After all, Apple TV+ was still a fledgling streaming service and the early episodes of Ted Lasso presented a ludicrous concept — an American football coach is hired to run an English Premiere League team as part of a larger revenge scheme — with little hints of what would be to come. However as critics and fans stayed with the show’s first season, they discovered one of the tightest, sunniest, and most human story arcs in TV history. Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) actually managed to win over the brittle Brits with his kindness! Soon Ted Lasso became a beloved word-of-mouth hit, scooping up awards, nominations, and universal acclaim.

Five weeks now into Ted Lasso Season 2’s twelve-episode run and the show is seemingly losing part of its core audience. Complaints range from the second season’s “missing” story arc to folks rejecting the show’s positivity outright. While it seems that most people still love the show, Ted Lasso found itself a hot button topic on Twitter over the weekend, inviting heated arguments, lengthy threads of complaint, and just general shitposting.

Photo: Apple TV+

On the one hand, a show as monumentally embraced as Ted Lasso was cruising for an online bruising. Such is the nature of the hot take ecosystem. Something so beloved would invite a backlash, for the clicks if nothing else. On the other, most of the sincere complaints I’ve seen about the season’s pacing and plotting are coming from people who are watching it weekly. And as someone who binged the first eight episodes in screener form, I feel like I watched an entirely different show. The criticisms about the story arcs or character development make no sense to me because I know where Ted Lasso is heading because I binged it. And, folks, Ted Lasso Season 2 is setting up a really fascinating look at the limits of Ted Lasso-ism and the internal battles each character is waging within. The show is still great! Just wait for it!!!

If Ted Lasso Season 2 had been released all at once, I don’t know if the conversation would be this heated. It’s not just that if you binge the first eight episodes, you get a better sense of the overall story arc for the season. When Ted Lasso is watched weekly, folks have more time to obsess over episodes individually, i.e. focus on the places where each episode was weakest. Most people came late to the Ted Lasso Season 1 party which meant they binged the first season. You know, the season that made them fall in love with the series. They got to enjoy how the story’s momentum built and didn’t have the time to examine each episode on its own.

Photo: Apple TV+

Much has been made of how dramas like Mare of Easttown or the MCU shows on Disney+ seem to benefit from a weekly rollout, but could weekly rollouts also hurt a show? Ted Lasso Season 2 seems to suggest, yes. Some shows are better binged. Does this mean Apple TV+ made a grave error choosing to release Ted Lasso‘s twelve-episode-long season over twelve long weeks? I’m not entirely sure. The second season might have gone down easier for some folks that way, but it also wouldn’t hold our attention span for as long. (And I bet the Ted Lasso diehards are still thrilled with the series either way.)

Ted Lasso Season 2 was always going to invite a backlash thanks to how popular its first season was. It is what it is. What’s fascinating is how many of the complaints might have never existed if the season was released all at once. The primary conflict introduced in Ted Lasso Season 2 isn’t Ted Lasso vs. Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) or the mean world of British football. It is Ted vs. himself, as represented by new character Sharon (Sarah Niles). And trust me when I say we’re about to see that battle get both dark and fascinating.

Ted Lasso is still good even if the discourse isn’t.

Where to stream Ted Lasso