A greener-than-green football pitch signals the return ofsurprise hit comedy series . But this time around -- two minutes in, no less -- deftly skewers its reputation for kindness by committing the ultimate atrocity. No spoilers, but let's just say a dog gets involved in a soccer game, and dogs should never get involved in soccer games.
That aside, season 2 of Ted Lasso quickly reestablishes the norm, bringing the wholesome one-liners -- "There are two buttons I never like to hit: panic and snooze" -- and the heartwarming messages about love, life and loss. These ingredients helped make Ted Lasso the champion of the lockdown, and in season 2 they create more of the same magic.
Ted Lasso's creative team, headed by Jason Sudeikis -- who also plays the titular American football coach turned English football coach (two very different things) -- wastes no time in establishing how everyone at AFC Richmond is doing.
Club owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddington) is dipping her toe back into the dating scene, after her divorce led to her accepting AFC Richmond as her new family. She leans on the helpful and supportive Keeley (Juno Temple), whose initially unlikely friendship with Rebecca is thriving.
The recently retired Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), who's now dating Keeley, wrestles with his career after professional football. Coaching an under-9 girls team just isn't offering the same highs.
And how's Ted doing? Despite struggling with winning his first game of the season, Ted continues to live and breathe positivity. While you're distracted, the show gently ushers darker topics under its warm blanket, such as Sudeikis' real-life break up. This echoes in Ted's reflections on his marriage, the somberness subtle but felt in the slight weariness in Sudeikis' kind, wrinkly eyes.
This season those eyes widen as the Greyhounds tap a sports psychologist (Sarah Niles) to help turn around their middling fortunes. This introduction reflects an understanding from the show's developers, including Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence, of how to trigger every feel-good pressure point without piling on the soapiness and sappiness.
The sports-related jokes are there -- Ted acknowledges that in England saying "soccer" is as bad as saying "Voldemort" -- but the main focus is on the human element of the drama, sports-related and otherwise.
We spend even more time with the supporting cast away from the football pitch, and something about seeing Ted and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) share a beer in a pub epitomizes the beautiful (and miraculous) meld of American and English cultures.
There's even a Christmas episode, along with animated hallucinations, a perfect new gig for Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and a rousing relationship speech from Roy that highlight the new territory of the Ted Lasso world.
Does Ted Lasso season 2 live up to the heights of its inaugural season? In true Ted Lasso fashion, it doesn't need to. It's happy in its own skin to carry on being its bubbly, goofy self, which is exactly why it gives you a feeling of warmth and security.
Season 2 ofon Friday, July 23.