Talk about failing upward. After debuting Ted Lasso as a bumbling, American sports coach way in over his head during real NBC broadcasts of English football (aka soccer) games, Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live, Booksmart) is turning his comedic creation into a full, half-hour comedy TV series for Apple TV+ called Ted Lasso. Since leaving SNL, Sudeikis has mostly stayed in the film space, starring in titles like Horrible Bosses and Colossal. Beyond his animated role in Son of Zorn and occasional cameos as Joe Biden on SNL, this will be his first regular TV role since his eight-year stint on NBC’s sketch comedy show.
The multi-talented Sudeikis also wrote the pilot with Bill Lawrence, a TV comedy genius whose credits include Scrubs, Cougar Town, Spin City, and the wildly underrated Whiskey Cavalier. Based on the written pilot, and the pedigree of its cast and crew, Apple ordered the project straight to series. If you’ve not seen the original Ted Lasso videos (which total around 20 million views), check one out now. It features Sudeikis right in his wheelhouse — an average man trying his best to understand a crazy world with unwarranted confidence, and failing with comedic charm.
The official synopsis is simple: “Sudeikis plays Ted Lasso, an idealistic all-American football coach hired to manage an English football club — despite having no soccer coaching experience at all.” The jokes in the videos are simple and relatable, featuring Lasso’s bewilderment at soccer’s lack of tackles and need to equate every part of English football culture with American football culture (the Dallas Cowboys represent more than you’d think). While the rest of Apple’s current comedy programming feature complicated twists or takes (Hailee Steinfeld playing a contemporarily talking Emily Dickinson, for example), this looks to be the most straightforward fish-out-of-water sitcom on their slate. Here’s hoping Sudeikis and company score a goal — which is like what English football players call a touchdown.