[This conversation contains spoilers for the Apple TV+ Ted Lasso Season 3 finale, This may or may not be the series finale. Who really knows? ]
DANIEL FIENBERG: One of
in 2023 Before the series finale , my favorite thing to do is go back and rewatch the show’s pilot episodes. It’s not mandatory to make your story come full circle, and a lot of shows barely acknowledge their pilots or much of their series – which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad stories.
I didn’t go back and rewatch the pilot until this week’s Ted Lasso Season 3 finale. There are two reasons for this, both practical: First, the episodes of this season run so long – 660 minutes total
episodes, or the equivalent of more than 30 episodes of a standard radio comedy – I finally barely made it past this week’s episodes A week of episodes. Second, confusingly, Apple TV+ has been refusing to make any statements about the show’s long-term fate. Is this the end of Ted Lasso’s story, or at least Ted Lasso’s story in this world? Of course, why not? But is it Ted Lasso as the end of a series? Well, as Ted writes in Trent Crimm’s book In the Kitchen – in the world of Ted Lasso, Journalists often finish book drafts before the stories they’re writing end up being published — “It’s not about me. It never was.”
THIS IS A LIE . But it doesn’t matter! You don’t need to believe it. You just have to believe.
Just re-watching Ted Lasso doesn’t help yet another reason to prepare for the finale pilot : Ted Lasso doesn’t believe in token nods or pullbacks. Ted Lasso doesn’t believe in symbols. Part of what makes the show so popular with so many viewers—as well as critics and award voters—is its aggressive attempt to be everything to everyone, which is why it had to abandon being something as neat as a half-hour comedy a long time ago. This season was a mess, but when it made me cringe or cover my eyes in embarrassment, it made me wipe the tears from those same eyes. Because I only have two.
The same goes for the finale. It would have been a mess if I hadn’t felt a rainbow of emotions throughout. It would be too bad if it wasn’t for a small callback or two that didn’t include dozens of callbacks I recognize and no doubt dozens more I don’t.
Let’s start here. Angie, what’s your favorite ending callback? Why did Shannon’s win — albeit so short-lived — come back, the girl who taught Ted Russo the dribble and then disappeared for nearly two full seasons?
ANGIE HAN: Actually, before watching what could be a series or maybe a season finale, I did rewatch the pilot episode not so much because I was looking for callbacks but because this season I often found myself wondering if this show even was . While each series has evolved over the course of its run, it strikes me that Ted Lasso felt much more humble in the beginning – rather than just Yes it’s modest 30-minute runtime, but in its tone.
Ted’s relentless sunshine has always been at the center of the show, but it used to be tempered by an undercurrent of sadness and even meanness. (Never forget that the whole reason Ted came to Richmond in the first place was because Rebecca intended to use him as an instrument of destruction.) To be sure, this season retains a trace of that darkness; in the penultimate episode , Ted’s cathartic “fuck you” confrontation with his mother highlights how far he’s come in dealing with his emotions instead of just covering them up with a smile. Thanks, Dr. Sharon, watching TV alone in her room! Winner of the first two awards for its cheery, compassionate and inspiring portrayal of non-toxic masculinity. It’s very leaning towards those qualities – even having the whole team standing around the locker room agreeing that revenge porn is bad, so homophobia – it’s logical, The basics of storytelling, such as structure and character consistency, go awry. (Or whatever the football equivalent of “losing the ball” might be. I’m sure Beard would know; Ted still won’t.)
Ending, I think, show piece Ted Lasso has become someone who puts big, emotional, feel-good beats above everything else. There are many! The sound of music was a lovely performance. The intimacy between Roy and Jamie over a beer is touching, at least until looking back at one of the season’s most disgusting moments, when Jamie reveals that Keeley’s sexy video was meant for him. Beard’s pregame video made the entire team cry, which is perfect for a coach who doesn’t care about winning or losing but cares about how he feels. But I’ll be honest: at this point, I’m more relieved to see it end than to see it end. Dan, where did you land?
FIENBERG: Ted definitely knows football is the equivalent of conceding a goal! Ted knows football now. Or at least he understands the offside rule. That’s what the finale is all about, if not the whole series, isn’t it?
Without a doubt, Ted Lasso loses logic, structure and character coherence in the last of these All Locus episodes – though I think the writers would argue that character consistency is a myth, because as Diamond Dog does in an ongoing Three hours as we are taught in the scene of the scene, but could be dispatched and replaced in a minute. Or maybe people can’t change, but people can try to change?
Higgins, definitely the least changed character in the series, said: “The best thing we can do is keep asking for help and accepting it when we can. It. If you keep doing this, you’ll always be moving in a better direction.”
Moving in a better direction means learning that homophobia is bad Yes, revenge porn is bad, and if you tweet mean things about blatantly racist politicians, the local racist will ruin your Nigerian restaurant, but your teammates will fix the damage, and forever Will not mention it again. Ted Lasso decided this season it wanted to be a show about characters and change and the importance of community – which the show does so well – and it wanted to be One that showcases big issues in society. That’s not good.
In every mega episode, there were a dozen things that made me snicker or get my heart pumped, and a dozen things that made me cringe in embarrassment.
Ending with meme of Leonardo DiCaprio pointing at the screen, has been recognized and I’m happy most of the time Play together. Shannon! Dr. Sharon is in a hotel room! Traumatized mascot dog! Guy from Amsterdam! Nate’s penalty design! I’m glad to see Sassy honorably tell the truth for the last time, confused that we spent an entire season forced to care about Jade only to have her in one shot in the finale, and relieved that the Ted/Rebecca romance Stories so strange that what the fans wanted never materialized.
What works for you? what not?
HAN: As far as what works for me, I mostly make peace with where the character ends . It makes sense for Ted to go back to his family. Rebecca, who gave a full speech on what football means to fans a few episodes ago, will end up co-owning the team with fans. (And she’ll end up with that Dutch hottie, because who wouldn’t if they could?) Nate will be back in Richmond. Keeley will never choose between Roy and Jamie because the only real solution to this dilemma is a “throuple” and Ted Lasso will never do that . Rupert will go down. Rebecca and Keeley will form a girl team that may or may not be ready for a no-Ted Lasso Ted Lasso spin-off set up.
The thing that didn’t suit me the most was how the show got to these places. The series spent two seasons building Nate into a genius coach, then turned him into the dark side, only to decide in the third season that he was the good guy again without showing us how he did it, Or why we (or other characters) should forgive him so easily. Likewise, it spent two seasons casting Keeley as a shrewd PR specialist, only to waste that setup on poorly run businesses and more tiresome romantic drama.
I like Jamie’s arc this season best because it seems like a meaningful outgrowth of all the ups and downs we’ve seen the character go through so far. But why oh why are we still revisiting his relationship with Keeley, why does Jamie and Roy have to be their worst selves? When we asked the question, what was the whole detour that Michelle used to be her boyfriend and Ted’s marriage counselor? When did Rebecca want to have a child so much? Why did Rupert’s downfall happen so suddenly, and mostly off-screen, towards the end of the season, rather than building up over the course of the episodes? Why does Richmond only have two bars? How did Ted get that giant snowball on the plane without airport security flagging it as over the liquid limit? (Well, well, the last two might just be splitting hairs.)
Me Felt that most of the season took place off screen, which was pretty peculiar for a show that aired, and did I mention, the 600 minute. Like all Nate stuff, I can’t really fathom the difference between what we see – Jade’s endless creepy stuff, she finally has a personality in her final episode – and what we don’t The difference between seeing something, and then making it real is hard to understand why he should or shouldn’t apologize in the ending. Sure, he’s a traitor, and the way he handles things is fundamentally bad, but his job is so much better. I’m not sure why the show couldn’t differentiate between “Upward Flow” and “Becoming Judas”, they were put in the same bucket.
The show’s oblivion of “creepy” spoils a lot of things. I love Roy and Keeley in season 2. Almost everything Roy does this season involving Keeley is creepy, which is sad because I love his personal journey – we need more Phoebes, damn- —I like it very much. The relationship between Keeley and Jack, which came out of nowhere and ended out of nowhere, is far scarier than the show realizes. Jack is an eccentric billionaire who harasses an employee who has no pre-established romantic interest to love her. It’s rarely cute! Bosses and employees always have a hard time treating work like a love story 660; see also last season’s Rebecca and Sam. Yes, Michelle and her marriage counselor are disgusting on a professional level, and the result is making Ted look…yes…creepy. Don’t get me started on how creepy Jamie and his mom are, though that’s an example of how the show veers to creepy.
But, I’ll say it again, when the whole team showed up to fix Sam’s restaurant, I 31% burst into tears. I totally cried when the players happened to have clips of “BELIEVE” in their lockers. When Richmond finally won, I cheered to the TV, even though I knew City would win too. I really enjoyed the Amsterdam episode and never found it boring. I actually love Jamie’s full arc this season.
Do I need a Roy/Nate/Beard spinoff, or any hint of a season that might be coming but Apple TV+ declined to confirm? Probably not. Would I prefer a show where Roy Kent coaches a new team and they’re all Muppets? Absolutely!
Is there a derivative product you really want?
HAN: No. Personally, the issues we mentioned — weird storytelling choices, bloated runtimes, creepy miscalibration of characters — are issues that can crop up on any show from one episode to the next. Cumulatively, over the course of 660 + minutes, they start to look like a sign that a show has lost its way and has no ideas. I don’t quite believe these issues can be fixed by adding more sets, even though they technically have nothing to do with Ted Lasso coaching AFC Richmond.
I don’t mean to belittle what this show has accomplished. I used to love it and found something to like about it from beginning to end. I hope the fans who were sad that it (maybe) ended are still happy to be with it, and I hope the creatives who guided it are proud of what they’ve achieved. I also think that sometimes the best way to honor a journey is to acknowledge that it is over. Given Ted’s decision to move back to the States rather than stay in Richmond indefinitely, I doubt he’d even be inclined to agree. 1235504047