Comedy mix helps Ted Lasso find international audience on Apple TV +


“Ted Lasso,” which begins its second season Friday, has become the first breakthrough for Apple TV +, not only nationally, but internationally.

The story of a little college American football coach (the main character played by Jason Sudeikis) who finds himself coaching an England football team at the whim of team owner (Hannah Waddingham), who would no longer want anything to lead the club into the ground to upset her ex-husband, has been successful for a myriad of reasons, including his amiable lead. However, even though Sudeikis is the attraction, he’s only one part of a brew that includes a cast with wonderful chemistry and writing that turns out to be a cut above.

The success of Apple TV + seduces the American and British public

Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard) and Nick Mohammed (Nathan) star in Apple TV + series "Ted Lasso."

In this regard, the humor of the series is designed to appeal to American and international audiences (especially British), which is unique. The writers and cast of the series have struck a balance between presenting American and British comedic sensibilities with great effect.

Jeremy Swift, who plays Higgins, the general manager of the football team AFC Richmond, who serves as the center of the series, sees the benefits in the comedic duality that the cast of characters – and the football team is filled with it. – can use.

“It’s great to see the unusual stuff that we both love and the British and Americans both love, but yeah, there will be endless fuel for comedy. I mean, you saw in the season two trailer where, while I’m hanging out of a window, Jason says, “Have you ever heard” The Dukes of Hazzard? “Or maybe you call him the ‘Earls of Risk’ here,” and that was an improvised line from somewhere else in the scene, wasn’t in the script at all initially. So I think all of them the writers will always play on these kinds of differences. “

Brendan Hunt, who plays Coach Beard, a man of few words, co-created and screenwriter on ‘Lasso’, said balance has been in the show’s DNA since the very first ‘Lasso’ commercial. An American coach in London ”appeared on NBC as part of his coverage of Premier League football eight years ago.

Nick Mohammed as Nathan, Sarah Niles as Sharon, Jeremy Swift as Higgins, Jason Sudeikis as Ted and Brendan Hunt Coach Beard in

“But further than that we have a couple of British writers on the team who are hilarious, Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy and Phoebe Welsh who plays Jane, Beard’s romantic interest,” he said. “But to be fair to me personally, I love British comedy, and I’ve loved it since I was a kid. The PBS station in Chicago on Sunday night, they ended the night with Dr. Who, but before that they had Monty Python, which I didn’t quite get, I just thought it was funny, but it was mostly over my head.

Find inspiration in sports films like “Bull Durham”, “Major League”

The different cultural references are there, from Pythons to “The Dukes of Hazzard” to David Bowie, but Hunt also loves sports movies and there is no doubt that they brought genetic material to “Ted Lasso”.

“Personally I think ‘Bill Durham’ is a class above all the others but ‘Major League’ and ‘Tin Cup’, he said on a recent video call. films based on Kevin Costner, but also “White men can’t jump”. Even “North Dallas Forty,” they are already in our DNA as sports and movie fans. So much of this vocabulary is just stuff we already know. “

In the first episodes of the second season made available for viewing, the series turns to another cinematic sports classic – “Slap Shot,” which starred Paul Newman, originally from Cleveland.

“Ooh, I love ‘Slap Shot’ and actually just so you know it,” Hunt said. “I’m going to introduce the venue to a few concepts for Season Three that are even more specific to ‘Slap Shot’, so stay tuned.”

This kind of knowledge has certainly helped “Lasso” find a dedicated audience and the award recognition that not only comes from producing an always hilarious show, but also well done.

Just this week, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences nominated the show for 20 Emmy Awards, several of which will likely be added to the Peabody Award and American Film Institute recognition among a host of other trophies. .

Surprised by the success of the show

The fact that Apple is releasing it around the world is a testament to its popularity, but this success surprised Hunt and Swift.

“I think it’s a lot bigger than I would have expected. And I think it just keeps piling up because it’s a streaming show and not just on CBS or ITV or BBC or something like that. And it’s just a streaming show, ”said Swift, who also played a role in the“ Downton Abby ”cultural phenomenon. “So on a relatively new platform, so it’s still under construction. It’s still under construction. But certainly initially it was a knockout and people explained why. Because it got them through an incredibly difficult time that for a worldwide show, it’s an effect. “

“Lasso”, with its nervous, but generally amiable tone, may have been the right show at the right time, enjoying word of mouth and generally positive reviews (91% fresh on during the early stages of the broadcast. pandemic, says Hunt.

“The pandemic has affected the world and it is happening in a hundred different countries,” he said. “So I think it lifted people’s spirits at a time when people were re-evaluating what life is like, who their friends are and what their relationships are. And also for a lot of people who miss sports, a lot of people, football is life and they saw games every weekend so it helped that way I think.

George M. Thomas dabbles in film and television for the Beacon Journal. Contact him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ByGeorgeThomas

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