Ted Lasso series premiere recap: Jason Sudeikis returns as the hilarious character

Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso Season 1 Episode 1 -- Courtesy of Apple TV+
Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso Season 1 Episode 1 -- Courtesy of Apple TV+ /

Ted Lasso Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Breaking down the pilot.

Not many people knew what to anticipate when it was announced that Jason Sudeikis would be reprising his role as Ted Lasso in a full-length television series for Apple TV Plus, but Ted Lasso Season 1 has premiered and it’s a surprisingly hilarious and touching show. It excels as escapism, particularly amid these trying times.

Ted Lasso Season 1, Episode 1 introduces the character, who you might recognize from the old NBC promotional videos for the English Premier League. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s okay too since the series finds its own groove quickly and introduces their version of the character.

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AFC Richmond club owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is undergoing a huge shake-up at the club after getting out of a scandalous divorce and marriage to her billionaire ex-husband who was constantly cheating on her over the years. Her plan to get revenge is to hire Ted, who has never been to England and has no knowledge of football (soccer here, football in the U.K.).

She intends to destroy the club, which has already been lagging in recent years by having an American football team coach takeover and tank the team. No one has faith in him, not the players, not the press, and certainly not Rebecca. But Ted is the type of quintessential Southern gentleman who doesn’t let other people carry his bags, gets to know the little guy, and maintains a constant state of optimism.

It’s very easy to root for Ted even when everyone else thinks he’s a “w*nker” and has zero faith that he can turn the team around and suddenly make them champions.

Is it a story we’ve seen before? Sure. But Ted Lasso offers something special and touching, and it is anchored by Sudeikis, who is as phenomenal as ever in the role.

Ted Lasso Season 1
Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso Season 1 Episode 1 — Courtesy of Apple TV+ /

Also introduced in the first episode is Ted’s righthand man, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) who accompanies him to England. The two appear very in-tune with one another. On the flipside is Rebecca’s accomplice, Higgins (Jeremy Swift), who she offers a promotion to help make the whole sabotage-Ted plan more palatable.

Juno Temple also stars as Keeley Jones, who is in a relationship with one of the team players, Jamie Tart (Phil Dunster), a lauded pretty boy who gets waxed regularly so he can take his shirt off every time he scores a goal.

Among the team players, Jamie is the main introduction in episode one, along with Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), who acts as the team’s de facto leader.

Finally, we also learn that Ted has a family of his own back home, including a son and a wife named Michelle. By episode’s end, as he gets settled into his new flat, he calls home and we learn he and his wife appear to be estranged. I detected some chemistry between Ted and Keeley, so I’m curious if the show might explore a potential relationship between the two later in the season.

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The first three episodes of Ted Lasso Season 1 are now streaming on Apple TV Plus. New episodes debut on Fridays.