Something Is Wrong With Ted Lasso Season 3

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This post contains spoilers for the “Ted Lasso” season 3 premiere.

“Ted Lasso” is finally back, and it’s… kind of sad? The season premiere of the typically winsome soccer sitcom premiered this week on Apple TV+, and the biggest surprise so far is that the season opener is more likely to make viewers cry than laugh.

The show has taken big, emotional swings before, revealed that Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) dad died by suicide when he was a teen and setting an episode at Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) father’s funeral. But “Ted Lasso” has always known how to balance its downbeat moments with its sense of wacky, wordplay-loving humor — until now. The latest season of “Ted Lasso” leans much further into drama territory than comedy, and the result is a premiere that feels as if it’s full of gaps that were meant to be filled with mostly missing jokes.

Ted Lasso Is Back And Sadder Than Ever

Exactly one moment in the third season premiere of “Ted Lasso” made me laugh, and it’s when kit man Will (Charlie Hiscock) tells Ted that Kenneth has been living at the Richmond stadium ever since his cult got shut down. “Kenneth was in a cult?!” Ted asks, alarmed. “No, no, he was the leader of one,” Will answers reassuringly. It’s the kind of absurd exchange that the show always does well, but the rest of the episode is filled with softball jokes with half-punchlines that don’t quite land. Some of the potentially funnier lines, like when Nathan (Nick Mohammed) accidentally quotes a song from “The King And I” or Ted says the “last one to the parking lot has to eat a little bug,” go by super quickly or fall oddly flat. Meanwhile, other jokes feel like the La Croix version of “Ted Lasso”: less comedy than the barely perceptible “essence” of comedy.

It doesn’t help that the time jump in the new season of “Ted Lasso” has left almost every character as the worst version of themselves. Nearly everyone seems to be at a low point, from Keeley (Juno Temple), who has to schedule in cry breaks in her new office after breaking up with Roy (Brett Goldstein), to Rebecca, who is suddenly once again full of petty insecurity that causes her to yell at Ted. Dark side Nathan, meanwhile, continues to be the type of villain who’s no fun to watch. He’s not fun-mean, he’s just mean-mean, telling players on the West Ham team to stand on “the dumb dumb line” and spitting under the table to get himself in a vicious state of mind during a press conference.

The Jokes Feel Few And Far Between

Ted himself isn’t doing much better. The season premiere opens on his forlorn-looking face as his son heads home after spending a few weeks in the UK with him. It ends with Ted’s realization that his ex-wife has a new boyfriend, one who’s able to be there for his son all the time. In between, he has moments of levity (“I didn’t mean to come here and tinkle on y’all’s toenails,” he says at one point, in the rare line that’s reminiscent of the first two seasons), but he mostly seems to be going through the motions. This is, of course, a planned and purposeful part of Ted’s arc, but it also weighs down the tone of the premiere. With four episodes available to press in advance, it’s safe to say that the oddly off-kilter joke-to-serious-moment ratio of “Ted Lasso” is a problem that continues beyond the first episode.

Of course, TV shows don’t owe any of us what we’re expecting. “Ted Lasso” season 2 was so good in part because it refused to adhere to its simple, feel-good premise, instead digging deeper into a character whose seemingly cartoonish chipper attitude actually masked some believable psychology. There’s a decent chance that the comedically muted third season of “Ted Lasso” is building to something, with writers boldly starting their characters from their lowest points with a grand design in mind. For now, though, “Ted Lasso” is a comedy in search of some levity, one that, for worse or for better, is more in its feelings than ever.

New episodes of “Ted Lasso” stream on Apple TV+ each Wednesday.

Read this next: The 13 Best Comedy Shows On Amazon Prime Right Now

The post Something is Wrong With Ted Lasso Season 3 appeared first on /Film.

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