Don’t cry because Ted Lasso went off the rails; smile because it happened

Making a successful TV show is no easy feat. If it were, CBS wouldn’t rely on the FBI Cinematic Universe, and HBO wouldn’t have lost millions on those failed Game of Thrones spin-offs.

But even more challenging than creating a great TV show is maintaining its quality throughout its entire run. This week, Apple TV+’s Emmy-winning comedy Ted Lasso aired its season 3 finale — which is likely the series finale, though the streaming service remains coy about confirming or denying this. Much has been said about the quality of this season, and even as a fan of the show from the start, I share some of those concerns.

The third season of Jason Sudeikis’ beloved football series suffered from bloated episodes, disjointed plots that kept characters isolated, and storylines that led nowhere. Nate (Nick Mohammed) took a turn towards evil, joining West Ham United after leaving AFC Richmond, only to return repentant later. Keely (Juno Temple) started and lost her own PR firm. Trent Crimm (James Lance) helped Colin (Billy Hughes) come out as gay. These storylines felt drawn out and lacked the sharpness of previous seasons.

Sudeikis took over as showrunner this season, and while his desire to showcase the ensemble cast is commendable, the storytelling suffered from lack of editing. Episodes stretched beyond an hour, relying heavily on recycled jokes and plot devices. Despite this, Ted Lasso’s success cannot be understated. It introduced viewers to a talented cast and gave Apple TV+ its first hit series, paving the way for other original shows.

The season (or series?) finale, “So Long, Farewell,” had its moments of joy, including a homage to The Sound of Music and a heartwarming scene between Colin and his boyfriend. The story wrapped up neatly, with Ted returning to America and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) taking over as AFC Richmond’s manager.

While there are potential spin-offs, like Keeley’s plan for an AFC Richmond women’s team, let’s remember Ted’s own words: “With the exception of the wit and wisdom of Calvin and Hobbes, not much lasts forever.” And as Coach Lasso would say, there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

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