Ted Lasso Season 3 Changes Things Up – But Not for the Better

The success of Ted Lasso is itself a surprise. The concept of Ted Lasso, an American football coach accidentally hired to coach in the Premier League, first appeared in promotions for the PL and PL team Tottenham Hotspurs. The character became an overnight hit with fans, eventually resulting in the development of the eponymous TV show years later.  

While season one told the story of Richmond AFC, the team managed by Lasso, valiantly fighting against relegation but ultimately losing that battle, and season two told the story of the team’s path back to the Premier League, season three has the team as contenders for the PL title. This new theme presents a clear deviation from the show’s well-established formula. The show’s attempt to change things up has not been well-received for the fans, and for good reason. 

In the first two seasons of the show, Richmond was depicted as the underdogs; first fighting against relegation, then battling their way back to the topflight. This was the reason fans loved the show–they got to see the struggles of the team, the main characters were relatable, and, because of that, viewers could feel as though they were part of the process. Season three on the other hand made Richmond feel like, in a way, the “bad guys”. Key plot points such as the arrival and departure of Zava turned Richmond into legitimate, albeit struggling, title contenders, removing the sense of a feel-good underdog team established in the previous seasons. 

Another complaint is the show’s lack of focus on soccer. Sure, the show’s depiction of the game was never accurate, but its unique way of displaying the sport helped immensely in developing emotion for both the characters and the audience. From just over 30 minutes per episode in season one, to almost 40 minutes in season two, to over 50 in season three, episodes are getting longer, yet soccer scenes are getting shorter to the point of virtual non-existence.  

The show’s subplots were initially a highlight of this show about soccer, but they have come to dominate the show to the point where the soccer is the subplot. In its attempt to widen its range of audience, the show has changed in a way that has pushed away the demographic of viewers that made Ted Lasso popular in the first place. 

One can hardly blame viewers from seeing the direction the show is going as a betrayal. The producers have stepped away from Ted Lasso’s humble origins–as a Tottenham commercial, as a soccer coach, as the underdog. The show’s fans can’t help but wonder what’s next: Ted Lasso coaching baseball?