Seeing is Believing
‘Ted Lasso’ haters can choke on this video of Jamie Tartt actor Phil Dunster drilling an absolutely insane free kick during filming
As ol’ Bob Frost once wrote, nothing gold can stay. Give something five minutes in the light, and the world will immediately drown it in darkness. Enter ‘Ted Lasso’ season two. Season one of the Apple TV+ show about a Kansas college football coach who heads across the pond to charm a bunch of grumpy Brits with folksy witticisms (and coach a little bit of soccer along the way) was widely acclaimed for its purity and simplicity. It was just the kind of comfort food we craved amidst a global pandemic, attempted coup, and, of course, the ever-encroaching heat death of the universe, and viewers lapped it up by the spoonful.
Despite remaining essentially the same show that it was in season one, however, season two has experienced an inevitable (and inevitably exhausting) backlash. Some of that has to do with legitimate critical concerns—like the show slowly drifting from its English “football” roots—and some has to do with haters who have been practically convulsing to shout “I told you so!” since the pilot. But so deep and dark has the Lasso criticism become, that many have come to doubt the very foundations of its reality. There’s even a reddit theory that Roy Kent—allegedly “played” by actor/comedian Brett Goldstein—is in fact a CGI rendering designed to test new Apple tech. The ruse will be revealed on stage at the Emmys, because obviously Hollywood is on it.
Others merely doubt the veracity of the show’s soccer scenes, which play out via a series of close crops and shaky cam footage. There’s no way these washed-up thespians and struggling comedians could have any actual footy skills … right? Well, if this video of Jamie Tartt actor Phil Dunster legitimately drilling (spoiler alert!) that free kick from season 2, episode 6 is to be believed, wrong actually. Very, very wrong.
That video comes courtesy of writer and co-creator Brendan Hunt, and it’s pretty mindblowing. That’s over 40 yards out—a distance Martin Tyler would laugh at you for trying on ‘FIFA’—and he sails it in. Granted it’s a bit down the middle and there’s not a professional keeper between the sticks, but let’s see you haters try to dip one in under the crossbar from 40+. We’ll give you a decade and a stipend. Come back when you’ve made one.
So does this heal all of season 2’s ills? No. Does it redeem all the cheap jokes about British slang and pop cultural references that will feel dated in 12-14 months? It does not. But we have to give credit where credit is due:
It’s a hell of a free kick.