When sports teams don't win, management searches for reasons why, which is how sports psychologists become employed. And so it is in Season 2 of “Ted Lasso” that one winds up in the A.F.C. Richmond clubhouse.
Premiering Friday on Apple TV+, the 12-episode sophomore round finds the Greyhounds in the midst of a long streak of draws, so the team calls in Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (new cast member Sarah Niles, “I May Destroy You”) to get inside the minds of the players.
But as she familiarizes herself with all involved, she determines that perhaps the most fascinating case might be Coach Lasso himself (series creator and star Jason Sudeikis), whose relentlessly positive attitude intrigues her.
“I think he's interesting because usually people can only hold up that kind of energy for a short time and he holds out for quite a while,” explains Niles, a British actress. “And as you realize that the team really likes him, he's managed to have their support and they're on his side, so to speak. So I think she's curious about it. She's curious about this man and what's going on beyond this happy energy.”
But her interest is a less-than-welcome development for Coach Lasso, who is more accustomed to playing the role of motivator and sympathetic ear than he is to being the one on the couch. So in Season 2, viewers will get to see him squirm a little.
“We wanted to give Ted another kind of, if not an antagonist then at least a foil,” explains series executive producer and writer Brendan Hunt, who also plays Coach Beard. “And you know, Ted likes to get in his players' heads and find out what's in there and what makes them tick and why they are the way they are and then see what he can do to help them out in that way.
“And here comes now Dr. Sharon Fieldstone to do basically the same thing,” he continues, “but from an educated and academic level as opposed to going on gut. So they are inherently what would seem to be competing on the same patch of land, and how they work that out or if they work that out we shall soon see.”
In other Season 2 developments, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) appears to have moved on from her marriage's spectacular failure, Keeley (Juno Temple) is flourishing in her role as the team's promotional director and Coach Beard, well, he'll still be a man of few words, which Hunt has found to be somewhat problematic during shooting.
“Because I have so few lines, I get to watch scenes a lot ...,” he explains. “The problem is that I get lost in watching and I forget that at the end of this speech Ted is saying, I have one quick word I'm supposed to say, so I've ruined some takes. But that goes with the territory and that's why we shoot multiple times.”