Every TV series can be boiled down to a core value. Friends was about connections. The Sopranos was about family. Seinfeld was about nothing. As for Ted Lasso? Underneath its veneer of comedy, there's hope.
Hope is something not many TV series choose to explore as a foundational element, perhaps because darkness is so much easier to do. However, that's why Ted Lasso has won so much acclaim.
The show has managed to harness this important emotion that so few have managed to do, and it has given its ever-growing audience a real feeling of warmth and acceptance—all thanks to the talent behind and in front of the camera. It's truly a collective effort.
From Jason Sudeikis's Ted to Brett Goldstein's Roy Kent, everybody has a part to play in the series. Here are the best characters in Ted Lasso and how they contribute to the show's success.
Her real name is Flo Collins, but "Sassy" is a perfect nickname. Though she doesn't appear too much in the show—coming in once or twice a season thus far—Sassy holds a delicate place in the series as Rebecca's best friend from childhood (and Ted's sort of love interest).
She always leaves the audience wanting more when she heads off again, and her growing relationship with Ted will hopefully see Ellie Taylor's role grow into part of the main cast in the future.
9. Leslie Higgins
Higgins is the man who agrees. He never complains and always does what's asked of him by his boss Rebecca. He has an outlook that, in many ways, is similar to Ted's: he refuses not to be positive most of the time and tries to make the best of any situation he's in.
When Leslie does eventually snap back at Rebecca for her plot to drag the club down and using Ted as the fall guy, it helps Rebecca see the error of her ways and she stops her vengeful campaign against the club.
Higgins is the barometer by which the show is measured. If he's upset, then clearly something is very wrong.
8. Dr. Sharon Fieldstone
She may have only come in during the second season of the show, but Dr. Fieldstone was one of the season's major players by the end.
As they both learned from one another, Sharon and Ted formed a close bond that initially started as a tepid one. Her assessment of the whole team was intriguing to see, but her work with Ted brought about the most heartbreaking moments in the season.
Her departure from Richmond in the aptly named "The Midnight Train To Royston" was one of the best moments so far as she and Ted shared a goodbye that only two people who fully understand one another can have.
7. Coach Beard
Coach Beard is Ted's loyal friend. He's Ted's right-hand man, the font of all football knowledge, and blessed with the seeming wisdom of Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi. He will tell Ted when Ted is wrong, and he will comfort Ted when he knows Ted is in pain.
The episode "Beard After Hours" shows us more about the mysterious life of Beard away from Richmond, as his odyssey through London gives us insight into his mind and the relationship problems he has.
Coach Beard is more than Ted's second—he's the team's shaman and the audience's sea of tranquillity amongst the storms of the vast story.
6. Roy Kent
A clear parody of real-life Manchester United legend Roy Keane, Roy Kent has the same mannerisms one would attribute to the unfiltered and often scathing Keane. However, the series has made Kent a rounded character who has emotion and empathy.
During the first season, we see the aging Kent at the end of his career with Richmond. He's injury prone and angry that he no longer has the mobility he once did. But he returns in the second season and attempts to find purpose by joining Ted's coaching staff at Richmond.
His relationship with Keeley is the show's most delicate bond, as the audience sees them go through turbulent times. However, Roy's love for his niece and Keeley is one of his best characteristics.
5. Keeley Jones
Keeley is the bright spark of Ted Lasso. She's the outgoing and upbeat whirlwind who realizes she's more intelligent than she knows. Her journey from the beginning of the show to the end of season two is one of Ted Lasso's most distinct character arcs.
Keeley begins as a model who's dating Jamie Tartt, the flashy and self-obsessed best player. However, slowly, she starts to think more about her life and what she wants. Ending her toxic relationship with Jamie, she begins dating Roy and becomes the marketing manager for Richmond.
She becomes close friends with Rebecca, and together the pair share many fun antics, which only get better whenever Sassy is around. Keeley is the show's heart personified: a good person who only wants the best for those around her.
4. Jamie Tartt
At first, Jamie is an infuriating character. He's the best player on the team, but he's also chauvinistic, vain, and loaned to Richmond from Manchester City. He believes he's better than the team he plays for, and therefore rejects Ted's all-in-it-together management methods.
However, Jamie comes around after a long and bumpy ride to rejoin Richmond in the second season, making himself part of the team through hard work and effort.
When he stands up for Sam in boycotting the shirt sponsor, it's a moment that made those who initially disliked Jamie turn to be on his side, as Jamie finally redeemed himself and set a clean slate.
3. Nate Shelley
Ted Lasso could have aired with an alternate title, like The Rise and Corruption of Nate. Nate's story is among the show's most surprising tales of hope and self-hatred. As the kit-man, he becomes a valued member of Ted's coaching staff, even earning a promotion to coach.
However, he falls apart in the second season when he becomes wrapped up in his own ideas and his sense of worth and worthlessness. Nate becomes a bully to those who aren't above him, and eventually lashes out at Ted for making him feel worthless.
It's easy to see what has happened to Nate, which is why his fall is so tragic. He no longer sees the value in Ted's methods, and his turn against the team is similar to watching Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side.
2. Rebecca Welton
Rebecca's story is the backbone of Ted Lasso's first season. She's granted ownership of the club after a messy divorce from her ex-husband... and wants to kill it so he'd feel as bad as she does.
That's why she hires Ted, an American football coach who knows nothing about soccer, and watches as the team sinks. She even attempts to sabotage him at every turn. But when she sees the error of her ways, she eventually forms a close friendship with Ted.
She puts her life back together with Keeley and Sassy at her side, and her journey through the series continues. Hannah Waddingham's performance as Rebecca is spellbinding. She takes her from hated oppressor to lovable friend, and the series is made by that central role.
1. Ted Lasso
The best character is still its leading man, no matter the vast brilliance of the surrounding characters and their storylines. Ted Lasso is a well of eternal hope and optimism. He shines in the darkest of situations and stands tall when others can't see the light.
But Ted is more than just a one-dimensional happy camper. He struggles with his own demons throughout the series, which often goes unseen by his cohorts. He has severe trauma stemming from the passing of his father as a teenager as well as his divorce from his wife.
His anger can be shocking, and his rage is upsetting, since Ted is—at his core—the sweetest person ever.
Jason Sudeikis' character is one of modern TV's most beloved and well-written. His performance will be remembered long after others have faded into history, and we get the sense that Ted will be the character he'll always be known for going forward. That's a great thing.