What makes Ted Lasso stand out in the sea of television is its refusal to treat its characters like jokes.
Ted Lasso characters say and do funny things, but they aren't jokes.
Not even Jamie Tartt.
If he was treated like a joke, Jamie Tartt: reality TV star would've lasted for a few more episodes as a comic relief C-plot. A potentially funny but ultimately empty story.
Instead, the show ran a trick play on us.
Jamie joining Lust Conquers All initially seemed like character regression but surprisingly furthered his character development.
He didn't become a reality star to stroke his ego or to shove his growing fame down Ted and his former teammates' throats. Instead, he did it to remove the toxic influence of his father.
Pretty enlightening behavior for Jamie. Even better, when he hit rock bottom, he had the self-awareness to seek out Keeley's help and let himself be guided back to Ted.
It's understandable why the AFC Richmond football players are unhappy about Jamie's return.
Having it snow on the pitch when Jamie showed up for training was a nice touch because it gave the scene "A cold day in hell" vibe and amplified the frosty relationship between him and the rest of the team.
But it's good to have him back.
Uh, easy Phillip. I'm not just a loser, I'm the loser.Jamie
During the early episodes of Ted Lasso Season 1, Jamie was insufferable.
Why was so much screentime given to this (insert Roy Kent description of Jamie of your choice) who wasn't much of an antagonist (he was a Draco Malfoy-level villain at best) or particularly funny?
Major props to the writers for believing in what Ted preaches about not giving up on people and their skill (and effort) at transforming Jamie into a sympathetic and funny character.
The credit also belongs to Phil Dunster because his performance sells you on the character. Jamie Tartt is worth the screentime.
His journey also makes for an interesting contrast to what has been simmering in the background with Nate.
Nate: We don't want calm athletes. We want killer athletes.
Beard: Even after they shower?
Like Jamie, Nate has come a long way from who he was initially, but his transformation seems to be releasing a darker side to the character.
The comedy of Nate pitching a hissy fit over Will, the new kit man, using lavender-scented laundry products doesn't hide the fact he has become a bully.
No doubt there are reasons for Nate's behavior, insecurity, and jealousy among them given Nate's reaction to having a share his office with Higgins. But it's tough to see Nate spiraling downward.
For one thing, he was our guy to root for, an underdog among underdogs, but now it seems like our trust in Nate was misplaced. It's sad to witness the bullied become the bully.
The not-so-great changes in Nate again raise the question of how much good is doing Ted doing with Richmond. It's a question Ted will keep confronting, given Dr. Sharon Fieldstone's continued presence as the team's psychologist.
Does everyone agree that being winless for eight straight draws "ain't broke?"Sharon
Sharon remains an enigma, and keeping her a mystery puts the audience in the same boat as Ted. We're so busy watching her dissect everyone else, there's no time to get a read on her.
She represents one of the major changes between the seasons.
On Ted Lasso Season 1, the things keeping the audience in suspense were plot-related. Will Ted find out Rebecca is using him as a patsy? Will Richmond avoid relegation?
Now the hooks are more character-focused. Questions like "What makes Sharon tick and why did she seem to have a change of heart towards Ted at the end of the episode?" provide more food for thought than "Will Richmond win a game?"
It's a good change because it means Ted Lasso is playing to its strengths.
Speaking of strengths, Roy Kent! He's here! He's there! He's a f**king sports pundit!
Okay, it doesn't have the same flow as the original. But the important thing to acknowledge is Roy Kent (and Brett Goldstein) is an artist who paints with swear words.
Roy's debut as a sports pundit was as brilliant as Keeley knew it would be.
Roy Kent, you f**king legend!Baz
His earlier scene with his niece's football team was almost as funny. Like Ron Swanson before him, Roy Kent plus small children equals comedy gold.
Keeping Phoebe as a recurring presence also shows Ted Lasso is expanding the elements it introduced during the first season and making them better.
Another Ted Lasso Season 1 element making its welcome return -- the Diamond Dogs. But where are the jackets, Ted? You promised matching jackets.
Still, it's great seeing Ted, Beard, Higgins, and Nate have become even more committed to the idea of the Diamond Dogs and expanded it to being a support system for just about anything and not only romantic woes.
Rebecca didn't get much focus on "Lavender." She worked on her dating profile, which moves her storyline of finding someone who makes her feel like she's been struck by lightning forward.
The role-reversal of her being the one to cheer up Ted continues. Rebecca has become an audience surrogate in a way. Her reaction to Sharon returning Ted's biscuits probably mirrored the reactions of many members of the audience.
And it's good Ted has Rebecca in his corner because there's a lot of game left to be played on Ted Lasso Season 2.
Will Nate's new nickname be Nate the Not-so-great?
How scandalized were you when Dr. Fieldstone returned Ted's biscuits?
Hit the comments below.
Becca Newton wis a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in February of 2023