"After witnessing the bitter invectives hurled at her for recognizing the warnings her brain and body were providing, I really wish that these episodes of Ted Lasso were more broadly available," says Melanie McFarland. "I don't say this with any Pollyanna-ish expectations that ignorant trolls taking shots at the Olympic champion might suddenly find their hearts growing three times normal size. That will never happen. My reason is simpler: I would like as many people are possible see Ted, Beard and sports psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) acknowledge that the yips are real, serious and require care to overcome. For the many Higgins and Nathans out there who have never heard of such phenomena as the yips or the twisties and perhaps don't understand how serious they can be, the way the show processes (Dani Rojas') tragic accident is illuminative. So is how the writers do it, which says a lot about our national inclination to hang failure around the necks of athletes for refusing to break their bodies to thrill us...Nearly all American entertainment behaves as an extension of the tales we tell ourselves about our exceptionalism. Nowhere is this more assuredly perpetuated than in sports entertainment, whether in live events or documentaries." "The yips are not a superstition," Dr. Sharon tells Ted and Coach Beard in response to their attempt to write off Dani's state as some kind of hoodoo. "They are a mental condition, one that can be fixed with discipline, not denial." McFarland adds: "Dani recovers, but not alone and with ample care. Dr. Sharon speaks to him in his native language and gets him back on his feet. Other players witness the success she has with Dani and line up for counseling sessions by choice, not by force. Watch closely, America. We could stand for more of this to be put into practice in our games, and in life."
Sara Niles "definitely" sees Ted Lasso doing a better job with female characters than many other shows: "When I watched the first season, I really liked Hannah’s character (Hannah Waddingham’s Rebecca)," says Niles. "They weren’t afraid to put her in this position where she had power. She looks powerful, she’s so tall. She’s gorgeous, she’s sexy, and she’s not afraid to take Ted down a peg or two. And then you’ve got this lovely Keeley. We’ve got a whole history of what we call 'wags,' the kind of women who go to clubs where footballers go because they’re looking for a football partner. But she’s really, really smart, really sharp. These female characters are so well rounded, and they’ve got a lot of fight in them." Niles adds that she also knew that her character, sports psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, would also have depth. “The first conversation I really had about the character was with Jason (Sudeikis), who gave me an idea about the character, where she might go in the journey — or where Ted is maybe going in the journey,” Niles said. “There was so much information. I began to realize, Ah, this is a journey not just for him. It’s a journey for her, too.”
How Roy Kent quietly became TV's dream man: "Nowhere does the show buck expectations with richer results than in its portrayal of Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), former Richmond captain and football legend turned romantic hero and general role model for men everywhere," says Lacy Baugher Milas. "On paper, Roy should be little more than a sports movie stereotype: An aging player whose glory days are well behind him, he’s painfully stoic and generally rude to most people around him. And on a less nuanced show, Roy likely would have remained a caricature, a sad man clinging to a past no one cares about anymore, a rough and awkward foil for Ted’s relentless kindness campaign, and a warning to the younger players that follow after him. Don’t be like Roy, that other, worse show would have said. He’s a has-been. A joke. But on Ted Lasso, Roy’s journey is very specifically not about what’s behind him, but what’s in front of him. He’s a role model rather than a cautionary tale-every Richmond player should hope that they grow up to be half the man that Roy is, and his arc is probably the series’ most satisfying."
Brett Goldstein "plotted" all of Roy Kent's smiles: "Well look, there’s a thing very specifically in season one that Roy smiles, I think, four times in season one—and none of them were accidental," he says. "They’re very chosen spots for...I plotted the smiles, and so there’s that. I suppose it’s difficult because a lot of it is just instinct, but he’s like an iceberg, and he keeps melting, and things are being chipped off. Sometimes it’s in the face and a softening of the scowl, but also he can turn it back on, he can say 'f*ck you' at any moment. I don’t think he’s ever going to lose that, but for the first time in many, many, many years, he’s letting the light in, and that’s so much to do with Keeley as much as it is to do with Ted. Yeah, and it’s also what I think is true in life is he’s different with different people. He's never going to be soft-soft with Jamie. I don’t think he’s ever really going to smile with Jamie in the room."
Brendan Hunt has a backstory on Coach Beard, but it's all in his head: "It’s all just brain canon, you know," he says. "Until the writers room sets it down on a sheet of paper and then it gets in front of a camera, it’s all vaporware. But I think what you’re seeing in him that makes you go, 'Oh, this guy is just into football'—that’s the central Illinois in him. But that’s also a reminder of one of the lessons of the show, which is don’t read a book by its cover."