The second season of Ted Lasso is dropping on July 23 and I, for one, can’t wait. For starters, it just so happens to be my birthday so it will be like receiving Jason Sudeikis — in all of his kind and unassuming glory — as a gift, but also because I love watching the friendship between Keeley (Juno Temple) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham).
The two women are polar opposites: Rebecca as the perfectly put together and sometimes impenetrable owner of AFC Richmond, and Keeley as the warm-hearted influencer who is way smarter than most people would give her credit for.
What’s wonderful about Ted Lasso, which was just nominated for 20 Emmy Awards, is how refreshing it is to see these women love and support each other, instead of being catty and trying to tear each other down. In a traditional TV trope, Rebecca would treat Keeley with derision or even disdain, but in this series, the two become firm friends and their exchanges are a highlight of the episodes.
“Women are such extraordinary creatures, and we don’t have to be competitive,” Temple said in an interview with Variety. “I think the show showing that is one of the things I’m proudest of being a part of, actually.”
Keeley and Rebecca’s friendship is part of the writer’s commitment to doing things differently on Ted Lasso with co-creator Bill Lawrence saying, “It would’ve been very easy for the women to be ciphers, to exist as the villain or the ingénue, or to only be there to see how they reflect on the men around them.”
The writers also capitalised on their own experiences in order to bring the dynamic between the two women to life. As one of the screenwriters, Ashley Nicole Black explained, “A lot of times TV starts women off in a competitive place, and then they figure out how to be friends. That’s just not my experience in the workplace!
“Especially working in Hollywood, there aren’t a lot of other women around. So you find the only other one and say, ‘Well, we have to be friends!’ and you can get close pretty quickly, actually.”
The women’s relationship was also created onscreen with the help of their off-camera bond, as Lawrence explained. “In the same way we often say that if the chemistry is there in a romantic comedy, it’s going to work, the same is true for friendship chemistry.”
“It was palpable and recognisable on camera between Juno and Hannah from the start. Part of that friendship was created by the performers themselves.”
Therein lies another reason why Rebecca and Keeley’s friendship is such a joy to watch: it (hopefully) represents the friendships we have in our own lives. Yes, sometimes it can be fun to watch a comedic catfight between two television characters, but it is ostensibly more satisfying to watch two women support each other while exchanging extremely witty dialogue.
Think about it, would Sex and the City be half as successful if the fab four were constantly bickering over boys? Or would Younger have been as enjoyable to watch if Kelsey and Liza did not have each other’s backs while championing each other’s success?
As Waddingham said, “Isn’t that crazy? To think that it’s unusual for women to not be pitted against each other, or for people to fall in love with each other as friends as much as lovers?”
It most certainly is crazy, but if shows like Ted Lasso — which subvert our most outdated stereotypes — have anything to do with it, the trope where women lift each other up will become the tale as old as time.
The second season of Ted Lasso debuts on Apple TV+ on July 23, 2021.