Before we get into it, let’s play a little game. Try to describe Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso without using the word “heartwarming.”
Ted Lasso is a comedy series about an American college football coach who takes over AFC Richmond (a soccer team, our fellow Americans). He and his associate, Coach Beard, are hired by Rebecca Welton, who sees this as her chance to enact petty revenge on her cheating ex-husband. She seeks out to destroy the soccer club’s reputation, as it’s the only thing her ex truly loves and she believes the unqualified Ted Lasso will be able to do that.
Okay, yes, that premise is decidedly not heartwarming. However, when Ted shows up, his positive attitude brings great changes to the people surrounding AFC Richmond, and therein lies the warm fuzzies one may get while watching the show.
In this list we will discuss 10 of the most heartwarming moments in season one of Ted Lasso. Oh, yeah, and if you haven’t seen the show, just beware of any spoilers.
10. “Be a goldfish, Sam”
In the second episode, Ted and Beard notice that Sam Obisanya is in a bit of a rut. His morale is low and it’s affecting his performance on the soccer pitch.
Sam gets frustrated with himself during practice when he falls after the arrogant Jamie Tartt shows off. Jamie taunts Sam relentlessly, then Sam is defended by the prickly but good-hearted Roy Kent.
When Sam is called over to talk with Ted, the poor boy immediately apologizes because of how shattered his self-esteem is getting. But Ted’s not looking for an apology. No, our positive hero just wants to instill some wisdom in Sam.
He tells Sam how the goldfish is the happiest animal because of its short memory span, and that Sam should be a goldfish in moments like this. That way, Sam won’t get hung up on the little mistakes and failures, but will instead focus on moving onward.
It’s a great piece of advice and an early showing of just how great of a coach Ted Lasso actually is. We at Viewsink are excited to see more of these little nuggets in the upcoming season three.
9. Sam’s Birthday Party
In the same episode as the previous entry, Ted and Beard conspire to raise Sam’s spirits even more. They organize a party for his upcoming 20th birthday, asking each team member to contribute in some way.
Sam, easily one of the friendliest, happiest, and most wholesome characters on the show, is elated to see the effort everyone (except, say, Jamie Tartt) put in, including buying some of his favorite snacks from his mother country, Nigeria.
The party comes before a devastating loss in the first game of Ted’s career, which helps not only raise Sam’s spirits, but also the team’s before they go out on the pitch.
Well, most of them, anyway.
It’s a sweet moment early on in the show, one that shows just how much Ted cares about his athletes and their well-being.
8. Trent Crimm’s Write-Up
In the next episode, Rebecca continues her scheme for vengeance. She asks Trent Crimm, a highly critical reporter for The Independent, to do a write-up on Ted. Trent was introduced in the first episode, asking Ted in his first press conference if his hiring was a joke, so Rebecca is under the impression that he will absolutely lacerate Ted.
Well, her grand plan backfires.
Trent shadows Ted for a day, watching the coach and Roy Kent visit a local school, then going out to an Indian restaurant where Ted orders some incredibly spicy food, which Trent warns him against. Afraid to appear rude, Ted tries to make a dent in both his plates as well as Trent’s, much to the distress of his digestive system.
When Rebecca’s lackey Higgins, whom she’s dragging along with her plot, reads Crimm’s write-up, it’s revealed that the reporter saw more than just a bumbling American who knows nothing about soccer. Trent writes honestly about Ted and Richmond’s dismal prospects. But he writes fondly as well, saying he “can’t help but root for him,” all because of Ted’s positive, upbeat, and friendly attitude.
And as an added bonus, in the clip we’ve included, the show displays how “The Ted Lasso Way” has started creeping up on Roy, who steps up as a captain and tells Jamie to stop picking on Nate, the team’s kit manager.
7. Rebecca and Keeley Become Friends
In episode four, we see Richmond putting on their annual charity gala, where the team auctions off dates with themselves. Rebecca is anxious, as this is the first time she has done this and knows that she’s not as charismatic as her philandering ex-husband, Rupert.
Though Rebecca is a strong woman, she feels insecure in her role, especially on the red carpet. She ushers on Jamie Tartt and his girlfriend, Keeley, a model who declares herself at one point as “sort of famous for being almost famous.” Rebecca subtly tells Keeley that she hates being on the red carpet and Keeley gives her advice on how to pose for a flattering picture.
Later on in the episode, Rebecca reveals to Keeley that Jamie brought a second plus one to the gala, a young woman he asked to bid for him so as to make him seem more desirable. Keeley breaks up with Jamie by the end of the episode, takes two bottles of champagne, and rides off with Rebecca on a rickshaw.
Despite the audience knowing that Rebecca pulled a scheme earlier in the show to have a paparazzo take damning pictures of Keeley and Ted earlier in the series, the two women’s friendship is heartwarming and refreshing to see onscreen. The two build each other up and make each other become better people than they were before.
We at Viewsink are beyond excited to see more of their beautiful relationship.
6. Ted’s Acknowledgment
At the same charity event, Rupert crashes and makes the whole event about himself, solely for the purpose of putting Rebecca down and one-upping her in a public space.
When Rebecca introduces Ted to her ex-husband, the coach witnesses the dismissive and disrespectful way Rupert speaks to her and takes note of this. Ted, true to himself, is still polite and amiable, finding little ways to stand up for Rebecca when the two men speak alone.
Rupert lets slip that the musical guest, Robbie Williams, who bowed out of performing at the last minute, is a friend of his and can text him to reconsider. Ted says he’ll go find Rebecca and ask her opinion on the matter. But when he sees Rebecca crying outside, they have a heart-to-heart about Rupert’s behavior. Ted tries to give her a chance to leave the gala, pointing out the same rickshaw mentioned in the prior entry, but Rebecca bravely decides to stick it out.
Ted later confronts Rupert and implies that he thinks Rupert is the one who told Robbie Williams not to show up and makes plain to the audience that he knows what a horrible person Rupert is.
Though Rebecca is still hell-bent on sabotaging Ted and the team, you can tell that she appreciates Ted acknowledging that Rupert is exactly the man she always says he is, something that it doesn’t appear a lot of people do. No matter what headlines Rupert’s cheating made and continues to make, he’s still beloved by the people.
But definitely not by Ted.
5. The Curse is Lifted
By episode six, Ted is going through some stuff. His wife has just asked for a divorce and Jamie Tartt’s attitude has been a nightmare. In fact, Jamie was benched in the previous episode for it, and so decides to pull a power play on Ted and not practice.
Well, after an uncharacteristic tongue-lashing, Ted pulls out a new player to sub in for Jamie at practice, Dani Rojas, who had been out with an injury up until then. Dani is just as talented as Jamie, but also much kinder and supportive of his teammates.
However, Dani hurts himself again and it’s revealed that AFC Richmond is haunted. Or, well, the teammates are superstitious and think their treatment room has a curse on it. As it turns out, the team was used as a trap, so to speak, for enlisting young men into World War I under the guise of soccer tryouts. Most of the men who went off to war from this didn’t make it back, and so the team believes they have cursed that room, as it was where the medical exams took place.
Seeing this as a chance for a team building exercise, Ted asks everyone to show up at midnight to sacrifice something that means a lot to them. Some of the men misinterpret the situation and bring items related to…previous sexual exploits.
But some bring actual meaningful items, like Roy, who sacrifices a blanket his grandfather gave him. Or Jamie, who shows up at the last minute and brings his first pair of soccer cleats, the ones his mother bought. He says his father abandoned him after he was born, only coming back when Jamie was successful at soccer and fueled his ego, but his mother cared more about him being a good person.
It’s a beautiful moment that shows the team coming together to break the curse. And it delivers much needed insight into Jamie’s character, and shows that Ted has finally gotten through to him.
…Only for Rebecca to send him back to the original team he’s on loan from. But we’re trying to focus on the heartwarming stuff, okay?
4. Rebecca Helps Ted Through a Panic Attack
In the next episode, a demoralized AFC Richmond travels to Liverpool, where they play against Everton, a team they haven’t beaten in 60 years. After a team-building movie night and Nate’s pre-game roast, Richmond is able to get it together and they win the game.
To celebrate, the team goes out to a karaoke bar, where we’re treated to Sam’s rendition of “Wonderwall” and Coach Beard’s “Bad Romance.” With her best friend Sassy’s help, Rebecca allows herself to be her pre-Rupert self and dedicates her performance of “Let it Go,” to her goddaughter, Nora.
And while the game and karaoke are very heartwarming and wholesome on their own, it’s what happens after that makes the entry on this list.
In the midst of all this ooey-gooey goodness going on, Ted is struggling with his divorce proceedings. His wife has been asking him to send over his paperwork and Ted has a hard time going through with it.
In the middle of Rebecca’s song, Ted has a panic attack and scurries away from the karaoke bar. She notices, and despite the New Rebecca’s evil plans to sabotage Ted, the Old Rebecca takes over and follows him outside. She soothes him, helping him calm down from his panic attack, showing the audience who she truly is as a person.
It’s a sweet moment no matter what, as panic attacks can be quite debilitating, but to also watch it with the dramatic irony of knowing what Rebecca has been trying to do all along, it’s nice to see that the ice queen has a heart.
3. Ted Forgives Rebecca
Two episodes later, after Rebecca’s evil paparazzi plan gets back to her, she is urged by Keeley to tell Ted what’s been going on and apologize. Rebecca is reluctant at first, thinking that it won’t help anything–but Keeley tells her it will change the way she thinks of her.
Her lackey, Higgins, whom none of Rebecca’s actions have sat well with, has also quit in the previous episode because he can’t stand by this anymore.
Backed into a wall of sorts, Rebecca tries to apologize to Ted, but struggles to get it out of her mouth. After sending Ted away so she can try again later, Rupert shows up in her office.
See, in the previous episode, Ted absolutely humiliated Rupert in a game of darts, saying if he wins then Rupert can’t be in the Richmond VIP box as long as she still owns the team.
Clearly embarrassed, Rupert shows up to dole out some more emotional abuse to Rebecca, telling her that his new fiancee is pregnant. Their conversation shows that Rebecca wanted kids, but Rupert told her he didn’t want any, then he digs the knife in deeper, twisting it by implying that he didn’t want to have children with her.
Rebecca is understandably very hurt by this, and realizes without a shadow of a doubt that her revenge plan has had no effect on him. With tears in her eyes, Rebecca travels down to Ted’s office and tells him everything.
We can see that Ted is hurt by this, but he forgives her immediately, understanding that divorce makes you do crazy things. The forgiveness is sweet, but what really brings it home is when Rebecca, after joking at the charity gala that she’s not much of a hugger, ignores Ted’s outstretched hand and throws her arms around him.
It’s the start of a genuine friendship between Ted and Rebecca, one with no ulterior, evil motives. And we at Viewsink are stoked to see more of their friendship in the upcoming season three.
2. The Lasso Special
In the season finale, Richmond prepares to play against Manchester City, where Jamie Tartt was sent back to in the middle of the season.
Worried about being relegated from the Premier League down to the Championship, Ted, Beard, and the newly minted Coach Nate, work together to try and strategize. Naturally, Ted is the only one of them who is optimistic.
With the team, they work together to come up with a list of trick plays, as distracting Manchester City is the best chance they have in the game. The players compile a list of their own plays and Ted adds the Lasso Special at the last second.
Out in the game, McAdoo, whom Roy has bequeathed the title of Captain to as Roy will not be in the starting line-up, calls out for the team to do the Lasso Special. The play involves some of the players acting like American footballers, which confuses Manchester City enough to give them a better chance at the game.
The team choosing to use the play tugs on the heartstrings because it shows that they respect Ted and appreciate him despite their cultural differences.
1. Ted’s Pep Talk
Though the previously mentioned Lasso Special worked, and though Roy Kent effectively ended his career by sacrificing his knee to stop Jamie Tartt from scoring a goal, the game ends with Manchester City winning and Richmond being relegated down to the Championship League.
It figures that once Jamie finally learns to be a team player and pass to someone, it’s to the detriment of Richmond…
Anyway, while commiserating in the locker room, Ted delivers the pep talk of all pep talks. He tells the team that they all played well and acknowledges their right to be sad and mourn the loss. But then he reminds them that they are not alone, they are together as a team, and that there’s nothing worse than being sad and alone.
Ted asks Sam what the happiest animal is, and Sam recalls the “be a goldfish” scene. Ted instills this wisdom to the whole team, telling them that after they’re done being sad about the game, it’s time to be goldfish and move “onward, forward.”
Though it’s under slightly tragic circumstances, this pep talk is sweet and kind, just like Ted, and shows just what The Ted Lasso Way is all about. We at Viewsink can’t wait to see more of it when season three comes out.
Well, there you have it.
10 of the most heartwarming Ted Lasso moments from season one. Let us know what your favorite moments are and kindly tell us what we might have missed.
And don’t forget when times are hard, be a goldfish.