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A New Season Of 'Ted Lasso' Kicks Off Friday. Here's Why That Means So Much To Kansas City

The Kansas City barbecue shirt that Jason Sudeikis wears in the pilot of Ted Lasso was created by Brendan Curran, a longtime friend of Sudeikis' who lives in Lenexa. The shirt is available at his store, Three KC.
Ted Lasso
Apple TV+
In the pilot of Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis manages to shout out four of the top barbecue joints in Kansas City by wearing this shirt. It was created by Brendan Curran, a longtime friend of Sudeikis' who lives in Lenexa.

Season 2 of 'Ted Lasso' premieres on Apple TV+ this Friday and you could say Kansas City has been waiting for this moment for a very long time.

Since the success of the critically acclaimed 2020 series "Ted Lasso," Americans have universally agreed on two things.

First, the sports comedy about an American football coach who is recruited to coach a professional soccer team in England is the feel-good show many of us needed to get through 2020. Ted's wholesome disposition and inspirational locker room pep talks were a bright light in a dark year.

Secondly, actor Jason Sudeikis bears some serious resemblances to the title character he plays. Both grew up in the Kansas City area and are enthusiastic city ambassadors. And seeing Sudeikis in such an endearing role means a lot to Kansas City, where fondness for the Overland Park native runs deep.

Season 2 of "Ted Lasso" premiers on Apple TV+ this Friday and you could say Kansas City couldn't be more thrilled to have yet another season about the corny yet lovable Kansas football coach who waxes poetic about Arthur Bryant's barbecue sauce and says things like "that fella looked like a kitty cat when he gets spooked by a cucumber."

"I think a big part about being funny in a successful way is being a good listener," Sudeikis told KCUR's Up To Date last year.

And a good listener, Sudeikis is. Some of Ted's charming sayings are inspired by Sudeikis' high school basketball coach at Shawnee Mission West. His unbounding positivity is based in part on Sudeikis' dad. And his midwestern drawl is meant to bring to mind the kind of accent you'd hear in Kansas.

As for Ted's tenderheartedness?

"I try and surround myself with people that have that benevolence in their DNA," he says.

In this part of the Midwest, Ted Lasso either reminds you of someone you know — or wish you did.

Contrary to what people might think, Sudeikis doesn't like thinking of the show as an antidote for the times we're living in. It was conceived back in 2015 and Sudeikis almost takes offense to the idea that the show is more relevant now than it would have been six years ago.

"Hope is not something that is new. Empathy is not something that will ever go out of style," he says. "Belief in others is something that we could all use at any point in our history."

Just over a week ago, Ted Lasso scored a record-setting number of 20 Emmy nominations. But last year, Sudeikis would have traded the success of the show if it meant his kids could hang out with their friends at school. Or he'd be able to go on date nights with his partner. Or at the very least, high-five his friends.

"Ted Lasso is not just a show. It is not just a man," he says. "It's a vibe."

It's also a show for Kansas Citians by a Kansas Citian — full of some references that only Kansas Citians can get.

The second season of 'Ted Lasso' premieres on Apple TV+ this Friday, July 23, with one episode dropping each week for 12 weeks.

Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer for KCUR Studios and host of the podcast A People’s History of Kansas City, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org.
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