Ted Lasso returns on July 23 and the premiere was held last night in Los Angeles. In true Keely fashion, Juno Temple showed up in a magenta wig. Also in true Ted fashion, Jason Sudeikis wore a shirt with “Jadon & Marcus & Bukayo” on it, in support of England footballers Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, and Bukayo Saka, all of whom have faced racist abuse since England’s devastating loss to Italy at Euro 2020. Also also in true Keely-and-Rebecca fashion, Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham were hugging and laughing on the blue carpet, like the real-life friends they have become.
Speaking of the ladies of Lasso, they are getting their moment in the spotlight. Fresh off their Emmy nominations, Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham are featured in Variety. The subject is the show, of course, but also the real-life friendship that blossomed between Temple and Waddingham, echoing the on-screen friendship that develops between Keely and Rebecca. Movies and TV shows love to market their casts as besties, but often that isn’t the case behind the scenes—friendly co-workers is usually the best case scenario—but in this case, I buy that Temple and Waddingham actually did click and they do genuinely like one another. At one point in a video clip, Waddingham mentions that her daughter calls Temple “Princess Juno”, which means they’re actually spending enough time together off-set for Temple to hang around Waddingham’s daughter. I love this for them.
I am stoked to finally see Juno Temple in a project that is hitting in the mainstream like Ted Lasso. She is so extraordinarily watchable, and I’ve been waiting ages for everyone to get on the Temple train. Hannah Waddingham is just as compelling, though, and she’s so heartbreaking as Rebecca. It is weirdly heartwarming that these two women have actually become friends and they get to share this experience. It’s like a little bit of Keely and Rebecca in the real world, except without the emotional baggage of Rebecca’s toxic marriage looming over everything. There are so many reasons to love Ted Lasso, but can we admit that Keely is one of the top three? I showed my parents Ted Lasso recently and was a little worried the rude language, much of which comes from Keely, would put them off, but they loved it, Keely is that irresistible. My mom, especially, loved Keely and Rebecca and their mutual support society.
Keely and Rebecca not being positioned as competitors but becoming each other’s champion is one of the best dynamics in the show. There are only two women in the main cast of Ted Lasso, so far, yet it never feels like they’re “outnumbered” because of the huge influence they have on the other characters and one another, and their relationship is treated as importantly as any of the central dynamics in the show (they’re a great foil for the Ted-Beard friendship). Ashley Nicole Black, veteran of The Black Lady Sketch Show, joined the writing staff for season two and points out that the instantaneous friendship that springs up between Keely and Rebecca is actually how things usually go when women find themselves together in a predominately male environment: “…you find the only other [woman] and say, ‘Well, we have to be friends!’ and you can get close pretty quickly, actually.”
Wadddingham says the writers’ room is full of “staunch male feminists”—so, feminists—but there are also some women present. In fact, the writers’ room on season one was 40% women. Waddingham is right and the attitude of the show starts at the top, and there is clear evidence that Jason Sudeikis has more than a little Ted in him, but it’s also important to note that this show is actively trying to write interesting, imperfect women, and collaborating with women in the writing process is part of that. For instance, the episode “For The Children”, which is a critical turning point for both Rebecca and Keely, and Rebecca-and-Keely, is credited to writer and comedian Jamie Lee. “All Apologies”, the episode in which Rebecca owns up to her underhanded behavior, is credited to Phoebe Walsh, who is also the story editor on the show.
I want to shout out the women behind Ted Lasso, because the writing nominations for the Emmys all went to Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Bill Lawrence, and Joe Kelly. And I get it, they created the character and the show, and they’re doing a lot of lifting on screen and behind the scenes. But they don’t work in a vacuum. The spirit of Ted Lasso is that we’re better together, and Ted Lasso is better for having women collaborating on set and in the writers’ room, and the addition of Ashely Nicole Black for season two is exciting. Now, let us bask in the delight of Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham, who clearly get a huge kick out of each other.