Ted Lasso season 3 is so bad it’s making me question if I ever liked the show

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, in Ted Lasso
(Image credit: Apple)

I recently labeled Ted Lasso season 3 my “biggest TV show disappointment in years” but after consuming a couple more episodes of the Apple TV Plus series I would like to revise that stance. Because this latest, and potentially final, season of the soccer-themed comedy series isn’t merely disappointing, it’s a downright disaster. 

In fact, I’m finding each new episode such a chore to finish that I’m starting to wonder what I ever saw in this show in the first place. I’m finding Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) more nauseating with each passing scene, and I’m now actively rooting for whoever AFC Richmond is playing against each week. I’m starting to hope they get relegated back down to the Championship! For the Americans out there: the Championship is the name of the tier under the Premier League.

All the problems I discussed in my first article remain very much present. The writing continues to be aimless and the stretched-out hour-long episodes painfully drag on, but new issues are appearing at an alarming rate as I progress in Ted Lasso season 3.

In a matter of weeks, Ted Lasso has gone from a show I would enthusiastically recommend to all, to something that I can’t wait to stop watching. And that really sucks. I don’t particularly want to watch, think or even talk about Ted Lasso anymore, but as Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) told Ted in season 2, you can’t go bottling up your feelings, so here are the latest reasons this once-great TV show is drawing my ire. 

The Nate storyline ain’t great 

(L to R) Nick Mohammed as Nate Shelley and Edyta Budnik as Jude, leaning on each other in Ted Lasso season 3 episode 8

(Image credit: Apple)

The tragic downfall of assistant coach Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed) was one of my favorite parts of Ted Lasso season 2. His fall to the “dark side” was expertly crafted and the scene where he angrily confronts Ted remains one of the show’s best-ever moments. I was thrilled to see where this plot would go now that Nate is the manager of West Ham. 

I expected over the course of season 3, that Nate would start resentful but then slowly realize he’d made a mistake, have it out with Coach Lasso, and likely be redeemed towards the end. But Ted Lasso season 3 has instead decided to skip straight to that final step without doing any of the legwork. 

My dislike for Nate's actions last season still burns brightly, and I’m finding it very difficult to care about his love life

As a viewer, we’re being asked to root for Nate in his quest to find love, but we’ve not been given any reason to actually like him again. His redemption arc has been entirely skipped. 

Nate and Ted have had only a single face-to-face scene together so far this season, and the hatchet is most definitely not buried. My dislike for Nate's actions last season still burns brightly, and I’m finding it very difficult to care about his love life or whether or not he gains the approval of West Ham owner Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head) he so desperately desires. 

The fact that Nate’s love interest, Jade (Edyta Budnik), is a complete nothing burger of a character with zero personality (a flaw of the writing, not Budnik’s performance) is not helping matters either.

Fan-favorite characters have nothing to do  

Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso season 3

(Image credit: Apple)

Ted Lasso season 3 has constantly struggled to juggle its large cast. This problem hasn't been helped by the introduction of unnecessary new characters like Zava (Maximilian Osinski). But the two of the biggest victims of this issue have been fan-favorites Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham). 

Roy Kent has been sidelined pretty much all season. After his off-screen breakup with Keeley Jones (Juno Temple), he’s just sort of been hanging around. His gruff man shtick is getting pretty old at this point, and his bromance with Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) was already covered in season 2 anyway. Frankly, Roy feels like a spare part that the writers just don’t know what to do with right now. 

Even Keeley, who’s getting more screentime than ever this season, is spinning her wheels far too regularly even when she's supposed to be at the center of a storyline that isn't really about her

The same is very much true of Rebecca, the owner of AFC Richmond. Her storylines have been all over the place this season covering everything from a visit to a psychic, her unresolved feelings for right back Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh), concerns about her fertility and a fun evening with a hunky Dutch bloke who lives on a riverboat. 

The consistency of the writing has dropped in quality across the board, but Rebecca has been one of the biggest victims, which is a great shame as Waddingham is fantastic in the role. 

Even Keeley, who’s getting more screen time than ever this season, is spinning her wheels far too regularly even when she's supposed to be at the center of a storyline that isn't really about her. And, as I’ve said before, the fact it’s the two leading female characters who are suffering the most due to a clear drop in writing quality this season is especially disappointing. 

But wait, it gets worse!

(L to R) Cristo Fernández as Dani Rojas, Kola Bokinni as Isaac McAdoo, Toheeb Jimoh as Sam Obisanya and Billy Harris as Colin Hughes in Ted Lasso season 3

(Image credit: Apple)

One of the big questions that Ted Lasso season 3 has me asking is, “Who is this show even aimed at?” It’s a potty-mouth series with plenty of adult gags, but also includes segments such as the “Hey Jude” scene in episode 8 which felt ripped straight out of a family movie primarily targeting young children. In fact, Coach Beard’s (Brendan Hunt) speech had my toes curling. 

Now Ted Lasso was always a pretty saccharine show, but in season 3 its crossed way over the thin line between heartfelt and sappy. And the whiplash that comes from overly mushy sentimentality being followed by a scene where the cast tie strings to their genitals and run around a soccer field, is hard to get over.   

Each character took their turn to stand up and deliver their unnatural-sounding dialogue practically directly at the camera. It all felt like watching an afterschool special — and a bad one at that.

There’s a tonal mishmash at the heart of Ted Lasso season 3, and this isn’t helped the writer's desire to tackle every single social issue under the sun in a very simplistic way. I have no problem with the show addressing current and important issues like homosexuality and immigration, but these big topics are often handled with all the subtly of a children’s preschool show. Frankly, Ted Lasso season 3 has all the nuance of an episode of Sesame Street.  

For example, looking back at episode 8, the disastrous “We’ll Never Have Paris”, there is a scene where the AFC Richmond squad discusses Keeley’s leaked sex tape. They agree that they should delete any explicit images they’ve ever been sent by a current or former partner, and that fundamentally Keeley shouldn’t be ashamed of her actions, it’s the person who leaked the video online that is at fault. 

Let me be clear: this is an excellent message to send to viewers, and I firmly agree with the show’s conclusion that Keeley is a victim of a violation of her privacy. However, the way the scene plays out is downright patronizing. Each character took their turn to stand up and deliver their unnatural-sounding dialogue practically directly at the camera. It all felt like watching an afterschool special — and a bad one at that. 

Outlook: Ted Lasso is a chore to watch now 

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso in Ted Lasso season 3, standing in front of a white-board.

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

The most damning indictment of my newfound dislike for Ted Lasso is that I’m finding it a real chore to sit down and watch episodes in a single sitting. I’ve consumed the last few episodes in bitesize sessions because watching the show for a whole hour at once is seriously unappealing to me. 

I’m sure that a lot of love and care has gone into making Ted Lasso season 3, and following up two extremely well-regarded seasons would be tough task for any creative team, but I’m genuinely shocked at how far Ted Lasso has fallen and how quickly as well. This show was once the reason to get Apple TV Plus, but it’s been eclipsed by the likes of Shrinking and Trying in my eyes. 

With just three episodes left, Ted Lasso's season 3 is a total mess with disjointed writing, an uneven tone, and far too many inconsequential plot threads. Perhaps it will all come together as we approach the season, and seemingly the series, finale, but my expectations are not high at this point. Sorry Coach Lasso, I don’t believe you’ve still got it.   

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • OldTom
    admin said:
    Ted Lasso was once so compelling it single-handled sold me on Apple TV Plus — but its third season has been a total disaster.

    Ted Lasso season 3 is so bad it’s making me question if I ever liked the show : Read more
    OK, I get it. You hate Season 3, you hate the show, you hate everything about it.

    Every week for the last three weeks it's on and on about how terrible it is.

    Enough, please. Maybe find something else to watch and perhaps enlighten us?
  • Rumblebelly
    Shut up. . The show is great. As great as it ever was. It’s wrapping up. They’re ending it. You’ll miss it.
  • asluss
    I think it's time you watch another show. The whining about the third season is tiring. I do love the show as much as ever. I love all of the Easter eggs, the callbacks, the references. They built an entire episode from a poem--granted season 2, but it bought a lot of grace from me. The healing power of art. The entire theme of counter toxic masculinity present from the first episode to the final. The character arcs are crowded, and I might like them all fleshed out better, but I still love them. I love that characters are honest and self aware. When Jamie owned his hypocrisy, my whole family screamed in delight. I love the longer episodes. I love the threads of magical realism that wind their way through the story from cursed locker rooms, to psychic predictions, to whatever is happening with Nate's hair and eyes. I love the struggles and the triumphs, and my daughter is now looking at real honest to goodness soccer scores in the US and she hates sports. Yes, it is sweet and kind and people act as they ought to in supporting their friends and family. Other than Rupert, the conflicts are centered around person v self. The rest is just a glorious game. I posted not to change your mind, You like what you like. But you didn't think one review was enough, and I felt someone ought to provide another opinion. I am happy there are a few of us here.
  • Jbond008
    You constantly rip up the show... because it's not going the way you wanted it to? Or you don't understand / can't follow. One of my favourite episodes of this season you went off about because you couldn't follow the storylines. Stop trying to ruin a good thing for everyone else with what is obviously a YOU problem. You sound like a child throwing a tantrum because you got the wrong coloured cup.
  • wbrown77777
    You are spot on about this once very good show. My wife and I liked the first 2 seasons and recommended it to others. The 3rd season is a dumpster fire. I couldn't agree more that the characters have become dull and uninteresting. Oh well. That's the way many new shows fall. They start out pretty good and then start lecturing the audience instead of striving to be entertaining. It's the wonderful world of hollyweird.
  • Shaka96
    Potty mouth show? Really? Yet you keep watching it to trash every episode! I think your nothing but a religibigot.
  • Throw.Ints.All.Day
    I can’t help but comment on this… Being a fan of this show I do agree some parts are dry and lacking when in comparison to the previous two.

    BUT I would rather watch season 3 everyday 24 hrs a day then try and read another full article on this website. It’s so commercialized which causes poor loading and terrible scrolling response. I understand people have to make money but this is insane. I enjoy the sites choose of topics and sales info. So much so I signed up just to write this. I know the powers that be couldn’t care less just as long as checks keep coming in. Talented writers are wasting their talent due to sites poor performance. I hate that for y’all. So many interesting topics I couldn’t help but click on but not worth the hassle to try and finish. I know I know… this will go in one ear and out the other with the individuals who have the power to fix it. Band together and start your own and I’ll be there in an instant. Money and greed!! Money and greed!!! Good Luck to all who work here and do it for the words. Seems like an oxymoron relationship. Gonna watch season one and two again but not season 3(Ted Lasso -For Love and Very Little Soccer or anything else). LoL
  • scottysize
    Are you nuts??? Ted Lasso is the best show on TV and this year is yet another reason why. Are you insane? Where's the dislike button for this guy who doesn't know anything?