As the final season of Ted Lasso approaches the finish line, audiences can find comfort in the show’s signature heartwarming quality. Each character goes through unique, specific difficulties, ranging from self-esteem issues to coming to terms with their sexuality. While the show certainly doesn’t shy away from the excruciating results of trauma, the characters all have their own support systems and ways of coping that show the audience that while life is rarely easy, there’s always something to live for.
Beautifully optimistic and easygoing Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) finds himself caught in a battle with a politician that escalates to a shameful crime. Colin Hughes struggles with his sexuality, terrified at any moment that his loved ones will discover his secret and disown him. Coach Ted hides multiple severe traumas and undiagnosed panic disorders behind a sunny disposition. When these struggles rear their heads, the Ted Lasso writers consistently face them head on, allowing the characters to experience the difficulty but come out the other side having learned a valuable lesson about life and about themselves.
When characters struggle on Ted Lasso, audiences can take comfort in the fact that while the problem might not be resolved by the end of the episode, there will always be something safe for the characters to return to, no matter what. From quaint Kansas coaching suggestions to poignant monologues full of lessons and meaning, here are some of the most heartwarming quotes from the series, ranked.
10 “If he thinks he’s mad now, wait til we win him over.” “He’ll. Be. Furious.”
In the premiere of Ted Lasso, the beyond inexperienced Ted and his close colleague Coach Beard start their new positions as coaches of the AFC Richmond football (Americans call it soccer) team. They’re optimistic about their chances at success despite the fact that they’ve made their mark coaching American football (the British call it American football), but no one else shares that optimism.
Perhaps the most skeptical is veteran player Roy Kent (played by writer Brett Goldstein), perpetually furious and ready to headbutt someone. When Ted commends Roy’s illustrious career, Roy retorts that he never thought he’d be coached by “Ronald f*cking McDonald.” As he leaves, Ted and Beard are undaunted. It seems they’re no strangers to being underestimated, and they know they’re more than capable of overcoming these seemingly enormous obstacles.
As the series continues, Ted and Beard prove themselves over and over in situations that would have most people cowering. It’s this confidence, this self-assuredness, that provides the show and all its characters the heartwarming quality that keeps viewers coming back.
9 “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”
Since Ted Lasso‘s premiere, the show has become widely known for its nuggets of genuine wisdom and inspiration, becoming increasingly difficult in the face of global events and politics. Within the first five minutes of the series, Ted and Beard discuss the challenges ahead on the plane to England. When Beard acquiesces that it’s “nuts” for them to take this on, Ted responds with this bizarrely poignant comparison. It’s a sweet introduction to his mannerisms, preparing audiences to accept and grow to love that one of his key traits is his knack for having something sweet, positive, and fairly weird to say in any given situation.
8 “I believe in hope. I believe in belief.”
The glass-half-empty AFC Richmond’s fans have a saying: it’s the hope that kills you. When Richmond is faced with relegation (demotion from a higher league to a lower league), everyone ,from the sportscasters to the owner of the local pub, recites this mantra. This, of course, sticks in the ever-optimistic Ted’s craw. In his pep talk before the match that decides Richmond’s fate, he addresses this slogan to the team: “I’ve been hearing this phrase y’all got over here that I ain’t too crazy about. ‘It’s the hope that kills you.’ I disagree, you know? I think it’s the lack of hope that comes and gets you. See, I believe in hope. I believe in belief.”
He goes on to say that, where he’s from, there’s a common saying, a question, really: “Do you believe in miracles?” Ted Lasso is, at its core, about a man who continues to find inspiration and hope behind every nook and cranny, even in the darkest of times. It’s through speeches like these that he finds a way to pass that inspiration and hope on to almost everyone he meets.
7 “If that’s a joke, I love it. If not, can’t wait to unpack that with you later.”
Rebecca Welton (played by the stunning Hannah Waddingham), new owner of AFC Richmond, has hired Ted to coach her team. Unbeknownst to him, she has done so not because she believes in Ted so fiercely, but because she wants to watch AFC Richmond burn to the proverbial ground as revenge on her ex-husband.
When the two meet face to face for the first time, Ted addresses her as Ms. Welton. She turns on what is clearly her signature charming magnetism, insisting he call her Rebecca: “Ms. Welton is my father.” Ted takes this play on words in stride, commending her comedy while simultaneously supporting her however he can from the word go. While this is ultimately simply banter between two charm-bombs, it’s rare to see a comedic exchange about gender and power dynamics play out so pleasantly.
6 “You deserve someone who makes you feel like you’ve been struck by f*cking lightning. Don’t you dare settle for fine.”
Notorious grump Roy Kent is not known for sugar-coating his opinion. When Rebecca introduces a new man, John, she’s seeing to Roy and his girlfriend Keeley, he’s less than impressed. Keeley gives the classic friend response, listing some mundane things about John that she likes. Roy rolls his eyes and says, “Tell the truth. He’s fine. Nothing wrong with that, most people are fine. But it’s not about him. It’s about why the f*ck you think he deserves you,” then tells her she deserves more than fine. For a character who’s struggled with tapping into and expressing his emotions, it’s beautiful to watch Roy tell a friend she’s worth so much in a moving performance by Goldstein.
The energetic Dani Rojas (played by the delightful Cristo Fernández) is known for his catchphrase, “Football is life!” He sings as he dances around the pitch, providing a sunny outlook for the team when things seem dark. When Dani accidentally kicks a ball into the beloved Richmond mascot Earl in a fatal freak accident, he quite literally changes his tune to “Football is death.”
Dani’s sunny disposition turns overwhelmingly dark, and the team decides to bring in a therapist for him. After a session with Dr. Sharon (played by Sarah Niles of Riches and I May Destroy You), he’s feeling much better — perhaps not back dancing around the pitch, but certainly much less miserable than before. When Ted asks him what helped break him out of his depression, he shares his discovery that football is multifaceted, and there is as much beauty as there is darkness.
4 “Never stop, no matter how many failures. When you know you’re doing what you’re meant to do, you have to try.”
After a less than successful match in Amsterdam, Ted gives the team (and himself) a much-needed night off to explore the city and blow off some steam. At the suggestion of Coach Beard, he drinks a little bit of hallucinogenic tea and heads off to the Van Gogh museum. As he stares at the different yellows, a deep voice begins to speak, quoting Van Gogh himself.
As the camera pulls away from Ted, it reveals a museum docent, who details some of Van Gogh’s history. He describes Van Gogh’s determination to create art, even in the face of his demons: “They never stopped him from searching for beauty. Because when you find beauty, you find inspiration. If, that is, you stay as determined as Vincent.” In a moment when Ted is desperate for inspiration to help his team, it seems that this man was sent to him to give him exactly the words he needs.
3 “All I want is for when we win a match, to be able to kiss my fella the same way the guys get to kiss their girls.”
The same night in Amsterdam, Colin (Billy Harris) decides to take a risk and sneak out to a gay nightclub. Reporter-turned-resident-author Trent Crimm (James Lance) spots him on his way out and decides to follow, having seen him kissing another man outside Sam’s restaurant a few weeks prior. When Colin sees Trent, he attempts to cover his tracks and leave, but Trent stops him, telling him he’s known about Colin for weeks and asking him to consider why he would have kept his secret.
The two men share their queer experiences in a safe space with one another, drinking beers and telling stories of their past. When Trent asks Colin how he’s kept his sexuality secret as a famous athlete, Colin responds that it’s as if he’s living two lives: his work life, and his queer life. He tells Trent that Dr. Sharon helped him realize that he has “an ache for both my lives to be my only life.” As he goes on to describe his simple desire to be free and open in his public life, it’s as if he’s speaking directly to queer viewers. It’s a refreshing monologue delivered beautifully, and comes at a time when many people can relate.
2 “Ain’t nobody in this room alone. Let’s be sad now. Let’s be sad together. And then we can be a gosh-darn goldfish. Onward. Forward.”
When the Richmond team ends up relegated, it’s a tough day for everyone. The ever-positive Ted struggles to find inspirational words for his downtrodden players, but he keeps it as real as he can: “I want you to be grateful that you’re going through this sad moment with all these other folks. Because I promise you, there is something worse out there than being sad, and that is being alone and being sad. Ain’t nobody in this room alone.” He reminds the team that goldfish are the happiest animals because they have the shortest memories, and encourages them to take inspiration from that.
1 “If you really want to piss off the people who did this, forgive them. Don’t fight back. Fight forward.”
Sam Obisanya is a key member of the Richmond team, providing a crucial levelheadedness to the locker room and a consistency to the pitch that the rest of the team depends on. This levelheadedness is tested by the fictional Home Secretary Brinda Barot, who is speculated to be based on several real-life British politicians, as she refuses to allow refugees into the UK. This hits especially close to home, as Sam’s father is on his way to visit him from Nigeria.
Sam uses his clout as a professional athlete to express his disappointment, getting only rude dismissals in response. He continues to call her out publicly until his new restaurant is brutally vandalized, and the words she tweeted at him, “Shut up and dribble,” are spray-painted on the wall. Audiences see a new side of Sam as he processes this, raw, enraged, desperate for any solace.
Toheeb Jimoh performs this beautifully, and his monologue is interrupted by his father (played by Nonso Anozie of Sweet Tooth and Game of Thrones)’s entrance. He simply says, “Samuel,” and that’s all it takes for Sam to break down. They embrace, and the two have a heart-to-heart where Ola provides Sam with some much-needed words of wisdom: forgive the people that did this to you. Nonso Anozie pulls off an incredible performance, allowing Sam the space to grieve his loss yet continue to fight another day.
This story originally appeared on Movieweb