‘Ted Lasso’ star Hannah Waddingham was surprised by Season 2 twist

The following piece contains major spoilers for the “Ted Lasso” episode “The Signal,” the sixth episode from Season 2.

“Ted Lasso” fans who may have thought the show was pushing Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) and Ted (Jason Sudeikis) toward a romantic relationship were thrown a curveball at the end of Friday’s episode of the Emmy-nominated Apple TV Plus comedy. The anonymous suitor Rebecca has been messaging on the Bantr dating app was not her head coach but instead her star defender, Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh).

The romantic twist, which pays off a brief spark of flirtation between the two from Season 1, caught not just viewers off guard, but Waddingham herself. As the Emmy frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy series told Vanity Fair, she had no idea the show would pair her off with Jimoh.

“I had no clue — and hilariously neither did he, and he walked into my [dressing] room. And went have you read it? And I said, [gulp] ‘Yes. I guess we’re going to get to know each other quite well!’ And he went bright red and walked out and was kneeling on the floor, laughing,” she told the outlet.

Despite the good times backstage, a potential relationship between the AFC Richmond owner and one of the team’s players is not without risk. That’s something Waddingham acknowledged in the Vanity Fair interview, saying she “struggled” with the ramifications of an employee-manager coupling. “I’ve had conversations with Jason about where this might be going. That struggle is hers—and yours—to find. And I love that,” she said.

Rebecca originally started “Ted Lasso” as the show’s ostensible villain, as she sought to undermine the team in the wake of her divorce. But like everyone else involved in the club, she found herself enamored with Ted throughout the first season and has become one of his biggest allies and supporters. 

“Women of my height or build aren’t often seen as somebody who has experienced loss or heartache … and Jason [Sudeikis] and the camp have allowed me to show that it doesn’t matter what you look like or what people perceive you to be, it’s all going on just as it is for everyone else,” she said to Gold Derby in an interview this year.

But a possible relationship with Sam — whom she has warmed to via the dating app, albeit from an anonymous perspective — will further Rebecca’s growth, Waddingham explained to Vanity Fair. But their courtship won’t be without struggle.

“I think we could see her for the first time ever, in the whole two seasons, truly comfortable with someone and truly relaxed and beaming, and then she catches herself,” she said. “So it’s that kind of conflict of interest there. And in a way there’s a sadness, I think, for her: but why did it have to be Sam? Why did it have to be one of your employees that you have this amazing rapport with? And I think that in episode 10, we will see that conflict come to the foreground.”

Waddingham is the top contender for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Season 1 of “Ted Lasso” and the overwhelming choice among Gold Derby users to win the category. Emmy voting is underway now and continues through August 30. 

“Ted Lasso” Season 1 received 20 nominations this year and is expected to win multiple Emmy Awards, including Best Comedy Series and Best Actor in a Comedy Series for Sudeikis.

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