Brett Goldstein interview: ‘Ted Lasso’ writer and actor
For the creative team and cast of “Ted Lasso,” last year was an unequivocal success. The show’s breakout first season dominated the Emmy Awards, winning Best Comedy Series and awards for stars Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein. The show’s writers were similarly awarded at the Writers Guild Awards, where Sudeikis and Goldstein won two honors last year as part of the nominated staff. This is to say nothing of the Apple TV+ show’s online buzz, which reached deafening levels last summer during Season 2. But despite once again receiving broad critical acclaim, there was a larger discourse surrounding “Ted Lasso” – particularly a conversation about whether the show was perhaps too nice.
For Goldstein, who is again nominated with the “Ted Lasso” staff at the 2022 Writers Guild Awards, the critiques levied before the show reached its downbeat Season 2 conclusion were ironic – especially because he knew where “Ted Lasso” was headed. Goldstein wrote episode six of Season 2, “The Signal,” which includes not just the seeds of assistant coach Nate’s eventual turn to villainy, but also Ted’s first real panic attack.
“The first four episodes people were like, ‘You know, nothing’s happening. And it’s just soft, and everyone is being nice to each other.’ I was like, ‘From episode six out, it’s a f–king massacre, mate. You’re in for a horrible shock if you think it’s just going to be everyone being sweet for another six episodes,’” Goldstein tells Gold Derby during our “Meet the Experts” panel.
Asked if it’s sometimes strange to see an aggressive conversation about a storyline before it has fully played out, the writer and actor, who plays the foul-mouthed Roy Kent on “Ted Lasso,” agrees.
“It’s just weird reading people’s reactions because you’re right, they haven’t finished the book yet. And sometimes you want to scream, ‘Just trust us! You trusted us last year, it’s the same people. We’re still here,’” Goldstein says of the discourse. “But it’s fascinating. And it’s also quite exciting, I suppose, to see what people think is going to happen. I’ve not really been in this position before, to be part of a show [this popular]. It’s amazing how people talk about it, it’s exciting. And the ownership that so many people have of it, and that they’re angry about stuff – it’s just fascinating.”
As Goldstein explains later in the full “Meet the Experts” panel, one character who has received most of the vitriol from fans is Nate (played by Nick Mohammed), who ended the season as coach of AFC Richmond’s rival after outing Ted’s panic attacks to the media.
“Season 2 we wrote without knowing what the audience thought,” Goldstein says. “There’s one thing that’s really shocked us, which is how much people hate Nate by the end of season two. Like, I’m sympathetic to Nate. I know why he’s like this. We’ve done his psychology, I feel sorry for him. People want to f–king kill him.”
“That’s been really interesting,” he adds. “That has been like the one thing that has blown up in a way that we didn’t expect or necessarily want. Like, we certainly don’t want everyone to hate Nate. … I think we’re aware in the writing of Season 3 of how we position him because, you know, we don’t want people to hate him even more. Like, they want him dead. So we’ve got a base level.”
“Ted Lasso” is streaming now on Apple TV+.