On a surface level, Ted Lasso is a show about soccer (ahem, football). Giving it only a slightly deeper read, it's about outsiders and stereotypes and both the power and the limit of unceasing optimism. But it's also a story about fathers and sons.
The first season shows Ted sharing memories of his dad, and striving to connect with his own child from across the pond; in contrast, Jamie Tartt's father's abuse offers insight into his abrasive personality. And in season two, the relationship between AFC Richmond player Sam Obisanya and his father comes into focus.
"Fathers and sons, that's a huge theme that the show touches on, how a young man's relationship with their dad affects them," says Toheeb Jimoh, who plays Obisanya in the series.
"We see that with Jamie Tartt and what he's like, and we see the opposite with Sam. Sam's had a really loving relationship with his father who's been there to nurture him and to be a safe space for him. We see that represented in the way that Sam is."
But in this season's third episode, AFC Richmond's team sponsor Dubai Air, drives a rift between Sam and his father. The fictionalized luxury airline is owned by an oil corporation recklessly polluting Nigeria, where Sam is from, and his father can't believe he'd pose for an ad for the company. Once Sam realizes the full extent of the damage Dubai Air's parent company is doing, he feels he must take a stand and make a statement, regardless of teh consequences. "When something happens that threatens Sam's dad and his way of life, he realizes he can stand up and speak out and use his platform to try and affect change," Jimoh says.
And when he decides to publicly black out the sponsor's name on his kit, he finds that he's not along in this fight.
Jimoh sees this episode as the beginning of a shift in Jamie and Sam's relationship, as Jamie too stands in protest against Dubai Air. "Jamie choosing to stand with Sam, I think is the start of them starting to mend those bridges. Jamie was horrible to Sam in the first season. He really bullied him. Everybody else is kind of taking him in and understanding that he's changing, but Sam still hasn't been, he still has his reservations," Jimoh explains. "And so in that moment, for Jamie to stand with him in a such a pivotal moment for Sam, I think is the start of maybe their friendship started to blossom. I think it's huge."
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