I’ve never been a big fan of Jason Sudeikis. I watched him on SNL for years only because I’m a big fan of SNL, and there he was, first as a writer and then in and out of sketches I never thought were funny, with one exception; he was hilarious as Mitt Romney.

But this week, I was talked into watching the opening of season 2 of “Ted Lasso,” about a clueless football coach from Kansas. Kansas?

Really? Really. Season 1 won him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a TV Comedy Series.

That was a surprise and convince me, but I was informed that his maternal uncle is George Wendt, (Norm from “Cheers.”) I loved Norm and felt an obligation to give his nephew another chance.

Desperate for some relief from the flood of big, dark series lately. I gave “Ted Lasso” a second look.

As Ted, Sudeikis, toned down a bit, just a bit, from his SNL gigs, is a failed football coach from Kansas, and likes to greet everyone with a hearty “Howdy,” something I’ve never heard anyone from Kansas say.

Ted is surprisingly hired to fly to Britain and become the new coach of the dismal, struggling AFC Richmond football team. Of course, football in the UK is what we know as soccer.

But “Ted Lasso” isn’t about either. It’s actually not about sports, it’s a comedy about a clueless, truly happy good guy, who always spouts optimistic one liners and feel good memes.

Then after a phone call back to the states fills in some colors that flesh out a more complicated human being, we can understand. So I kept watching.

Sudeikis is a co-producer of this piece, and he and his team have put together a football (soccer) team full of razor sharp comic British actors, seemingly drawn from some UK SNL. You won’t know any of them. But then you didn’t know Tom Cruise before “Endless Love” in 1981, and look at him now.

His best friend co-coach Beard keeps our Ted from making too many mistakes. It’s a full-time job, and Brendan Hunt is very good at it.

The boys with the balls are fast, funny and easy to love. Think Keanu Reeves’ team of footballers in “The Replacements,” the best comedy, not really about football, that I’ve ever seen.

We find, soon enough, that Ted has been hired by the team’s new owner Rebecca, (Hannah Waddingham) for her own personal dark reasons.

Rebecca, a tall, bitter, strutting “cougar” is recently divorced from nasty hubby (Anthony Head) and as a result, won control of the team.

Now she has a plan, dark and devious, to get even with her husband Rupert, and has hired Ted Lasso to scorch her hubby’s earth.

The trouble with hiring a lovable buffoon is that “lovable” can upset the biggest apple cart. Stay tuned.

It looks like Ted Lasso is going to be around for a long time.

“Ted Lasso” streams on Apple TV+

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

filed under: