Ted And Rebecca Exist In Their Own Little ‘Ted Lasso’ Rom-Com
I give you... the receipts.
Listen, Ted and Rebecca have always been Ted Lasso’s endgame, and I have the receipts to prove it.
– Spoiler alert: this piece is packed to the brim with Ted Lasso spoilers. –
Co-created by Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso is soon to return after a hiatus of more than two years. By way of a reminder, the show follows a divorced American NFL coach moving to the UK to coach an ailing A-league soccer team; exploring themes of positive masculinity, mateship, mental health, and the power dynamics of professional sport while it’s at it.
But apart from being a compelling comedy, I am here to remind you in spirit of a lunatic standing in front of their conspiracy theory pinboard that Ted Lasso is also a love story.
The Rom-Com Set Up
In the first episode of Ted Lasso when Ted settles into his role as coach at AFC Richmond, he has no idea that Rebecca only hired him to tank the team’s reputation after she won the club in the divorce from her cheating ex-husband. Ever the optimist, Ted has no reason to suspect anything of the sort.
Little does Rebecca know that Ted has made it his mission to throw himself into coaching to distract from the pain of his own divorce. So, he takes each and every challenge Rebecca throws at him, from cold shoulders to botched press set-ups, in his stride and to Rebecca’s dismay turns them into something that helps the team improve.
Like in How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, 27 Dresses, and other sabotage-centric romantic comedies, Ted and Rebecca each work unknowingly to sabotage the other’s goal. Of course, this push and pull also requires them to get to know each other very well. When Rebecca confesses her original malicious intentions at the end of Season 1, Ted forgives her immediately. Having gotten to know her, having experienced divorce himself and having met Rebecca’s deplorable ex – he gets it. Speaking of which…
They’re Mirror Images Of Each Other
At the funeral for Rebecca’s father, Rebecca confesses to her mother that she had witnessed her father’s infidelity. Quite tellingly, this is intercut with Ted’s recount of finding his father’s body after he died by suicide.
As it turns out their parallel experiences of divorce, post-divorce dating, ridicule in the public eye, and love for the team isn’t all they have in common – they also share deep- seated daddy issues.
The reason this confession sequence drives me crazy is for how it ultimately concludes. Arriving late to the funeral due to a panic attack, Ted walks into the church right at the beginning of Rebecca’s eulogy. Before he takes his seat, we are treated to the very specific wedding evoking visual of Ted walking up a church aisle toward Rebecca, who’s very relieved to see him.
I mean, it’s almost too obvious, right? Still on the fence? Let’s talk about biscuits, then.
Biscuits With The Boss
As much as Ted’s moustache – Ted’s home baked biscuits are one of the show’s motifs. There’s no shortage of recipes for them online either and Apple+ released the official recipe when Season 2 premiered.
Within the show, the biscuits are a regular ritual that Ted and Rebecca share from the off. “Biscuits with the boss”, as Ted calls it, sees him bring Rebecca fresh baked biscuits every Monday morning.
In the beginning, Rebecca sees this as a sort of psych-out tactic on Ted’s part and demands her club manager sniff out where Ted’s buying them from. Of course, it’s eventually revealed that Ted actually bakes the shortbread from scratch.
In Episode 2, after receiving a care package from his son filled with his favourite hot sauce, Ted asks Rebecca if she has a particular food that transports her to a feeling of home and feeling “warm and fuzzy”. In a very, shall we say, interesting editing choice, the camera cuts to a shot of Ted’s biscuits that Rebecca is currently eating.
Not to be too Charlie Day in front of his conspiracy board, here, but it’s a little bit cute to imply that the food that makes Rebecca feel warm and fuzzy are the very biscuits Ted home-makes for her, especially, after only knowing him for about two weeks.
It’s Been Foreshadowed For A Long, Long Time
Putting aside that Jason Sudeikis himself has said Ted and Rebecca are soulmates, let’s discuss all the moments where Ted and Rebecca getting together has been foreshadowed and teased within the show.
There is, of course, the unforgettable darts sequence, in which Ted gallantly saves Rebecca from being further humiliated by Rupert by beating him in a game of darts. Had Rupert won, Rebecca would have had to allow Rupert access to the owners box for Richmond’s games. When she asks Ted what he’s doing playing Rupert, Ted literally admits he’s “white knighting” her.
This white knighting is pretty consistent behaviour Ted, with one of his main appeals as a character being his desire to help those around him be their best selves. But in consistently saving Rebecca from Rupert’s passive aggressive attempts at humiliation, even comforting her when she has a breakdown after Rupert crashes her gala, he consistently shows Rebecca a level of care and respect she’s been deprived of before now.
In Season 2, Rebecca returns the favour; saving Ted from Christmas alone, checking in on him privately when his panic attacks are still a secret, and defending him from the British press. At almost every moment when these characters are alone and at their most vulnerable, they’re there for each other.
If it pleases the court, I would also like to present the sequence in which the audience is led to believe through some sneaky misdirection that Rebecca has matched on Bantr, the pictureless dating app, with Ted. Rebecca finally sends a message to her match, only for the scene to cut to Ted reading a message on his phone and smiling. It could be an accident, sure. A coincidence, maybe. But is it?
When Rebecca is secretly dating Sam and can’t decide whether she should encourage him to leave the team, she confesses the relationship to Ted. The scene ends with Ted giving her advice to follow her instinct and a small comment, “same time, same place last year you dropped another truth bomb on me,” he says, referring to her earlier sabotage confession. She replies, “see you next year”. Wow, I wonder what possible confession she might share with him in the coming season, huh?
Ted Lasso is a show about a lot of things; it’s about sport, masculinity, rivalry, camaraderie — the list goes on. But if I had to pick one unifying theme, it would be new beginnings. Most characters in the show are at the beginning of a new phase of life; whether that be divorce, retirement, or a new job. For Ted and Rebecca that new beginning is the loss of a relationship, so wouldn’t it be nice if it ended with a new one?
Ted Lasso season 3 premieres on Apple+ on March 15.
Merryana Salem (they/them) is a proud Wonnarua and Lebanese–Australian writer, critic, teacher and podcaster on most social media as @akajustmerry.