'Ted Lasso': The Writers' Approach To Season 2, And Juno Temple On Keeley's Journey [Interviews]

If the Ted Lasso writers were lazy, the Keeley Jones character would have been a one-dimensional woman with no agency, no aspirations, and no personality outside of the stereotypical ditzy blonde. But there is much more to her than initially meets the eye, thanks to Juno Temple's Emmy-nominated performance and some excellent scripts that make her a fully-realized human being. At least one of those episodes was written by Brett Goldstein, who could never be called lazy: he not only serves on the show's writing staff, but he also earned an Emmy nomination for his performance as Roy Kent on the show.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to speak with Temple and Goldstein about Ted Lasso season 2, and we touched on Keeley's dramatic evolution, the writers' approach to the second season, and more.

Warning: spoilers ahead for Season 2, Episode 1, "Goodbye, Earl."

Juno, what has it been like for you to see Keeley change and evolve in such a dramatic way in such a short time? I feel like the growth we've seen from her so far is something it might take other TV characters years to achieve.

Juno Temple: It's a pleasure, to be honest with you. Because I feel like, in some ways, she's got a lot of childlike qualities, which means that she's ready for a challenge always. She doesn't overthink it. She just wants to dive in and do it. There's a fearlessness to that, but with the guidance of the people that encourage her. That she has a brain and a brilliance that maybe she didn't know about at first, but once she's been encouraged, she's going to go with it and run with it. I love that about her. You give her a little sprinkling or a nudge, and she's like, "I'm going to run a marathon. I'm going to try it, and if I fall flat, I'll deal with it then." I think that's a beautiful quality about her.

And with her romantic journey, too, of going from a relationship that's stagnant in the beginning – her and Jamie are not encouraging each other to grow anymore. It has come to a standstill, and being open to a relationship with Roy, I think is taking a more vulnerable step of actually falling in love and allowing yourself to be loved. I think a lot of humans can relate to how scary that can be. And if you haven't experienced it yet, oh my God, it's a journey that you can't wait – it's so exciting and thrilling and terrifying. To get to do that in a season and continue it in another one, and then to get to do it again in [season 3], is like...I'm stoked.

From a writing perspective, Brett, I'm wondering if you can talk about the approach going into the second season. Because I was not expecting "killing a dog" to be one of the first things we see.

Brett Goldstein: Well, yeah. What's kind of interesting is, we didn't expect anyone to watch the show, let alone for people to watch the show and to have such a positive reaction to it. It's really been amazing and surprising. We genuinely just thought, "Well, we've made this thing we all really care about," and hoped for the best. But it was like a year before it came out, and we were already writing season 2 when season 1 came out. So we haven't deviated from the plan based on peoples' reaction. Which I'm proud of, because it's hard not to get caught up when people are like, "I love this thing! I love that thing!" and you're like, "Well, you might not like [this]..." But then what you realize is, part of what you have to do as writers – and Jason [Sudeikis] is very adamant about this and it's very important – I think what people love about season 1 is that it surprised them. So season 2 has to surprise them. If we just did the same again and it was the same things that you like repeated, on some level you'd be like, "Oh, that was nice to see," but you'd also be like, "Eh." You know? So our aim is to constantly surprise you, and in a way, that beginning is almost a statement of intent. It's going, "You have to trust us. We're going to take you on a journey and it might not be exactly what you're expecting."

Brett, you wrote what I think is the most emotionally devastating episode of the first season. [It's the one that ends with Ted and his wife in the rain, where Ted realizes his marriage is over.] Are you going to be wearing that crown again this season? Is that a niche you're carving out for yourself on this show?

Brett Goldstein: [laughs] I think someone out-devastates me this year. That's all I can say. I can't take that hat this year. I mean, I'll devastate you, but I think someone will out-devastate me.


Ted Lasso season 2 is being rolled out weekly on AppleTV+.