'Ted Lasso' Season 2 Gives New Layers To AFC Richmond's Most Joyful Players [Interviews]

In the first season of Ted Lasso, the character of Dani Rojas serves as a delightful, joyful counterbalance to the teeth-gnashing drama between AFC Richmond players Jamie Tartt and Roy Kent. But at the start of season 2, Dani finds himself haunted by an on-field accident that throws him off his game in a major way. Meanwhile, Sam Obisanya has more time to shine both on and off the pitch in the second season, and one of the season's most compelling subplots rests on Sam's shoulders as he realizes the endorsement deal he made is morally compromised.

I recently had the chance to speak with the actors who play Dani and Sam, Cristo Fernandez and Toheeb Jimoh, about getting more to do in the second season and the truth behind that viral video that was making the rounds a couple months ago.

Toheeb, what was your first reaction when you learned that Sam would be taking a moral stand this season? I love that subplot for your character.

Toheeb Jimoh: Oh man, I was over the moon. I had spoken to Joe Kelly, one of the lead writers, and Jason [Sudeikis] quite a bit beforehand, and they had let me know that something was coming, and we had spoken about the finer details and stuff like that. But I was just glad to have some more to do. Get to flesh out some of Sam's backstory, his family life, and also at this point we just get to see him mature a lot more. We get to see him stand on his own two feet as a young man, and all of that is because of Ted. Ted has allowed him to grow and he's made him feel super comfortable, and now we're seeing the results of that.

I consider Sam to be the beating heart of the AFC Richmond team. Do you ever find yourself needing to modulate your performance to stay more grounded compared to Ted and some of the more heightened characters you're interacting with? 

Toheeb Jimoh: A little bit. I think we all have to do that. There are sometimes when you have to set your brother up. Sometimes you have to be the straight person and you have to allow somebody to bounce off the walls a little bit. We have so many zany, wacky characters in this show, and I feel like in this season especially, Sam has to be the rod for all of that. And yeah, be a bit more grounded. He's a bit more thoughtful and a bit to the heart. And then you have Dani Rojas who is turbo-charged. [laughs] So yeah, we do have a little bit of both.

Cristo, you injected such an unbridled sense of joy into the first season with the Dani Rojas character. What did you think about adding some extra shades to Dani in the wake of the accident that happens in season two's first episode?

Cristo Fernandez: Yeah, I'm also over the moon knowing those new beats that Dani Rojas has. And the fact that we're going to see another side of Dani I think makes people realize that you can be the happiest person in the world, but you can also have problems. And it's OK to have problems. And it's OK to seek help and overcome these situations. I think the fact that we talk about mental health is important, too. I'm just very excited to see how Dani Rojas, with the rest of the team, are going to overcome all of these situations.

I saw a viral video that was framed as if the cast encountered an older gentleman on the street who thought Dani Rojas was a real person, and you all said he was a good player and sang the Dani Rojas song. Can you tell me if that is what was really happening there? Because the clip is pretty short, and there's not a lot of context around it. Is that really what went down?

Cristo Fernandez: [laughs] That's really what happened, and that's normally what we do every time we hang out in London. No, not really. But is real. We were just having the best time of our lives. Personally, it was my first football match in England, and what better spot than Wembley with my friends? We were just having a great time, and then we encountered this well-known interviewer, Chris Skudder. Now he's a big fan of the show, but that day specifically, he didn't know anything [about it], and thanks to Toheeb, who started to sing the Dani Rojas song, and from there it went viral. Who would have thought?


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