Fix the Bad Rebecca and Keeley Storylines! newsusface


Keeley (Juno Temple) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) used to be my favorite characters on Ted Lasso. Not only were they both unique, stellar, larger-than-life ladies with distinct senses of humor and passion for their careers—they were friends. And good friends, at that! They cared about each other’s lives beyond just boy drama. Rebecca encouraged Keeley’s career growth, while Keeley broke Rebecca out of her shell. In a sea of testosterone and sweaty footballers, Keeley and Rebecca consistently proved that feminine figures can exist—and flourish—in the Premier League.

Luckily, in Season 3 of Ted Lasso, nothing has changed about Rebecca and Keeley’s friendship. They still check in on one another constantly—like in this most recent episode, “The Strings That Bind Us,” in which the pair go out for cocktails. No one can deny their commitment to one another as companions. But they’ve run out of things to talk about other than their love lives, a sign of weak writing for these otherwise strong female characters.

Both Rebecca and Keeley have been drowning because of their romantic entanglements—Rebecca more literally, after falling off a bridge in last week’s episode and being saved by a handsome Dutchman—which is leading to a drought of appearances from them on the football field. Ted has ceased visiting Rebecca’s office to gift her those buttery biscuits. Keeley never pops into the greasy, sweaty locker room to boss a bunch of footballers into a PR stunt, like she once did. The pair have been isolated from the rest of the story, pigeonholed into their dating drama as opposed to any of the main plots.

In Season 3 episodes past, Rebecca has taken more interest in Richmond AFC—particularly, whether or not Ted is a sufficient coach for the team. She confronted Zava (Maximilian Osinski) and convinced him to join Richmond, though Zava appears to have completely disappeared from the plot—along with Rebecca’s desire to be the boss of Richmond AFC. By Episode 7, Rebecca seems to have lost most of her interest in the football team as a result of her one night stand with the Dutchman. I fear this will become her central arc now—a romance, the same as last season—when her growing commitment to the team has been a far more inspired narrative.

At least Rebecca has spent some time with the team this season, a privilege Ted Lasso has stripped entirely from poor Keeley Jones. After splitting from Roy (Brett Goldstein) in the season premiere, Keeley has spent most of her time sporting the worst outfits known to man (seriously, they rival Emily in Paris) while arguing with several of her coworkers at a PR firm. A Keeley Jones PR firm spinoff doesn’t sound too terrible—except for the fact that her coworkers are all the most bland, boring people in the world. We’re basically just watching Keeley stomp around in knee-high Barbie pink boots while her glum coworkers hunch over their desks like wilted plants.

Keeley’s new love interest, a woman named Jack (Jodi Balfour), who happens to be her boss, energized me—at first. But Jack’s main personality trait has been revealed, and it leaves something to be desired: She’s wealthy. She loves showering Keeley in gifts. There’s seemingly nothing wrong with that until Keely chats with Rebecca, who warns her that ex-hubby Rupert (Anthony Head) used to do the same thing.

The downfall of these two characters would be forgivable if it weren’t for the fact that almost every female character in Ted Lasso is only half as dynamic as folks like Roy, Jamie (Phil Dunster), Nate (Nick Mohammed) and even Trent Crimm (James Lance). The only woman who’s felt real and invigorating this season has been Rebecca’s bestie Sassy (Ellie Taylor), who told Ted (Jason Sudeikis) he was a mess. It’s what every woman should be saying to Ted Lasso, the series, at this point, too.

In Season 1, I applauded the series for taking time to depict the nuances of divorce, as Ted’s wife Michelle (Andrea Anders) parted ways from the mustachioed goofus. Michelle was never the villain; she had logical reasons for divorcing the sweet guy. We all loved Ted, but we equally felt for Michelle, who didn’t connect emotionally with the hokey jokes and overbearing kindness. Now, in Season 3, Michelle has turned into a much more villainous figure, as she’s dating the couple’s therapist from her marriage with Ted.

Nate gets a fantastic arc this episode involving the girl he’s had a crush on, a hostess at a Greek restaurant in town. Between this and his beef with Ted, he now has two strong storylines running at the same time. He’s not sure if he should ask her out, so he asks his family, who explain why he should go for it by taking him through a legendary scrapbook of his parents’ romance. The relics tell the story of how hard it was for Nate’s parents to finally be together, proof that simply asking a girl out isn’t the hardest task in the world.

But here’s the thing: Nate has been so weird with this hostess. The first time he popped in, she refused to give him a table because the restaurant was booked; Nate responded with, “Do you even know who I am?” Nate has been nothing but awkward to her since then. In this episode, he starts to ask her out twice, but dashes out both times. When he finally gets around to asking her to dinner, she says yes—but why? What woman would say yes to an egotistical weirdo who is clearly stalking her? She hasn’t seen all the sweet things happening behind the scenes.

It’s for these reasons that I beg Ted Lasso to fix its issues with women. The men have such enthralling plot lines this episode—Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) makes a huge political statement, Jamie almost rips his genitals off—but the women are making me so angry.

Near the end of the episode, where Keeley pleads with her girlfriend to stop buying her things (again, why?), she wears the most heinous hat I’ve ever seen. The monstrosity is fuzzy, pink, around a foot high, and looks like a Puffle from Club Penguin. No woman on earth would wear this unless it was part of a costume. It’s a shocking, literal reminder that Ted Lasso has lost control of its women, who deserve the world.

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