‘Ted Lasso’: Roy and Keeley’s breakup is a mistake

Roy and Keeley are no longer a couple, it feels like drama for drama’s sake.

Change is afoot in “Ted Lasso” Season 3, but one plot point in the early episodes is enough to shock the characters into silent horror: Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley (Juno Temple) have broken up.

The opposites attract couple came together in Season 1 after Keeley broke up with AFC Richmond’s cocky pretty boy Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and found herself attracted to and appreciative of senior team captain Roy. It’s a romance that viewers didn’t necessarily see coming at the time, but passionately rooted for as soon as it became possible. Roy and Keeley dealt with honesty, maturity and support. Roy was the antithesis of Jamie’s early 20s exploits, and with him, Keeley drew on the sharp emotional intelligence and bright ideas that Jamie overlooked in him. The couple didn’t let a few bumps in the road stop them from pursuing something special because they realized that a working relationship isn’t necessarily a circumstance, it’s a choice.

In Season 3, they make the wrong choice.

After an awkward and open ending to season 2, the pair confirm in episode 301 that they have indeed broken up, breaking the news to Roy’s niece Phoebe (Elodie Blomfield), who asks the million-pound question, “Why?”

The explanation is thin at best, and it shows on Roy and Keeley’s faces. It must be admitted that the nuances of adult relationships may not be translated to a 10-year-old, but the viewers do not see this nuance either. Roy and Keeley aren’t together for reasons even a child can fathom, and after fiddling with the scene, they continue to part ways. The best plot twists on TV sometimes feel inevitable, but this one feels like it was only made to raise the stakes in Season 3.

Goldstein, who pulls double duty as an actor and writer, told IndieWire that showrunner Jason Sudeikis comes to each season with a clear idea of ​​the pacing and arcs of the story. Goldstein found Roy and Keeley’s breakup “very, very, very difficult” on the cast and as a fan of the show—but as a writer, he knew it was his job to reach the signposts set by the executive team and seek them out.

A woman sits in front of a laptop at a dining table while a man hugs her from behind his chair;  still from it "Ted Lasso"

Maybe they wash and tax :”)

Colin Hutton

It’s a will-they-won’t-they TV tradition, and “Ted Lasso” can pay homage or join the ranks in its own way, subtly pushing Roy and Keeley into the company of Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane. (Shelley Long) or Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). But that tradition, and the style of TV comedy that inspired it, is no longer archaic. More recent comedies like “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Superstore” have featured characters who meet and stay together in a central romance. Temporary breakups — even in the “Friends” and “Cheers” era — happened for a reason that Roy and Keeley literally don’t have.

It’s an odd opening step for an otherwise refined and decorated series. Historically, the weekly sitcom had minimal plot continuity, and the romantic angle helped maintain audience interest or place the show’s timeline. The format has evolved to give viewers much more credit and more storylines woven throughout episodes and seasons, including romance. There’s enough going on in “Ted Lasso” with a new player (Maximilian Osinski) and old enemies (Nick Mohammed and Anthony Head) that you don’t need to arbitrarily crush Roy and Keeley, just build tension. It’s a bit of a bummer that Jamie didn’t jump right into creating a love triangle — his sudden declaration of feelings for Keeley was a low point in Season 2 — but showed concern and support for Roy during these difficult times.

“Roy is kind of tragic,” Goldstein told IndieWire. “He had these feelings that you can never access. He’d spent his entire life suppressing every feeling he’d ever had except anger—the only thing that came out. And then he falls in love. Keeley and Ted hacked her and she has all these fucking feelings coming out of her and she can’t deal with it. You don’t have any skills to handle these things. I think unfortunately he feels unworthy of love or happiness. So it’s a bit self-destructive and stops doing things that would make me happy. It’s relatable, difficult and heartbreaking.”

Goldstein certainly knows more about Roy and the rest of the season than the rest of us at this point, and using the breakup to examine his character’s tendency toward self-sabotage could be promising. But until that is acknowledged, “Ted Lasso” fans will continue to stew over Phoebe’s haunting, unanswered question: “Why?”

New episodes of “Ted Lasso” premiere Wednesdays on Apple TV+.

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