The late Grant Wahl gave the show some tips on what it’s like for a sportswriter to spend a season with a team.
This week’s “Ted Lasso” concludes with a tribute. As the credits roll, the first words that appear are “In memory of Grant Wahl.”
Wahl, the beloved football writer who died unexpectedly last December aged 49 while covering the 2022 World Cup, was present for the opening chapters of this season. In the fourth episode of Season 3, “Big Week,” Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) carries Wahl’s 2009 book, “The Beckham Experiment.” In addition to the book being a reasonable fit for a football show, the story behind Wahl’s profile of a team helped “Ted Lasso” sort out some of his own questions about their own press conference star, book writer-reporter. Trent Crimm (James Lance).
“As we built Trent’s story into the team, Grant did exactly that with the LA Galaxy. So we reached out to you with a few questions, hoping you’ll have some time to answer us quickly. He provided extensive answers to all questions which were so helpful. He was so generous with his time in putting together the Trent story. A very, very terrible loss,” Hunt told IndieWire.
Wahl’s help was part of the writing staff’s broader exploration of how to integrate Trent into the volatile atmosphere of a team dealing with its own ups and downs, including the arrival of an enigmatic new star.
“It wasn’t just sports. We used David Simon’s book ‘Murder’ and any of these stories where you’re a reporter embedded in a world that you’re trying to understand,” said series writer and co-star Brett Goldstein. “When do they start to trust you or let their guard down? The interesting thing about Trent is that Roy and most of the team don’t like this guy. So it appears negative. It’s an interesting place for a character to be. This is quantum physics. As soon as you observe it, it changes.”
Roy’s animosity towards Trent ultimately stems from some negative words in a Crimm column when they were both much younger. In some ways, it’s not hard to imagine the conversation as a kind of surrogate for some of the criticism that “Ted Lasso” himself faced during his tumultuous Season 2. According to Hunt, it’s the Roy-Trent confrontation that will smooth things out in Season 3. there was something that was inspired by some of the early scripts that wasn’t in response to the show.
“Actually, the thought didn’t even cross our minds.” It’s just organic from what we know,” Hunt said. “We accidentally planted the breadcrumbs in Season 1. When Roy first sees Trent, he says, “Trent, you’re a dick. You always have been. And then later we said, “Okay, why do you think that?” You should probably still think that, and that’s a problem. But let’s find out why and get out of here.”
“Ted Lasso” Season 3 continues with new episodes every Wednesday on Apple TV+.
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