Ted Lasso cast in the White House speaking at podium


The ‘Ted Lasso’ cast appearance at the White House gets mocked

One of the show's characters also asked Jason Sudeikis a question.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 21, 2023

The Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso is centered around a fake soccer team playing in a real professional league, but that team made it all the way to the White House—a visit that received a mixed response.

It’s far from the first time a famous person visited the White House to meet with the president and discuss big topics; Olivia Rodrigo stopped by in 2021 to encourage young people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and BTS spoke about anti-Asian hate in 2022, to name a couple of recent examples. But on Monday, the cast of Ted Lasso showed up to chat with President Joe Biden about mental health, a topic with a huge presence throughout the show. The eponymous character, played by co-creator Jason Sudeikis, has panic attacks and uses his flavor of midwestern niceness as a coping mechanism after a personal tragedy. Season 2 shows many of the show’s characters partaking in therapy sessions when a sports psychologist (played by Sarah Niles) is hired to work with the team.

Sudeikis briefly took to the podium, dressed in an outfit that Ted Lasso would probably wear, with castmates Toheeb Jimoh (Sam Obisanya), Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent), Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca Welton), and Ted Lasso co-creator Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard), to speak about how mental health was something that affected everyone, no matter how they identified politically.

“I know in this town, a lot of folks don’t always agree, right, and don’t always feel heard, seen, listened to,” Sudeikis said. “But I truly believe we should all do our best to help take care of each other. That’s my own personal belief. I think that’s something that everyone up here on stage believes in. That’s a thing we talk about in the writer’s room; we talk about in the editing room.”

He then took a question from Trent Crimm (James Lance), a recurring character on Ted Lasso who covered soccer for The Independent until his firing last season. Calling himself a “fake journalist,” Crimm asked Sudeikis’ thoughts on Kansas City, Missouri, being named one of the 2026 World Cup’s host cities.

Ted Lasso is one of Apple TV+’s most popular original shows, and for many of its fans, seeing the cast reach the White House was like reaching a new peak. Particularly, they were fans of seeing Trent Crimm get to ask a question.

Some joked about shows that might work better to appeal to the masses about mental through pop culture.

But there was also pushback and frustration with what, in many ways, amounted to a PR stunt full of empty statements. Making people aware of mental health means little to people who cannot find the resources they need or cannot afford them, even with health insurance.

It’s not necessarily an issue the Ted Lasso cast can solve. But having the cast pay empty platitudes toward mental health—something that won’t cost many people in the U.K. (where Ted Lasso is set) anywhere near as much as it will for folks in the U.S.—makes them an easy outlet for anger at a flawed system.

“Feel like mental health has pretty safely hit the ‘breast cancer zone,’ where literally everyone is now aware of it but awareness campaigns are all we are ever gonna get when what we really need is free universal healthcare,” @crowcialist wrote.

The cast later spoke with Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, with the president promising video from the conversation soon.

“Had a wide-ranging discussion about the importance of mental health with some folks from an English soccer team,” Biden tweeted. “You’ll see video of it soon.”

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*First Published: Mar 21, 2023, 2:24 pm CDT