If ‘Ted Lasso’ Is Really Over, It’s Time for Jason Sudeikis to Bring Back ‘Two A-Holes’

If ‘Ted Lasso’ Is Really Over, It’s Time for Jason Sudeikis to Bring Back ‘Two A-Holes’

The season finale of Ted Lasso has dropped on Apple TV+, and one of the episode’s biggest cliffhangers was… so, is this the end of the show? Because of the delays in getting Season Three on the air — in part due to myriad behind-the-scenes drama — it’s an open question whether this will be it for the unfailingly upbeat coach. Considering that most critics complained that this just-completed season was far from the show’s best, perhaps it would be just as well if Jason Sudeikis and the rest of the creative team pull the plug. (On the other hand, Hollywood folks like money, and as long as there’s an audience for Ted Lasso, I’m sure the temptation will be strong to keep producing the show until they run it into the ground.) 

But if this week did, indeed, close the book on Ted Lasso, Sudeikis will need to decide what to do next. The award-winning comedy has been the actor-writer’s greatest success since Saturday Night Live, earning him the best reviews of his career and netting him four Emmys, including two for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. As a result, he’s gone from being that guy in broad comedies like Horrible Bosses and We’re the Millers to a respected artist responsible for feel-good prestige television. What should he do for his encore?

I have a suggestion, one that I know he’d never take seriously — which is partly why I like the idea so much. After a few years playing an overly sweet, compassionate person, Sudeikis should switch gears entirely. I’d love for him to make a “Two A-Holes” movie.

This wasn’t Sudeikis’ most popular recurring SNL character. Most probably prefer Pete Twinkle, his banally excited ESPN Classic host, or his goofy backup dancer from “What Up With That?” “Two A-Holes” was a little weirder and more abrasive, but the way that he and Kristen Wiig committed to the joke, even if the audience didn’t always seem to love it, made me admire the bit even more. If Ted Lasso is a sweetheart, then the two a-holes are the bracing antidote. 

“Two A-Holes” appeared eight times over the span of three years and four seasons. Its debut was on December 17, 2005, which was a pretty memorable episode that also included the great “TV Funhouse” animated musical number “Christmastime for the Jews” and the “Digital Short” viral sensation “Lazy Sunday.” The conceit of each “Two A-Holes” segment was the same: Sudeikis and Wiig played a couple — we never learned their names — who go different places and just start acting rude to whoever they encounter. A trainer at a gym, a detective trying to solve a crime, a guy selling Christmas trees, a karaoke host: The a-holes always run into the nicest people, and they’re always such dicks to them. 

Smacking gum and unobservant of the world around them, the couple isn’t overtly malicious, but they so occupy their own space — put out that those around them aren’t more helpful — that they’re pure evil. Sudeikis and Wiig didn’t even really try to be funny — they’re too busy forcing you to sit in their characters’ sheer obnoxiousness. The girlfriend constantly rolls her eyes and plays with her hair. The boyfriend, who sometimes has a bluetooth in his ear — such a great late-aughts cringey artifact — keeps calling her “Babe.” They don’t talk as much as they bray their over-it-all dialogue at each other and the luckless bastard who’s crossed their path. They’re like if Beavis and Butt-Head were a good-looking adult couple, except those dudes always made you feel like you were in on the joke, poking fun at all the uptight squares around our antiheroes. By comparison, the a-holes are a menace and must be stopped. But they never will be because we’re overrun by such monsters. They’re a pox on humanity flouting the social contract by being unspeakably impolite, stupid and oblivious at all times.

“That (sketch) was all about my belief that we were losing touch with manners,” Sudeikis explained in 2021. “And yet it’s also about love, because he loves her, and that’s why he interprets everything for her — she never talks directly to the person.” Indeed, read the comments to any YouTube clip of “Two A-Holes” and you’ll notice a familiar refrain: Viewers don’t necessarily like the couple, but they sorta appreciate how bonded they are. Truly, no one else could tolerate these two but, hey, at least they found each other. They may be a-holes, but they’re also soulmates. Terrible, horrible soulmates.

There was always something so cosmically perfect about the fact that the two a-holes didn’t get their comeuppance at the end of any sketch. They never learned a lesson, never got put in their place. All of us have met the a-holes — at our job, in front of us in line for something — and we’ve all had a secret desire to bash their heads in. “Two A-Holes” offered up representative examples of the worst-case scenario of these kinds of people, and then watched as they got away with their asshole-ery. The couple never felt bad about inconveniencing the people they met, asking the stupidest questions on earth. (My favorite is either them asking John C. Reilly’s trainer if he has any boxes because they’re moving or telling Matt Dillon’s travel agent that they want to go “there,” the girlfriend blithely pointing at a picture on his wall of an airplane.) Sudeikis and Wiig refused to provide you with any catharsis. The a-holes remain undefeated — deal with it.

Sudeikis played his fair share of handsome bozos on SNL, which soon became his springboard into films, where he played more handsome bozos. Eventually, though, he got tired of the typecasting. “​​It’s up to me to not just play an a-hole in every movie,” he said in that same 2021 interview, which led to Ted Lasso’s embrace of kindness and decency. The show succeeded in presenting Sudeikis in a completely different light creatively. But now that he’s made the case for empathy and camaraderie, I’d love for him to pivot away from such touchy-feely emotions. 

It’s been 15 years since “Two A-Holes” graced the screen, and I have no doubt they’re still out there wreaking havoc. (I think it’s fair to assume they didn’t like Ted Lasso.) The “Two A-Holes” premise probably couldn’t sustain a feature-length film, but I still think about that couple all the time, wondering whatever became of them. They’re probably really into cryptocurrency. No doubt they love A.I.-generated art. They definitely paid to get a blue checkmark on Twitter. They’re just the worst. And fool that I am, I’m convinced that, one day, they’re going to get what’s coming to them. It’s something I need to believe — I don’t want to think that inconsiderate jerks like them get to skate through life. 

But that was always what was so brilliant about those sketches. Sudeikis and Wiig were there to disabuse me of my hope every single time, pulling the football away Lucy-style. And yet I never learned. Ted Lasso wanted us to believe in goodness. Unfortunately, I suspect “Two A-Holes” is more truthful about the way the world really operates.

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