Former president Donald Trump and Ted Lasso, the comedic fictional soccer coach featured in the popular sitcom by the same name, don’t have much in common at first glance.
Trump is a notoriously pugnacious figure while Lasso is a lovable fish out of water who attempts to maintain his optimism in all situations.
But Trump inspired the show, according to creator Jason Sudeikis, who also plays Lasso in the series. Sudeikis had originally played the character in short skits for NBC’s Premier League sponsorship. But while on a date with partner Olivia Wilde in 2015, he wondered if he could spin Lasso, who he then called “belligerent,” into something else.
Enter Trump declaring for the 2016 presidential election, famously coming down the golden escalator at Trump Tower.
“I’m not terribly active online, and it even affected me. Then you have Donald Trump coming down the escalator. I was like, ‘OK, this is silly,’ and then what he unlocked in people… I hated how people weren’t listening to one another,” Sudekis recently told Vanity Fair.
“Things became very binary, and I don’t think that’s the way the world works. And, as a new parent — we had our son Otis in 2014 — it was like, ‘Boy, I don’t want to add to this.’ Yeah, I just didn’t want to portray it.”
Sudeikis tweaked the character, and the rest is history.
The final episode of Ted Lasso will premiere on Apple TV+ on May 31.