Jason Sudeikis Brings a Dark Ted Lasso to Marvel's Hit-Monkey

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1 of Hit-Monkey, now streaming on Hulu.

Hit-Monkey holds nothing back when it comes to its violence, humor and emotional punches, and that latter quality hits all the harder because of how endeared the audience becomes by the characters. On paper, there should be plenty of reason not to like the killers and sociopaths of Hit-Monkey, and yet the very lead the series shines a spotlight on immediately wins its viewers over. That's probably because he's basically just a dark and twisted Ted Lasso.

While the wholesome American football coach of the Apple+ series may seem far different from the hired killer, Bryce, actor Jason Sudeikis brings a likable charisma to both roles sure to win anybody over.

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Hit-Monkey's first episode opens with Bryce going through the motions of another contract. He is unconcerned and blasé about the human life he is about to take, and almost callous as he lets off one joke after another. The viewer follows him through the airport, a poker game, a dance club and finally the hit itself, and throughout the entire affair, he is drinking and carries a casual attitude. That should be the description of a callous sociopath with little humanity left in him. And yet somehow it feels more like Ted Lasso.

Familiar to viewers of the Apple+ series, Ted Lasso is the main character of the sports-centric comedy, which sees an American football coach completely out of his element as he takes over the management of an English soccer team. More important to the show than the sports, however, is the wholesomeness and charm of the lead character that proves so infectious that it steadily brightens the lives of everyone around him. Though Bryce and Ted seem to have little in common on a surface-level description, they share one crucial element that ties them together: they are both played by actor Jason Sudeikis.

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Sudeikis is the common bond that brings a likable charm to both characters who could very easily be unlikable. Constantly chattering in a stream of reference-laden consciousness, it would be easy for both characters to be grating or annoying. Indeed much of the humor in both shows derives from those around them feeling as much. But at the same time there, is a vulnerability to it the audience can catch onto. There is a sense, that despite their easy-going natures, Bryce and Ted are both making a constant attempt to get those around to like them. They're so desperate toward that end that they go overboard in broadcasting their thoughts and end up betraying a deeper sense of loneliness that their respective series take time to unpack.

Bryce's introductory scene is perfect at illustrating this, as a silent driver meets him while he is on a job and picks him up to relocate him. The driver never speaks, even as Bryce constantly spouts off everything entering his head, even remarking on how quiet the driver is and making sarcastic commentary on how much he is enjoying the conversation. Eventually, Bryce's conversation wanders in and out of memories of his father, setting up a deeper backstory that in the moment has any deeper significance masked by its glib delivery. This screams "Ted Lasso."

That is not to say the characters are interchangeable, as they very much have their differences that Sudeikis respects in each portrayal. Bryce takes a much darker edge, lacks Ted's dorkier qualities, and inhabits an altogether very different series. When Bryce goes on to become a ghost spiritually bound to a Japanese macaque with which he shares a common desire for revenge, it's clear the story has little in common with the fish-out-of-water football tale of self-discovery.

And yet Sudeikis stands out as a common link that any viewer enjoying his performance in one show are sure to find themselves attracted to with his performance in the other. Whether he's a contract killer or a mustachioed tea-hater, it just might be impossible to dislike Jason Sudeikis when he really wants to win an audience over.

To see Jason Sudeikis' darker Ted Lasso, Season 1 of Hit-Monkey is available now on Hulu.

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Brenton Stewart (1029 Articles Published)

Brenton somehow earned a college degree in the middle of a multi-decade pop culture binge he continues to this day. His interests range across philosophy, literature, and the arts to comics, cartoons, television, and Dungeons & Dragons. Follow him on Twitter @BrentonStewart6 or reach out by e-mail at [email protected] if you have nice things to say!

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