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I Binged All Of So Help Me Todd, And I Think It's Better Than Ted Lasso

 Skylar astin and marcia gay harden in so help me todd.
Skylar astin and marcia gay harden in so help me todd.

I have a confession to make: I’m a TV snob. OK, so this didn’t happen overnight or on purpose, alright? I just, over the past decade or so, became a much bigger fan of shows on streaming and premium cable than I did of those on the networks I (and so many of us) watched as I grew up and entered adulthood. So, when I first heard of So Help Me Todd, an hour-long CBS “drama” (we’ll talk about my thoughts on that in a bit) about an ace defense attorney and her somewhat scattered son who works as her investigator, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Now that the series has joined the 2024 TV schedule for its second season, however, that has all changed.

You see, I was inundated by ads for the show, which stars Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Astin as the lawyer and her son, while rewatching a variety of Star Trek shows with my Paramount+ subscription. And, shocked as I was, the spots were very funny; funny enough to make me want to at least give a network show (eww, ick) a shot. When I did, I was surprised again, because not only did I immediately love it and end up binging all of So Help Me Todd over the course of one very long and thoroughly laugh-filled Friday-night-into-Saturday-afternoon, but I think this show is actually better than Ted Lasso, and I’ve got five reason why.

marcia gay harden as margaret wright in so help me todd
marcia gay harden as margaret wright in so help me todd

Marcia Gay Harden's Margaret Wright Is A Better Version Of Ted Lasso

Watching Ted Lasso, one of the reasons we marveled at Ted is because he made a sudden change in his career and moved across the ocean to coach a professional soccer team, when he had no working knowledge of the sport. Margaret Wright did something similar, and returned to school to study law after she had two kids in college and when Todd was about to start high school, which was after the death of her first husband.

There’s also a lot more to Margaret than first meets the eye, just like there was with Ted. At first she appears to be a snooty, privileged attorney who will look down on anyone like Todd who doesn’t have his whole life mapped out, and while she’s certainly not happy about the many big mistakes her youngest has made, that’s not Margaret at all.

Though she is monied and privileged (and very funny whenever she’s flustered or makes a realization), she uses her money and skills to help the little guy and people who would be abandoned by the legal system, as much as possible. She’s also very open to others’ opinions and viewpoints, even if their clothes are wrinkled or they (GASP!) wear corduroy in the courtroom. On top of that, not only is anyone who works with her motivated by doing good, but they can already rest assured that (unlike Ted when we first met him) Margaret knows exactly what’s she doing and will pull out any and all of her “diabolical lawyering” tricks to make sure justice is served for her clients.

So, we’ve been introduced to her when she’s already at the top of her professional game, which puts her a few points above Ted when he was a brand new AFC Richmond coach who had to rely on Beard and others to really help him with the ins and outs of the game.

skylar astin as todd wright in so help me todd
skylar astin as todd wright in so help me todd

Skylar Astin's Todd Is An Even Sillier Lasso-Like Lovable Goof

Yes, yes…We all love Ted Lasso for his sense of humor, his amazing mustache, and his heartwarming ability to bake a mean biscuit. But, have you heard Todd Wright throw out zingers a mile a minute whenever he has to work with the more professional investigator at the firm, Lyle (Tristen J. Winger)? Did you see him get sick from eating corn smut and then freak out after thinking he’d dined at a cannibal restaurant? Or, run with his arms down by his sides so that he wouldn’t attract as much attention before stealing an evidence-filled vehicle? If not, man! Are you ever missing out!

We can always count on Todd to deliver laughs and mile-a-minute dialogue either when things are getting a bit heavy or when we least expect it. Also, while Ted is a very relatable character, Todd might be even more so, because he’s had a lot of issues making terrible decisions, generally being aimless in life and having some very real problems with his mom and siblings because of his perennial status as the “scruffy black sheep” of his very accomplished family. And, yes, while Todd is somewhat scrambled in several life areas when we meet him, he has no problem sleuthing better than anyone, so he always gets the job done, whether he has Beard-style assistance or not.

marica gay harden and skylar astin defeat a medical robot on so help me todd
marica gay harden and skylar astin defeat a medical robot on so help me todd

The Comedy Leans Way More Into Slapstick

This show is billed as a drama, but while serious things do happen (like those familial issues I mentioned), it’s more of a com-drama instead of even a dramedy, because it’s pretty clear after watching just one episode that this show focuses on a light-hearted touch whenever possible.

I’m not kidding when I say that I laughed out loud through my So Help Me Todd binge. The pratfalls, oddball situations, nutty dialogue, hilarious character names (like Huckleberry Johnson), and even Margaret yelping in shock come fast and furious and never fail to bring a delightful amount of chuckles. Sure, I laughed at Ted Lasso plenty, but during my binge of that show I simply didn’t LOL nearly as much. It may have been hard for the cast to stay serious while Jason Sudeikis riffed as Ted, but I simply cannot imagine keeping a straight face while filming roughly 80% of these episodes!

madeline wise and marcia gay harden as allison and margaret in so help me todd
madeline wise and marcia gay harden as allison and margaret in so help me todd

The Characters’ Emotional Ties To Each Other Are Even Stronger, Sweeter And Twistier

Seeing as how most of the main characters here are family, you can bet that their emotional ties are stronger, sweeter, and even more twisty than those between the characters on the Apple TV+ comedy. The Wright family is mom, Margaret, and her adult kids, Lawrence (the oldest, who has a high-pressure job with the governor so we rarely see him; played by Matthew Wilkas), Allison (the middle child who’s a successful doctor; played by Madeline Wise) and Todd, who’s…well, Todd.

Their family dynamics quickly lead to some revelations, big changes, heartfelt admissions, family secrets being revealed and lots of each of them having to confront how they wronged their loved ones accidentally and need to make amends…and they do. But, as families are wont to do, they go and throw more slings and arrows and have to apologize and be forgiven all over again, while still standing up for each other more often than not. This, combined with the relationships they have with the tight-knit group of characters they work with (as well as innumerable awesome clients, suspects, informants, lawyers, and villains) will deliver way more of that warm-hearted feeling that viewers got from Ted Lasso.

marcia gay harden and skylar astin sleuthing in so help me todd
marcia gay harden and skylar astin sleuthing in so help me todd

You'll Come Away Feeling More Joyful And Hopeful

Lastly, as I briefly mentioned above, Margaret, Todd and their team work really hard to do the right thing and find out the truth behind every legal case they take. This means that Margaret (who’s demanded that Todd repay her for getting him out of serious legal trouble two years prior to the start of the series) will frequently eschew her, I’m sure, hefty legal fee to help clients she truly believes have been wronged, whether by the justice system or some other powerful person/organization.

Much like the show that made Brett Goldstein a star, every episode ends up being a crowd-pleasing underdog story with the added benefit of us being able to watch someone with money and power use those gifts for good whenever she can.

I can’t make you watch So Help Me Todd, but Season 2 has had some of the funniest, coolest episodes to date, and I really think it’ll be worth your time to at least give the show a shot.