Monday, August 03, 2009

Better Off Ted

A cute and funny clip from Better Off Ted:

maw maw

Another great moment was when the legal department was coming up with explanations for hornets attacking a small percentage of women testing out a new cosmetic product. On a whiteboard was a list of possible explanations including "their pockets were stuffed w/ hornet chow". I laughed for a whole minute after catching that:

Initially I just wanted to post this clip because I love it. But I figure I might as well gab a bit about the show.

When the new ABC comedy Better Off Ted started its run this year, it was initially a difficult show for me to judge.

I like comedies with a bit of weird and the show was a bit non-traditional in that the setting is in a surreal corporate environment more detached from reality than other prime time shows. Other shows have surreal occurrences happening in real-to-life environments. Better Off Ted has surreal events happening in a surreal environment. I thought this would scare the salt-of-the-earth folks who give shows Nielsen ratings. Especially since a lot of jokes slip in through the dialogue or in the background. This was a plus.

The problem (for me) is that the show has a lot of narration from Ted, the lead character. He has to explain EVERYTHING. I can see this being a smart device to keep simple people from getting confused, but I can keep up with 23 minutes of light comedy. A lot of jokes were also (needlessly) explained away in the show, but I feel this is starting to come down a bit.

The writing is still pretty strong. Like I said before, it's a light comedy. It's not out there to completely weird you out or punch you in the stomach or otherwise test your limits like a cutting edge British comedy. It's still funny. In spite of the constant narration, the writers and actors really try and pack in the limited time with quality. In place of an opening title, there is a Veridian Dynamic (the corporation that is the background of the show) commercial; a parody of commercials from corporations selling themselves on a virtue when they don't seem to mean it.

Another plus is the strained friendship between Ted and Linda. You know they're going to get together but you won't know how or when. Linda is also a bit weird which makes her character compelling. Portia de Rossi plays her caricature-like boss character very stiff but in a surreal and comedic way. The hapless scientist duo, Phil and Lem, also have their moments as a bickering nerd couple.

As the season has moved on, I've grown to really like the show. It's almost like it had a chance to catch its breath. It's a bit more confident.

It has been renewed for another season which I think is great. The show's ratings seem to have declined over the summer after it was given a month off. I think TV needs a well-written comedy like this on the air.

Better Off Ted will be finishing its first season in August. Tuesday nights 9/8c.

Update: My vision of Hornet Chow (thanks to MS Paint).