You'll Be Better Off For Watching BETTER OFF TED - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

You’ll Be Better Off For Watching BETTER OFF TED

March 18, 2009 by  

With fickle audiences and scared networks execs, it seems that with every passing week a show is gone and another one is premiering in its place. With the risk of sounding a bit ambivalent, I’m not often surprised by new shows. So when I plopped down a few weeks ago to watch the series premiere of ABC’s new comedy BETTER OFF TED I wasn’t expecting much.  I didn’t remember hearing anything about this show at the ABC Upfronts and there certainly wasn’t any buzz.  My expectations were low. But I was bored. And then suddenly I wasn’t.  Suddenly I was laughing my ass off at the antics of this workplace comedy. Quelle surprise!

I know it’s a bit of a cliche to simply compare new shows to old, but I’d be lying if I didn’t get an OFFICE meets ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT vibe while watching BETTER OFF TED.  The workplace dynamic is even quirky than THE OFFICE, if you can imagine that, but the structure of the show has a similar sensibility to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and it focuses on a man who is just much more in tune with reality than the ridiculous people he surrounds himself with. That and there’s Portia DeRossi.

The show’s lens is Ted – the head of the R&D division of the ethically challenged and morally corrupt Verdian Dynamics. This company takes the art of invention to a whole new level.  With the unofficial company motto being “We can do that” nothing is off the table, no matter how bizarre. If you’re looking to transform pumpkins into weapons of mass destruction than you found the right company. How about cryogenically freezing one of your employees just to see if it works? Yup. The workers at Veridian Dynamics can find a use for just about anything and they thrive on making everyday items into something a bit more…unique.

(Here’s a sneak peek at tonight’s premiere episode)

Ted (Jay Harrington), a single father to Rose (Isabella Acres) a precocious and wise beyond her years seven year old, is starting to question some of the methods and tactics of Veridian Dynamics.  But it’s hard to push back on his boss, Veronica (Portia DeRossi), who is the ultimate corporate yes man…or woman.  The robotic’esque Veronica isn’t swayed by much and she’s all business all the time (except during her brief affair with Ted).  She seems void of any emotion and calls it like she sees it.

Ted’s office affair with Veronica is holding him back from getting involved with co-worker, Linda (Andrea Anders), a slightly flaky but sweet girl who may not like her job as much as she leads on. Ted and Linda’s will they/won’t they will probably won’t last that long as these two definitely “will be” soon.

Rounding out the Veridian Dynamics team is Phil (Jonathan Slavin) and Lem (Malcolm Barrett), research scientists who fall slightly left of center but are deadly loyal to the company.

Jay Harrington is sweet, suave and funny and in the role of the show’s narrator and hero. Despite his role in the office antics, he lets us know that he sees the absurdity surrounding him.  Portia DeRossi shines as Veronica. Her style is much more similar to her role as the buttoned up Nell Porter on ALLY McBEAL, but her ambivalence and aloofness may just remind you of Lindsey Bluth Funke.

I know ABC doesn’t have the best track record with 1/2 hour comedies, but I really hope you all give this show a shot. I think it’s one of the freshest comedies to come out in some time.  Too bad it’s on ABC because this show would work perfectly nestled in between THE OFFICE and 30 ROCK on NBC.

Make sure you don’t miss BETTER OFF TED tonight at 8:30pm on ABC.


11 Responses to “You’ll Be Better Off For Watching BETTER OFF TED”

  1. Billiam on March 18th, 2009 9:22 am

    I just read a review of the show over on the blog “What’s Alan Watching,” who pointed out that the show is from the creator of Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and I guess this show has a similar tone (but sadly, no fantasy scenes).

  2. ABC Wednesdays are the place to be! « My Take on TV on March 18th, 2009 10:02 am

    […] Check out my review of the show on (link coming later today), and check out what Kath and Ducky have to say. Seriously, one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time (thanks […]

  3. Angela on March 18th, 2009 3:50 pm

    Thank you for reviewing this! I’m a little bit of a snob when it comes to new TV shows and I’ll hardly ever watch them unless someone else recommends them. I was wondering about this show after I saw a preview for it. I’ll definitely check it out now!

  4. Michele on March 18th, 2009 4:50 pm

    Its been on my ‘can’t wait to see it’ list since I saw the first commercial for it! Glad you got a good vibe – I will definitely be checking it out!

  5. Philiana Ng on March 18th, 2009 10:15 pm

    After watching the pilot a few days back, I am in love with the characters on “Better Off Ted.” The absurdity infused with the dysfuntional workplace dynamics are a treat to watch. I will definitely be tuning in every Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. (Plus Jay Harrington is perfectly cast as the well-to-do businessman with an ounce of a conscience.)

  6. Tonight’s TV Spotlight…Thursday, March 19, 2009 | Give Me My Remote on March 19th, 2009 7:07 am

    […] Before we get to tonight’s programming, let’s close the loop on last night. Did you guys give BETTER OFF TED a shot?  What did you think? Click here to share your thoughts on last night’s new comedy. […]

  7. Amrie on March 19th, 2009 2:20 pm

    I’m absolutely in love with this show! My favorite show of the season, I think!

  8. Haya on March 19th, 2009 2:20 pm

    I really liked it, I just didnt think there were enough LOL moments. Im gonna give it a few more weeks cuz i really do love the cast. Its kinda how i felt about 30 Rock when it started, but now I love it.

  9. Kaitlin on March 19th, 2009 2:35 pm

    I loved it – I think its my favorite new show since 30 Rock – which wasn’t hard for a show to do but I’m really glad that this one did. I thought that all the characters were great, even the kid. Philiana’s comment on Ted as a businessman with an ounce of a conscience is the perfect way to describe him. As I former employee of GE I totally related to the company iteself and it was just on the right side of absurdity to be really funny.
    Its like the creater took what was Andy Richter show and dialed it down a tic in absurity and took out the fantasies out. (though you could argue that talking to the camera is a fantasy)

  10. seeleybaby on March 19th, 2009 7:03 pm

    I liked about 95% of it! I laughed a lot, and rewound some parts (the true test of love, vs. fastforwarding).
    The 5% i DIDN’T like was the daughter’s dialogue. TERRIBLE!
    Children don’t talk like that, if they wanted Ted to have someone to bounce ideas off of, they should have given him a wise old neighbor lady or something.

  11. Angela on March 19th, 2009 9:24 pm

    seeleybaby – Interesting you didn’t like the daughter’s dialogue. Some of her lines got the biggest laughs out of me. I work a lot with young children and I do know some really mature children who talk like that, especially children like her who come from broken homes.

    Overall, I liked the show a lot! I think it has a lot of potential to become a really funny show if ABC lets it grow.