Jonathan Slavin & Malcolm Barrett on the Future of BETTER OFF TED - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Jonathan Slavin & Malcolm Barrett on the Future of BETTER OFF TED

May 5, 2009 by  


Since has been down for nearly twenty-four hours courtesy of our hosting company mediatemple (who apparently, is run just about as smoothly as Veridian Dynamic), this TV Addict would like to thank GMMR for allowing us to share our interview with BETTER OFF TED‘s Phil and Lem in an effort to encourage fans of quality television everywhere to tune into tonight’s season finale of BETTER OFF TED. Because if you don’t, you’ll only have yourself to thank next season when ABC unveils a dreaded 10th season of ACCORDING TO JIM. We’re just sayin’


With tonight marking the season finale of BETTER OFF TED, fans of the show — the few, the proud, the smarter than the average bear should take solace in the fact that Veridian Dynamics isn’t going to go down without a fight. As evidence by the fact that they sent two of their top scientists, Phil and Lem (actors Jonathan Slavin and Malcolm Barrett) to preview tonight’s season finale and reveal, among other things, why you should give their criminally under-watched gem thirty minutes of your time.

The TV Addict: I’ve really been enjoying BETTER OFF TED, but as is so often the case with these type of shows (read: smart and funny comedies) I seem to be one of about four people

Jonathan Slavin: No, there are definitely four others that are watching the show

Really? Because American and I don’t seem to ever see eye-to-eye when it comes to “funny.” Maybe it’s just me, but shows I like (see: ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE) never seem to ever break out.

Jonathan Slavin: Thank you. I loved ANDY too.

Malcolm Barrett: What show?

Jonathan Slavin: It was before your time, you wouldn’t of heard about it!

Is it hard to work on such a funny show like ANDY RICHTER only to watch it get quietly cancelled?

Jonathan Slavin: With ANDY RICHTER, it was a heartbreak but it wasn’t much of a surprise because I always felt that audiences weren’t ready for it. I think that the show was very much ahead of its time, before America really knew how to take in a single-camera comedy and knew how to go with the absurd. Whereas with our show [BETTER OFF TED], I feel that people are starting to trickle in and more people ‘get it’ then don’t. So I have hope for this one!

So you’re optimistic that you might see a second season?

Jonathan Slavin: I’m not an optimist at all.

Malcolm Barrett: You are so not an optimist.

Jonathan Slavin: My glass is not only half empty, but its got poison in it and somebody is going to drink it. But I really do feel that we have made progress as a culture and I think that people are more likely to get this. Especially right now with what’s going on in our economy, with our workforce, where in this absurdist workplace comedy there are no pretensions made about the fact that this company doesn’t care about us at all.

Malcolm Barrett: And having the network behind you long enough.

Jonathan Slavin: There goes Malcolm, throwing down ABC right now!

Have you heard anything specific from ABC?

Jonathan Slavin: The network has actually been amazingly supportive and been so positive about the show creatively. Even to the point where they’ve come our and said, “Guys, don’t worry, we really love this show and think it’s so good and so special.” We’re on our last episode and they’re [the network] still asking us to do press today. They’re really pushing because they feel very passionately about the show.

Malcolm Barrett: Because it’s good, so don’t write us off yet.

I don’t want to, but again, it’s hard. Especially when it seems that quality TV so often gets cancelled in lieu of another hour of DANCING WITH THE STARS. Which by the way, I’m not a fan of.

Slavin & Bennett: What! Why not?

It’s a complete misnomer. There are no stars, and don’t even get me started on the so-called dancing.

Malcolm Barrett: I’m with you. I’m with you.

Is it possible that one of the reasons people haven’t been tuning in is that Veridian Dynamics [the fictional some might say evil mega-corporation featured in the show] hits a little too close to home?

Jonathan Slavin: I think Veridian is definitely how companies behave, they’re just not as quite upfront about it. I don’t think a company is going to put “Money Before People” on the lobby floor [as Veridian does.] But I do think a company actually feels that way. It’s almost refreshing to see a company be so upfront, so everyone knows what’s happening. In the episode airing tonight, the company decides to boost morale by being nice to all of us and of course it goes horribly wrong. But that’s how most companies act all the time. They try to throw little bones at people to keep morale and work ethic up and conceal the fact that they really don’t care about them.

Now I wanted to give you a chance to attract four more viewers! What’s your big pitch to get people to tune into tonight’s season finale?

Malcolm Barrett: Andrea [Anders] is going to take off her top!

America does love its nudity. Anything else?

Jonathan Slavin: Portia [de Rossi] is finally going to take her hair down.

Malcolm Barrett: It’s actually a really funny episode.

Jonathan Slavin: One of the ways people try to boost moral is to try and express their individuality. The way Veridian does it, is that the company decides that people are going to get to express their individuality in four non offensive themes which are classic cars, space, cats and the Green Bay Packers. And people literally come to work the next day and their cubicles are decked out in one of those four themes.

Malcolm Barrett: Naturally people start to form alliances ala West Side Story and a gang war ensues.

I suppose it’s too late to start a rumor that Veridian Dynamics is secretly working on a vaccine for Swine Flu?

Malcolm Barrett: Next season!

BETTER OFF TED’s first season finale airs tonight at 8:30PM on ABC, following a brand new SCRUBS


2 Responses to “Jonathan Slavin & Malcolm Barrett on the Future of BETTER OFF TED”

  1. Kimber on May 5th, 2009 6:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, GMMR, and for the interview,! I LOVE Better Off Ted! It’s quirky, funny, and just all around lovable. I’ve been a fan since day one, and have Ellen Degeneres to thank for that, since she publicized it so much before I even know what it was. Phil and Lem are the heart of the show, and I could “hear” them being their characters in the interview! Too funny! Here’s hoping for a second, FULL season of this wonderful gem!

  2. Janet Martin on May 13th, 2009 7:45 pm

    This is the best show and it is a shame if it is cancelled. The writing is great and the actors are the best. I think the time slot plays heavily into the public not viewing it…terrible time slot…on the half-hour and up against Idol.

    I hope the network reconsiders and brings it back in a time slot it deserves. so much of tv is reality, I guess because it can be produced inexpensively and it certainly requires no talent. Better Off Ted is so well written and acted, a sitcom like we haven’t seen in years. Please bring it back.