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October 10, 2015

Review: Better Off Ted - Battle of the Bulbs

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 23rd 2009 2:20AM
Better Off Ted Bulbs(S02E03) This wasn't the great Dr. Bhamba-centric episode I've been hoping for since season one, but it'll do. Watching Bhamba and Lem work together to solve Stella Clifton's insane equation was a blast. And so was learning about the disturbing lack of crocodiles in Bhamba's dreams. But this ep was less about my favorite wacky underused character and more about a competition between two co-workers and an odd dynamic between a mother and her son.

Let's start with Ted and Linda. Veridian finally gave Linda a pat on the back after she came up with an idea for a scented light bulb that comes in "aromas ranging from zucchini bread to fresh laundry." Good for her. Sadly, the company's decision to greenlight Linda's smelly bulbs meant Ted's idea for a super long lasting bulb was shelved. I was hoping to see Ted squirm a little more to win back the company's favor, but the focus fell more on Linda and her newfound confidence.

Portia de Rossi still kills as the steely Veronica. I love watching her charge through every episode like an uber confident shark ready to consume anything or anyone that gets in her way. Linda couldn't pull off the extreme confident attitude as well as Veronica does, but she got a few nice shots in by ordering a co-worker to take off his tie and scolding an executive for his non-existent emotional hang-ups. She earned the right to feast on chicken! (A live one even.)

It was great seeing News Radio's Khandi Alexander back on the small screen. She was sharp as ever as Lem's super genius mom. It makes sense that a "real" scientist like Stella Clifton would mock her son's attempts to create cool but needless junk like a toaster that can handle a pizza bagel ("That would be a boon to both Jews and Italians!"). Still, the fact that Lem is smart enough to make such a thing should earn the guy some respect.

I was also hoping we'd get to see more of Lem and Bhamba working together on a new project to impress Lem' s mom. Perhaps something like the bagel toaster that tracks down enemies and burns them evenly on both sides? But watching Lem earn his mom's respect, thanks to Phil overdoing it with the "grown-up drinks" and some truly fantastic popcorn, was great. Lem is such a lovable character. He's quickly becoming my favorite in a show packed with great quirky roles played by fantastic comic actors.

This was a good one, but so far, season two of Better Off Ted hasn't been nearly as sharp as season one's best moments ("Racial Sensitivity," "Get Happy"). And where was the Veridian commercial? I guess they don't want to overdo it with those, but I really miss them. Let's hope we get one next week.

Five – and only five! – quotes:

- "In a recent study, people's desire to see things ranked third, right after hitting things and trying to have sex with things."

- "You should jump on that Ted, before the crazy outweighs the hot."

- "She's like Rhodesian wet moss. That stuff doesn't give a damn who it hurts."

- "What will people do without a helmet that feeds them cheeseburgers, or a remote control for their underpants?"

- "You hate light and smell. What in the name of God did your parents do to you?"

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I didn't even know Ray Romano had a new show. I guess I instinctively tune out that type of info.

December 23 2009 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll admit, as a recent BoT viewer, that I wasn't as impressed by this episode. I loved seeing Kandi Alexandar and she is gorgeous. But, although she's 52, she could pass for 10-15 years younger. Plus, the actor playing Lem looks as if he's anywhere between 30-40, so I couldn't quite accept her as his mother.

December 23 2009 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anita's comment

I was also not buying that that could be Lem's mom because there did not seem to be enough of an age difference, but the actor who plays Lem is only 29! Which makes him 23 years younger than Khandi Alexander.

But I'm not sure how old the Lem character is supposed to be. If he started working there 11 years ago, I don't think he's the same age as the actor, which likely makes the age difference between the characters pretty small

December 23 2009 at 10:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Austin M

For some reason my Comcast DVR did not record this or Scrubs. Did they not put them on the Guide as new episodes? Did anyone else have this problem? Until I saw this I though maybe ABC decided to pull the new episodes until after the new year.

December 23 2009 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm so disappointed that they never advertise this show, don't spend a dime on marketing in any way, and are now most likely going to cancel it after a brief 13 episode second season. I suppose I should be glad it even got a second season.

Time and time again, smart quirky humor fails on TV. I wonder why they keep trying? Clearly the only type of "comedy" that's appreciated is watching an overgrown homunculus with a silly voice get food squished on his head. Ray Romano with spaghetti dripping off his face gets 15 seasons and super-high ratings, but shows like Arrested Development, Better Off Ted, etc get no respect, are enjoyed by the 20,000 or so people out there with an intelligent sense of humor, and quickly get cancelled.

Why keep teasing me with smart shows like Better Off Ted when everyone knows that it is destined to be cancelled extremely quickly? I mean, it doesn't have a wacky dad with food on his head, so it has no chance of finding an audience. "Messy Food Head" is the most complex humor the average American Idol watching, Celebrity Dancing obsessed Kitchen Cookoff moron can handle.

I suppose I am somewhat responsible for my own frustration. I keep watching the occasional smart, funny show that somehow manages to sneak itself into production, and despite not being about messy food head, I keep watching and enjoy the show when I KNOW that it's going to get cancelled sooner rather than later. What am I thinking? Combining clever humor with messy food head humor is impossible because the latter negates the former. So it's not like a clever show will appeal to both smart people with good taste in shows AND the millions of idiots out there who watch scripted TV shows to see Ray Romano stand there with a pie on his face. I guess I'm just a sucker for torturing myself.

December 23 2009 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bruce's comment

We need to at least watch what they give us in the smart comedies, otherwise we get totally deprived. Also, you were a little harsh on Ray. His new series is quite good!

December 23 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ray's new show may be OK, I am withholding judgment on that. However, Everybody Loves Raymond was a steaming pile of garbage.

December 23 2009 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How could you possibly omit:

It takes a village to kill a village!

December 23 2009 at 3:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Eldritch's comment

Great one.

December 23 2009 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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