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Review: Better Off Ted - It's Nothing Business, It's Just Personal

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 30th 2009 1:04AM
Better off Ted business(S02E04) So Better Off Ted is all but dead. OK, maybe that's not entirely true, but the writing is on the wall. ABC has opted to burn through the show's remaining episodes by double-running 'em every Tuesday through the end of January. (They're doing the same thing with Scrubs.) Considering that BoT only kicked off its current season last month, it's probably safe to assume that a third season isn't in the cards.

Sorry, Tedheads. I'm just as bummed about this as you are. Hopefully the powers that be will give creator Victor Fresco another shot at a series. After this and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, you can officially count me as one of the guy's biggest fans.

That's not to say that he can't let me down every once in a while. Tonight's episode seemed to be missing something. The brisk humor was there, but the jokes were more cutesy than funny. We spent very little time with Phil and Lem, and the Veridian commercial was MIA, again!

Ted started out the ep talking about how he likes to keep his personal life separate from his work life – an ongoing theme on the show. Strangely, it was Veronica who was having trouble juggling a new romance with her job. I like that we're getting to see more of Veronica's vulnerable side in these new eps. Fresco and Portia di Rossi somehow manage to give the character just enough layers so she doesn't come off like a one-note joke.

Let me just say that I loved Mordor – the name and the character. I know a lot of folks might disagree with me, but Mark Deklin was one of the best things about this ep. I loved the feathered hair, the fencing, the "magic," and especially the inappropriate frankness. I hope we see him again before the season is over.

Mordor's peculiar brand of manliness was a lot more entertaining than watching Ted and Linda argue over their idea of a good romantic relationship. So was watching Ted try to manage in the very tiny office. It's hard to believe there's an even smaller one of those that you have to share with someone (I'm guessing that's where Bhamba was hiding during this episode).

Like I mentioned before, I was hoping to get more Phil and Lem time this week. The whole red coat thing was pretty funny, but it would've been fun to see the guys working on a hot dog that doubles as an iPod or something equally bizarre down in the lab.

Next week, people get sexually harassed. More so than usual, I presume.

Five – and only five! – quotes:

- "It's even redder than I imagined. And I imagined it quite red."

- "I've spent my entire life trying to blend in. When I shaved off my Fu Manchu I thought I was there."

- "Last weekend we raced cars in the desert and ate a rattlesnake, and then a goat wandered into the camp. And then a light salad."

- "You have a crush on me ... Men often do, Ted. I find it's best just to get it out there."

- "The important thing is not to blame anyone, or look for answers, really. Some things just shouldn't be probed. There's an unfortunate choice of words."

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Better Off Ted was definitely off this Tuesday. I'm interested to see how tonight's episode will be. If this episode is off too, it may mean, they were informed to hurry up the production and therefore the writing. The jokes were less subtle and more in your face raunchy. Usually the characters have roles, but here they all clashed, and there was no office hierarchy. It seemed Linda and Ted were on the same level, and usually Veronica is shown as being uber-boss, but she wasn't at all. The power display was completely absent. I think that's what makes the show work too. And the commercials!!! I WANT VERIDION DYNAMICS COMMERCIALS!

January 01 2010 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hit sitcom is nothing more than a family with a wacky dad who gets food on his face. That's really all most Americans can handle these days. Anything that requires more thought and depth to understand than "spagetti on face" won't succeed. And they sure as hell don't know how to market anything beyond food-face based sitcoms. The "sit" in situation comedy has become "messy food on face."

Ray Romano with food on his face will earn the networks billions and all they have to do to market it is show clips of him standing there with food on his face. The idiots tune in en masse.

December 30 2009 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

I think it has had some episodes that are as good as any Seinfeld episodes. Do think ABC just doesn't know how to promote this show? It is much funnier than some of the hit sitcoms.

December 30 2009 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A funny, unique, well casted show that is consistently entertaining? Yeah, the networks would never give a program like that time to find it's audience these days. It really is sad.

December 30 2009 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah this episode seemed kinda off for some reason. Not one thing in partiuclar. More cutesy than usual, that does sound about right. Loved the "Red Jacket" thing, and the perverse yet justified reasoning for it.

You know what pisses me off? After this show is cancelled, I'm sure eventually Victor Fresco will be given another show. And they'll market it by saying "From the people who brought you Better Off Ted comes ____!" Why are you using a show that you CANCELLED to hype up a new show? Fox did that with the horrible Sit Down Shut Up ... "From Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator of Arrested Development!" Fox had the nerve to cancel AD, one of the funniest shows of all time, and now they have the double-nerve to use AD for marketing purposes? If you think so highly of AD, bring it back you assfuckers.

Anyway, just let us see Ted have a three-way with Veronica and Linda and I'll be content with the show's inevitable cancellation, which I knew would be coming as soon as I finished watching the pilot episode of BoT - it was funny and clever and I liked it so its impending cancellation was inevitable. I'm surprised there's even a brief 13 episode season 2 for me to enjoy.

December 30 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"the jokes were more cutesy than funny"
I agree on that measure. Although as a recent TedHead, I've enjoyed past eps, however, this ep and last week weren't as funny as I hoped. Admittedly, the second half of this ep was slightly better. I loved Mordor's magic, Veronica's purring and the small office punishment (followed by an even smaller office shared with someone else). However, the past two eps left out the office satire & Ted's romantic gaffes, which are the ones I felt drew out the strongest writing -

December 30 2009 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was very happy to see a return appearance of Mordor, even if the episode wasn't one of the series' best (that doesn't at all mean it was a bad episode, though -- they just have high standards to live up to).

December 30 2009 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought Mark "No I'm Not Casper Van Dien" Deklin's Mordor was great. What was the name of his Peruvian slap fighting again?

December 30 2009 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why don't watch more people that show? It's the single most consistently funny show currently on TV. I actually really enjoyed that episode too, despite the so-so review.

December 30 2009 at 5:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Last weekend we raced cars in the desert and ate a rattlesnake, and then a goat THAT wandered into the camp. And then a light salad."


December 30 2009 at 4:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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