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October 6, 2015

Better off Ted

Year-End Podcast Party: Top 10 Lists, Golden Globes and Jay Harrington of 'Better Off Ted'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Dec 15th 2010 12:15PM
We have two 'Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan' podcasts for your listening pleasure this week.

* In Podcast 1, actor Jay Harrington, who played the title character in the late, lamented 'Better Off Ted,' joined us to talk about his memories of the ABC show. It's really a shame when a network cancels a show as creative and brilliant as 'Better Off Ted' (which landed in Ryan McGee's Top 10 list and mine as well), but in our 33-minute Veridian Dynamics-approved therapy session podcast, we recalled what made the show special and reminded ourselves that it's still out there for future fans to enjoy (via DVD or Netflix streaming). Three ways to find the Jay podcast: Subscribe here, grab the MP3 or listen here, or check it out on this site.

* Ryan has dubbed Podcast 2 'The Piper Perabo Power Hour.' That's your clue that we gabbed for a bit about the Golden Globes nominations (we discussed what we liked, what we didn't and what purpose the awards serve -- and yes, there is one, in my view). But for the majority of the podcast, we talked about a number of shows from our year-end Top 10 lists. A detailed breakdown of the podcast is below.

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The Best TV of 2010: The Top 10 Roster

by Maureen Ryan, posted Dec 2nd 2010 2:30PM
Narrowing down my yearly Top 10 list to only ten individual TV shows proved very difficult this year. There was just too much good TV, and thank goodness for that. None of the new shows that the broadcast networks debuted this fall made the cut, but no matter, there was still plenty of good drama and comedy to choose from.

So much, in fact, that I decided expand my list a bit. There are, as you can see below, ten entries in my Best of 2010 list, but a couple of entries mention multiple shows. I've got a new job and new editors, so why not try a new way of approaching the Top 10 list, right? All I can say is, it would have melted my brain and hurt my heart to leave any of the shows below off my list.

By the way, in the next week or so, I'll post a long list of runners up -- more than two dozen scripted shows that didn't quite make the cut here but which were nevertheless pleasing, compelling or noteworthy during the past year.

Without further ado, here's my list of the best television shows of 2010:

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Better Watch Those Last Two 'Better Off Ted' Episodes

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 2nd 2010 2:00PM
Oh, 'Better Off Ted' and 'Party Down,' why did you have to be so good? You made most other comedies seem leaden and false by comparison.

Fans of 'Better Off Ted' had to put up with a lot during its two-season run, which ended in cancellation. The critically acclaimed show was mostly ignored by ABC, despite the fact that it developed into an increasingly hilarious workplace comedy.

You'd have thought the biggest indignity faced by Ted and the crew at Veridian Dynamics was ABC's cracked-out scheduling of the show (season 2 premiered in December, one of television's most fatal dead zones, and one episode aired on New Year's Day, which is almost the same as not airing at all).

But no, there were more indignities to come. ABC held on to the final two episodes of the show like a corporate executive clutching a bonus check. The network even teased us earlier in the summer by scheduling a tentative airdate for the episodes, which was of course rescinded.

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'V' Renewed; 'FlashForward,' 'Scrubs,' 'Better Off Ted,' 'Romantically Challenged' Axed

by Andrew Scott, posted May 13th 2010 11:54PM
VMore news coming from the ABC upfronts: The Live Feed is reporting that the network has officially renewed the alien-invasion series 'V' for a second season. The show, which co-stars Scott Wolf and 'Lost''s Elizabeth Mitchell, among others, is expected to be picked up for 13 episodes. (For more on ABC's pick-ups, click here.)

But it wasn't all good news. According to the Ausiello Files, ABC also pulled the plug on four series, including 'Scrubs,' confirming a Facebook message that star Zach Braff posted in March. 'Scrubs' ends after 9 seasons on the air, seven of which were spent on NBC.

Also getting the boot tonight: the Alyssa Milano comedy 'Romantically Challenged,' which got off to a sluggish start after its premiere in April and never really seemed to catch on, despite airing after ratings juggernaut 'Dancing With the Stars.'

(UPDATE: According to Milano's Twitter, ABC hasn't made an official decision on 'Challenged''s fate.)

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Bill Pullman Joins Jay Harrington in 'Nathan vs. Nurture'

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 20th 2010 10:16AM
bill_pullman_headshot_2008NBC seems anxious to bounce back in a significant way. The network has a long way to go, but casting Bill Pullman in the sitcom pilot 'Nathan vs. Nurture' was a good step. It's not just that Pullman, who's a terrific actor and extremely funny, will be on the show. It's that he's going to play opposite Jay Harrington, who was announced as the star a few days ago. Those two guys together equals potential hysteria... in a good way.

The premise of 'Nathan vs. Nurture' is promising. Jay's character is a successful heart surgeon who discovers that he was adopted and meets his biological family. And Bill Pullman is his real dad, Arthur. There are also siblings that Nathan's never met before, and between Arthur and the sibs, there's nothing that matches his level of accomplishment. How is it possible if they have the same genes? Well, that's where the comedy kicks in.

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'Better Off Ted's' Jay Harrington Snags NBC Pilot

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 18th 2010 12:29PM
Jay HarringtonLast week we told you that 'Better Off Ted's' Andrea Anders was joining the cast of Matthew Perry's new show 'Mr. Sunshine.' That was one minor sign that the cast of the ABC sitcom was looking for other work because the show was going to be canceled. Now here's the ultimate proof that the show is probably not coming back in the fall: no more Ted!

Jay Harrington, who plays Ted, has grabbed the lead in a new NBC sitcom pilot called 'Nathan vs. Nurture,' according to Variety. As Michael Schneider points out, when the star of a show gets another show, that's a good sign the other show isn't coming back. Harrington will play a heart surgeon who not only finds out who his biological are, he also finds out that he has several siblings (and I'm going to guess that these siblings are going to be wacky in some way).

James Burrows is going to direct the pilot so we know that at least that episode will be great.

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Jay Harrington to Star in NBC's 'Nathan vs. Nurture' -- Bad News for 'Better Off Ted'?

by Laura Prudom, posted Feb 18th 2010 12:00PM
Things are looking grim for 'Better Off Ted,' following the news that star Jay Harrington has landed the lead role in NBC's comedy pilot 'Nathan vs. Nurture.'

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the casting is still formally in second position to Harrington's role on 'Ted,' meaning he would have to give up the new role if the unexpected occurred and both 'Ted' and 'Nathan' were picked up for next season.

As things stand, on the bubble comedy 'Ted' is unlikely to return for a third season, having been placed on hiatus with its final two second season episodes yet to air.

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'Better Off Ted' and 'Desperate Housewives' Stars Get New Shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 10th 2010 3:33PM
Andrea AndersABC's 'Mr. Sunshine' is slowly becoming one of those shows where you say "wow, that sounds interesting." We already know that it stars Matthew Perry as a sports arena manager who rethinks his life when he turns 40 and that Allison Janney will costar with Perry. Now there's more casting news, and it involves another person who once costarred with Perry on an NBC show.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Andrea Anders, who now costars in ABC's 'Better Off Ted,' will play Perry's love interest in 'Mr. Sunshine' (sorry 'Better Off Ted' fans, but it doesn't look like that show is going to get renewed). She'll be joined by Nate Torrence, who costarred with Perry in 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip' (he played Dylan).

Jesse Metcalfe of 'Desperate Housewives' has a new show too. He'll costar in NBC's Jerry Bruckheimer drama 'Chase,' about a Texas law enforcement team.

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Review: Better Off Ted - Mess of a Salesman

by Mike Moody, posted Jan 27th 2010 8:00AM
better of ted mess abc
(S02E11) That's all, folks. This was the final scheduled episode of Better Off Ted, aka ABC's brightest, funniest and weirdest comedy in years. I'm really gonna miss this show, and I'm not looking forward to awaiting the network's final decision concerning its fate. Will BoT return to ABC? Could another network (say Comedy Central?) pick it up? I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tonight's episode wasn't exactly a classic, but it offered plenty of laughs, hilarious throwaway lines and a great guest turn from Warehouse 13's Eddie McClintock.

Casting McClintock as Ted's flaky brother Billy was a wonderful idea. The guy has excellent comic timing and he fit in perfectly with the rest of the cast and the crazy tone of the show. I loved how Billy brought out the primitive nut-slapping, titty-twisting version of Ted we rarely get to see. Billy's visit also prompted Phil and Lem to act reckless and order a ridiculous amount of cadavers, chomp down on "cheese apples" and wear tight leather pants.

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What's On Tonight: American Idol, Better Off Ted, NCIS: Los Angeles

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 26th 2010 12:13PM
White Collar
  • TBS has a marathon of The Office all night.
  • At 8, ABC has a new Scrubs, followed by a new Better Off Ted.
  • CBS has a new NCIS at 8, then a new NCIS: Los Angeles.
  • NBC has a new, two-hour Biggest Loser at 8, followed by a new Jay Leno Show.
  • FOX has new episodes of American Idol and Human Target.
  • At 9, ESPN2 has more coverage of The Australian Open.
  • Discovery has a new Dirty Jobs at 9.
  • A&E has a new Psychic Kids at 9, then new episodes of Paranormal State and Paranormal Cops.
  • History Channel has a new How The Earth Was Made at 9, followed by a new Life After People.
  • There's a new Last Restaurant Standing on BBC America at 9.
  • At 10, USA has a new White Collar.
  • Food Network has a new Chopped at 10.
  • Also at 10: Syfy has a new ECW.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk shows.

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Five keys to saving Better Off Ted

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 25th 2010 1:03PM
A couple of weeks ago, Kona wrote about the campaign to convince ABC to save Better Off Ted. Despite these grassroots efforts, the rating for Ted continue to be dismal and ABC probably has "cancel Better Off Ted" on the corporate to-do list.

That's a shame, because the more I watch of Better Off Ted, the better I think it is. Smart, funny, observant and surreal, Ted is an office comedy that makes deserves to survive. If more people gave it a shot, I think it would be a success. Maybe not a monster hit, but there aren't many of those in the sitcom field right now. Emmy winner 30 Rock is anything but a ratings hit.

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Review: Better Off Ted - Lust in Translation

by Mike Moody, posted Jan 20th 2010 10:30AM
better off ted lust in translation
(S02E10) Ted mixed business with pleasure again by hooking up with Greta, a sexy German exec whose broken English made her sound like a sexual deviant ("You and I do it I hope, the coming together?"). But after Greta's lunch proposal came out sounding like a much more private request ("Eat me?"), she started using Phil and Lem's translation device to communicate with Ted... in bed. Thankfully, the boys had fixed the machine's giant robot voice, but Ted was put off by its replacement, Phil's voice.

The funniest thing about this gag was Linda's reaction to hearing Phil's voice talking sexy to Ted. Not only did it make her lose the "Linda Bagel" championship, but she also seemed genuinely disturbed and crushed by what she was hearing. Veronica took advantage of the situation to steal Queen Linda the Dainty Foot's crown.

I love watching Veronica cozy up with the office drones to let loose every now and then. It was fun to see her ignore her work to practice her "Linda Bagel" pitch in this episode.

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What's On Tonight: Nova, American Idol, Scrubs, White Collar

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 19th 2010 12:14PM
  • ChoppedAt 8, NBC has a new, two-hour Biggest Loser, followed by a new Jay Leno Show.
  • FOX has a new American Idol at 8.
  • PBS has a new Nova at 8.
  • TCM has Inherit The Wind at 8, followed by Block-Heads.
  • At 9, ABC has a new Scrubs, then a new Better Off Ted.
  • Discovery has a new Dirty Jobs at 9.
  • History Channel has a new How The Earth Was Made at 8, then a new Life After People.
  • BBC America has a new Last Restaurant Standing at 9.
  • At 10, USA has a new White Collar.
  • Food Network has a new Chopped at 10.
  • A&E has a new Paranormal State at 10, followed by a new Paranormal Cops.
  • Spike has a new Blue Mountain State at 10.
  • HBO has a new Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
  • Also at 10: Syfy has a new ECW.

Check your local TV listings for more.

After the jump, the late night talk shows.

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Review: Better Off Ted - The Long and Winding High Road

by Mike Moody, posted Jan 13th 2010 12:02PM
better off ted high road
(S02E09) Another solid episode from one of the funniest shows on TV. "The Long and Winding High Road" was a great companion piece to the brilliant 8 p.m. ep. I didn't think anything could top getting "Phil-a-busted," but I actually found myself laughing more during this episode than I did while watching "The Impertence Of Communicationizing."

Again, Ted's storyline kinda went nowhere, but we still got the usual stream of non-stop jokes and clever callbacks. We learned that Ted is such a stand-up guy that he opts to take the high road in any situation, even when his office rival is trying to undermine his latest project.

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Review: Better Off Ted - The Impertence of Communicationizing

by Mike Moody, posted Jan 13th 2010 11:42AM
better off ted 1 12 10
(S02E08) In the spirit of this episode, lemme just say that ABC is a wasteland full of baboon-butted snot wipes for not giving this show a better timeslot.

OK, it felt good to get that out. Now let's get on with this ...

I hate corporate memos. I hate the jargon, the suggestions, and especially the phony "Ra Ra Ra, Go Team!" messages that are usually tacked on at the end of them. But I've never received a memo advising me to insult my co-workers with abusive language. Of course, I've never worked for Veridian Dynamics, a place where sexual harassment is considered a disease and people are attacked by super lice.

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