Better Off Ted

Are you watching Better Off Ted? According to Variety hardly anyone is watching it, less than two million viewers per week, which baffles me. It's a hilarious show that I have to watch on my DVR because I laugh so much, and for so long, I'd miss half the show if I was trying to watch it in real time. With the DVR I can pause it and not miss more dialogue. It's a half hour comedy that takes place mostly at the offices of an enormous company called Veridian Dynamics, a company that makes everything, including weaponized vegetables.

The protagonist is called Ted, a single father who tries to do the right thing and keep everyone balanced while working for a completely unprincipled company. His eight-year-old daughter's name is Rose and she frequently offers valuable insight into his work choices, mostly by discussing them with him and helping him see them from her perspective. His boss is Veronica, who comes off as something of a cold fish, and is utterly determined and literal. Most of Veronica's coworkers are very careful to explain precisely what they mean lest she take them the wrong way. She's also rather scary, because she appears to lack compassion and social skills. Ted also works closely with Linda, who works under him in the testing department. She's quite flirty but also blows hot and cold and is kind of confusing. She prides herself on always doing the right thing and is the conscience of Veridian Dynamics, something Veronica doesn't think the company needs. For me, she's also the least interesting character. I don't find her perky, and I don't think her cutesy demeanor is all that entertaining.

My very favorite characters, by far, are Phil and Lem, the two scientists who are extremely funny and dear friends. They work in the development department inventing all sorts of crazy things. In one episode they end up battling a biocomputer with an ulcer, which leaks an awful ooze all over the office. They're very close, perhaps closer than they realize. In an early episode Phil is cryogenically frozen for one year and Lem is dismayed by how much his life is impacted by Phil's absence. When the experiment goes wrong and is accidentally terminated early Phil has some pretty serious after effects, which Lem also has a hard time dealing with. The two scientists spend a fair amount of time being upset with each other but they always work out their differences and forgive each other, which makes me happy. It's nice to see friendships working the way they should, without any "after school special" feelings.

One of the things that makes this show so funny is the advertisements. Every episode features a commercial for Veridian Dynamics that's sublimely ridiculous. Here's one I like about competition, which features hurricane-proof dogs, among other things. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia8OKMlqxLs You can find several more on YouTube, including the one that ABC made in reaction to President Obama's speech taking the spot when Better Off Ted normally ran called When Presidents Talk.

Full episodes are available online. You can access them at the ABC site, http://abc.go.com/primetime/betteroffted/index?pn=index, or you can watch them through Hulu, whichever you prefer. Of course if you get them direct from ABC it might help them with tracking and make them realize that yes, this is a show people like and should definitely be renewed. I'm just saying.

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Ereader who writes in to say, "I can't believe Amazon deleted all those books. Do we own the books or not? Could they send some thugs around to steal 1984 right out of my bookshelf? I don't think so. They shouldn't be allowed to gank it from my Kindle either. Fail Amazon, FAIL!!!!" Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.