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What to Binge This Weekend: ‘Better Off Ted’

This week, my binge-watching recommendation begins with a mea culpa. I remember watching the first episode of Better Off Ted on ABC, which Wikipedia tells me came aired on March 18, 2009, which is a nice reminder that we’re all slowly dying. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t over the moon about it. The next week, I forgot to watch it. Bear in mind, this was 2009. Everything wasn’t available to stream all the time. So when I missed, it that was that. Maybe I could have found it online somewhere potentially, but I took it as a sign I wasn’t that into Better Off Ted, and didn’t watch anymore episodes.

Several years later, I saw it on Netflix (it’s on Hulu now, all you streamers out there). I decided to give it a shot, needing something to watch. I immediately recognized the error of my ways. Better Off Ted is a delightfully silly and fun show, and you should definitely consider giving it a watch.

Much in the vein of creator Victor Fresco’s other sitcom Andy Richter Controls the Universe (which I did watch in its entirety) this show is extremely ridiculous. Also, it breaks the fourth wall, which was the one thing I remember having a little bit of an issue with. Well, that and I felt they spent too much time in the pilot on Ted’s relationship with his precocious tween daughter. It’s kind of like how I got real bummed at the end of the Mad Men pilot when I found out Don had a family. Everything going on at the Draper home was such a snooze, I gave up on the show during the first season. That’s right. Fight me.

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Ted Crisp is the head of research for Veridian Dynamics a company that…well, it does all sorts of insane stuff. This is an absurdist comedy show. In the pilot, they put one of the scientists in a cryonics chamber, for example. There are a few other main characters. There are the wacky scientists in the lab coming up with creations. There’s the woman who is the love interest. Then, there’s Ted’s boss, Veronica, the gem of the show. Veronica is played by Portia de Rossi, of Arrested Development fame. Her deadpan nihilism as Veronica is perfect.

There are aspects of Better Off Ted dedicated to satirizes corporate culture and big companies seemingly looking for global domination. It’s all done in a silly way, though. Don’t expect an acid tongue. This is a goofy, dumb comedy. However, it’s super funny. You get a lot of good, strong laughs, and the jokes fly fast and furious. If you like that kind of comedy, like a 30 Rock or an Angie Tribeca but not quite as good as either of those shows, you should definitely check Better Off Ted out.

Also, I’m sorry to Better Off Ted I didn’t watch the show when it aired. It only lasted two seasons and 26 episodes, and two of them never actually aired. Hey, that makes for easy binging these days. Maybe Better Off Ted was ahead of its time. Or maybe it’s that title, which is, admittedly, really dumb.

About Chris Morgan

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