Better Off Ted premiered last night on ABC in the 8:30 timeslot after Scrubs. As we had mentioned, the show received rave reviews from critics and as it turned out, it was all true! The series centers around Ted, played by Jay Harrington, who is the head of research and development for a huge corporation, Veridian Dynamics. Basically, the company’s philosophy is that no idea is too unethical as long as it will make the company money. Ted’s boss Veronica, played brilliantly by Portia de Rossi, is the personification of the company’s lack of morality. She lives to make Veridian Dynamic money, with a complete lack of sensitivity and morality.
The voice of reason, in an office that seems completely unreasonable, is Linda, one of ted’s employee’s, who is the only person in the office that seems to questions VD’s actions, like cryogenically freezing employees, creating itchy, uncomfortable chairs that increase worker productivity, and turning pumpkins into weapons. The other moral touchstone in Ted’s life is his 6-year-old daughter whom he is raising alone after her mother “left to go save the world”. As he tells her about his work dilemmas, she reminds him of the difference between right and wrong. The relationship between Ted and his daughter and his relationship with Linda (which borders on the romantic but Ted won’t go there because he already used his one allotted “office affair” with Veronica) keep the show centered. Like Pushing Daisies or Eli Stone, there is an absurd sensibility to Better Off Ted but there are also these touches of normal, found in his relationship with daughter and Linda, that may help Ted find a wider audience.
The series premiered to a decent audience of 5.6 million (and that was against American Idol). Hopefully, the show’s clever scripts and perfect casting will bring back viewers and Ted can avoid the fate of ABC’s other risky ventures.
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