Thursday, December 10, 2009

Better Off Ted back in business

     Last spring's surprise hit, Better Off Ted, has returned!  For whatever reason, ABC opted to run new episodes this summer after a strong spring premiere, so Ted had to wait until December before it could bank up enough new ones to begin its second season.  The president's speech last week delayed the start date an extra seven days.  As one of my favorite shows of last year, I must say, it was well worth the wait!

     The show takes place at the thankfully fictional Veridian Dynamics, which appears to be a company that invents and makes just about everything, especially the zany and unusual.  There is usually a 'commercial' for the company during one of the breaks.  Veronica (Portia de Rossi, Arrested Development) oversees the pivotal department as the straight laced powerhouse, and the manager underneath her that sees to the day to day operations is Ted (Jay Harrington, Private Practice and Desperate Housewives).  Ted is in love with coworker Linda (The Class and Joey's Andrea Anders), but they have decided it is not a good idea for them to date.  Rounding out the staff are scientist geniuses (genii?) Lem (Malcolm Barrett) and Phil (Jonathan Slavin, Summerland).  Each week there is usually some unusual invention, and a host of personal issues.

     I fell in love with the first season, and the premiere of season two lived up to expectations.  This week, Phil and Lem were growing a fast-reproducing moss for NASA, but the big plot was that Veridian had genetically matched their single employees.  While Linda and Ted tried to resist their pairings, the found their number one options to be very attractive (Linda's was Taye Diggs, taking a break from Private Practice), and soon broke off the pact.  Of course, true to the nature of the show, incredibly, unexpected wackiness ensued.  Even funnier, Veronica decided that Lem as the perfect match for her, so she demanded that he freeze his sperm.  Veridian apparently has no sexual harassment or personal liberty policies.  And poor Phil was told to get a vasectomy, on the house, courtesy of the company.

     Each actor pulls their own weight splendidly, leading to the best truly ensemble comedy in a very long time, definitely of last year's television season.  Though Ted is the title character, everything doesn't usually revolve around him, though he may eventually get involved.  The strange world he inhabits is what makes the show works, and with or without him, it could successfully go on.  Let's hope for the foreseeable future, it's with him, and it goes on a long time.

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