Tag Archives: better off ted

AMERICAN IDOL & BETTER Television

I know I’m in full-on nerd mode when I say this but I’m happy season 9 of Idol has started! Yes, this show can be corny and full of deluded, scary folks, but every once in a while they get it right and find a real star among the wannabes (I loved Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood during their respective seasons). Also, while I covered season 8 last year, Poncho dropped by, became one of the most insightful and witty commenters about the show, and has since continued to hang out here and become my cyber buddy. American Idol brings people together!

It’s too early to call anything but here are quick takes about last night’s premiere:

  • My favorites include Benjamin Bright with his smooth Aaron Neville-esque delivery of the Beatles’s “All My Loving,” the stunning Ashley Rodriguez (push-down-the-stairs alert!) and her rendition of Alicia Keyes’s “If I Ain’t Got You,” Katie “I Love My Portuguese Grandma” Stevens doing “At Last” better than Beyoncé at the Inaugural Ball, and Justin Williams, who made ME feel good when he sang “I’m Feelin’ Good,” Michael Bublé-style.
  • I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat myself here: Having Victoria Beckham judge a singing contest is like having Stevie Wonder judge Project Runway. How would she know anything about good singing? Everything was “nice.” Sample critique: “You have a nice smile, nice look, nice voice, nice personality. I say yes.” Thanks for that.
  • Most supportive relatives go to Amadeo Diricco‘s Italian clan, Bosa Mora‘s Nigerian folks, and Katie Stevens’s huge family who made Ryan Seacrest cry.
  • Funniest critique—Simon’s dissection of Norberto‘s audition, saying how weird it was that he sounded like a three-year-old girl but looked like LaToya Jackson with a beard, made me laugh. How will we manage without our favorite judge next year? Who could possibly replace him?
  • Did you spark to any singers last night?

After Idol, I switched to Better Off Ted on my DVR list. Please, please, please watch this show so it won’t die. The laughs-per-minute ratio is higher than any other show currently on and yes, that includes Modern Family and Glee, two of my favorites.

Two fresh episodes were on last night—I fear ABC is burning them off while anticipating cancelation—and the first one was a riot. The company Ted works for, Veridian Dynamics, is a really inappropriate corporation known for sending out memos full of typos then refusing to own up to them out of pride. The latest memo says, “Employees must NOW use offensive or insulting language in the workplace.”

Because higher-ups won’t admit they meant “NOT” instead of “NOW,” employees, even meek ones, let fly an endless barrage of rude insults at each other. The putdowns get more creative as people become more empowered and start enjoying telling others how they really feel. I laughed so hard, I had to repeatedly rewind to catch all the dialogue.

Even if you don’t watch much TV, sample it on ABC.com or hulu.com (the episode I mentioned is number 208, titled “The Impertence of Communicationizing”). I guarantee you’ll laugh. If not, come back here and tell me off since you must NOW use offensive language in the comments!

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BETTER OFF TED Better Than Some Sitcoms

better-off-ted-castminOther than 30 Rock, I haven’t seen a good network comedy in a long time so I had no expectations when I tuned in for the pilot of ABC’s Better Off Ted, a new sitcom from Victor Fresco (Andy Richter Controls the Universe). It wasn’t genius but made me chuckle. Then I tuned in again last week and the second ep made me laugh out loud. The humor is definitely absurd and may not be for everyone but it worked for me.

114822_9084The setting is at a corporation, Veridian Dynamics, that claims it can make anything, like turning a pumpkin into a weapon (by growing deadly mold on it) or beef without cows (by growing it in a lab). Jay Harrington stars as Ted, a research & development executive, and Portia de Rossi is his hilariously pompous boss. The strong supporting cast includes Andrea Anders (Joey) as a sweet but slightly nutty co-worker and Jonathan Slavin & Malcolm Barrett as a pair of bickering scientists.

Samples of funny lines from the first two episodes:

  • “Developing the next generation of food and food-like products…chickens that lay 16 eggs a day, which is a lot for a chicken. Organic vegetables chock full of anti-depressants. At Veridian Dynamics, we can even make radishes so spicy that people can’t eat them. But we’re not—because people can’t eat them.” —narration for a Veridian promo video
  • “Julie in Employee Services asked for my autograph. That’s right, Julie with those breasts in the front!”–Phil (Slavin) bragging to Lem (Barrett) about how he’s more popular at the company
  • “They originally suggested Lem, but freeze the black guy? They’re not stupid.” — Veronica  (de Rossi) to Ted about the decision to cryogenically freeze Phil just to see if they can 
  • “My mother once killed a bat with a People magazine.” — Lem about how tough his mama is
  • “The food division just told me that the Extra Fun Mac & Cheese…causes blindness if eaten more than twice a week.”   —Veronica to Ted about the failure of one of their products

If you find any of this funny, check out the show tonight (Wednesday) at 8:30 p.m. on ABC and let me know your thoughts. You can also see the first two eps on ABC.com.