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“Better Off Ted”-Season - (1)
Wayne Klein
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video
TV - Series
Release Date:
Special Features:



Smart TV shows usually die even with a devoted following. I’m thinking of “Arrested Development” type of TV shows that assume that the audience doesn’t need an applause track, dares to do something radically different within the format and yet touch on the humanity of all those involved. A show like “Seinfeld” or even “The Office” is rare than you think and there are only so many brain cells it seems that the audience can devote to intelligent comedy. ***

“Better Off Ted” airs on ABC lost at 9:30pm on Tuesday. Those few folks that have followed this funny, terrific show from the beginning are in for a treat but with only 3.8 million viewers following the show, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to follow it for long. The series set in a large, soulless corporation that creates scientific innovations turned into marketable products for you and me(like the many I’ve worked for in my day job where they treat people as interchangeable cogs much as, for example, Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals did recently in laying off 750 employees over the Thanksgiving Holiday with nary a thought as to the social responsibility that ALL corporations have to insure the financial health of our society…no, CEO’s don’t have a conscience they beat that out of most of them with statistical baseball bats as they climb the corporate ladder that prove that everything is just numbers not people). The show follows department head Ted (Jay Harrington) and his uptight boss Veronica (Portia de Rossi) at Veridian Dynamics a R&D company developing everything from “bio-warfare” pumpkins to leather chairs that will sent you in search of the nearest chiropractor. “Better Off Ted” manages to be a deft satire of the multi-national corporations that we’ve handed over the bulk of the world’s business to without asking for credentials. Seriously, there’s something to be said for competition unfortunately the United States and much of the rest of the world have been lulled to sleep with the promise of big financial payouts to those who vote for such mergers. “Better Off Ted” gives us the inside scoop that points out that big corporations are the same as big government but without a purpose. ---

Image & Sound:

“Ted” looks surprisingly good with a nice transfer. Colors, clarity and detail are quite sharp in its presentation. The show is primarily dialogue driven so don’t expect any major use of the surround speakers throughout most of the show and you won’t be disappointed. Sure, there is some use for ambiance but on the whole this is front and center speaker driven. ---

Special Features:

Unless you consider previews and close captioning special features, this set is pretty bare bones and disappointing as a result. I would love to have had an intelligent commentary track or two (or three) or a featurette that points out the parallels between our “new” corporate idiot savant world and the TV series (it is obvious right?) but that would be asking for too much I suppose. ---

Final Words:

Corporations are already so big that they communicate like big lumbering dinosaurs and often with as much insight/intelligence. If “Big Government” was the bad words of the day during the Reagan Administration (and it appears that at least one political party continues to use that outmoded mantra vs. focusing on effective government) then “Big multi-national corporation” will be the bad buzz word for the next generation. It appears that Wall Street doesn’t have the…you know what…to tackle these issues (and the companies keep rewarding CEO’s who drive the economy into the ground to increase stock shares by 5 cents all the while laying off the very people who might BUY their product if they had jobs) so the job is left to “Ted”. Here’s hoping that the rest of America picks up on this deft satire and realizes that CEO’s and others within the idiotic companies they work for are driving the free market into the ground. Hopefully Fox won’t realize that THEY are one of the targets of a show like this even if all they manufacture is news and entertainment and NOT “product”. Catch “Ted” before he’s gone.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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