Great Shows that Got Cancelled, Installment 1: Better Off Ted


So, sometimes shows I really like get cancelled.  In this post, I wanted to reminisce a little about one of them, Better Off Ted, starring Jay Harrington and Portia de Rossi.  In this comedy, Ted is (or was) a well-meaning single dad trying to do the right thing in a soulless corporation which builds new technological advances and tries every trick out there to maximize profit.

This show had a lot of great deadpan humor and strong writing that created hilarious situations.  Some favorites include the “Racial Sensitivity” episode, “Through Rose Colored Hazmat Suits,” and “Jabberwocky.”  The company often makes funny and devastating mistakes at the expense of its employees, showing its inability to understand people.  The show is broken up at times with commercials such as:

“Doing the Right Thing–it’s important.  What does it mean in business?  We don’t know yet.  We know what wrong is–actually, no we don’t, because we’re a successful company, not some boring ethics professor…Veridian Dynamics.  Right and wrong.  It means something.  We just don’t know what.”

Images from Wikipedia

The company’s perspective is most often embodied by Portia de Rossi’s character, Veronica, who plays Ted’s boss and the supervisor of a section of the company.  After the company works its employees excessively in order to prepare for the upcoming “Relaxxxicon” event, and one employee dies, Ted protests the company’s response: a half day off for a memorial service.  Veronica explains why the company won’t change its policies, saying, “The company feels that if we ease up just because one person dies, it may encourage other people to die.”

In the “Through Rose Colored Hazmat Suits” episode of season 1, Ted brings his daughter, Rose, to work when his nanny is unexpectedly unavailable.  He doesn’t want to leave her at Veridian’s daycare when he discovers that the children in the daycare are being used for custodial work on the company grounds.  Rose has a large effect on Ted’s coworkers, Veronica included, at least once Veronica sees Rose.

Ted: “Did you even notice I have my daughter with me today?”

Veronica: “I look at people’s eyes when I talk to them, Ted, not at their waists.”

When Veronica asks Ted to go to the lab, where he cannot bring his daughter, he’s hesitant to let Veronica watch Rose:

Ted: “I have to watch Rose.”

Veronica: “I can wash Rose.”

Ted: “I said ‘watch her,’ not ‘wash her.'”

Veronica: “Hmm.  Even easier.”

Ted: “The fact that you thought I was going to go wash Rose right now makes me think you makes me think you may not know that much about children.”

Veronica: “I know they need to be cleaned.”

After some initial stumbling, Veronica bonds with Rose when she realizes that Rose is useful in helping her to manipulate her boss and employees.  People are reluctant to yell, cry, or make a scene in front of a child.

Veronica: “You are very effective at getting people to control their emotions.  That is a huge asset.”

Rose: “Um…thank you?”

Veronica: “Yes, thank you is correct.”

Did anyone else watch this when it was on?  For those Amazon Prime users out there, both seasons are available with your subscription through Amazon Prime Instant Video.  I hope you enjoy.  I had fun looking back on favorite lines and characters–this show had fantastic writing!

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