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TV on DVD: "Better Off Ted: Season One"

Every now and then a comedy series comes along that's so wickedly inspired and so incisive that it's a shame that so few viewers are actually tuning in.

This past season, that series was ABC's little gem of a single-camera comedy, Better Off Ted. Created by Victor Fresco (who also gave birth to the way undervalued comedy Andy Richter Controls the Universe), Better Off Ted is an wittily acidic workplace comedy revolving around shady multinational corporation Veridian Dynamics and its employees.

Specifically, we're taken inside the head of the company's self-appointed moral compass Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington), a single dad who is the head of Veridian's R&D department and who (sometimes) draws the line at creating products that are outright designed to make people's lives worse. Sometimes, anyway. Ted has a crush on his researcher Linda (Andrea Anders) but he used up his "office affair" on their terrifyingly icy boss Veronica (Portia de Rossi). Ted oversees a team of crack scientists including Phil (Jonathan Slavin) and Lem (Lem Hewitt), who are the best of the best.

But it's not all weaponized pumpkins. Better Off Ted is at its heart an exploration of workplace mores. Particularly, how the employees manage to keep their sanity and humanity while working at a company that produces seemingly everything under the sun. The series deftly satirizes Veridian's slew of products via integrated (and hysterical) commercials with a revolving door of punny taglines.

Fox Home Entertainment today releases the first season of Better Off Ted on DVD. The two-disc release contains all thirteen hilarious installments from Ted's first season but, unfortunately, little else. There are no extras, no featurettes. For a series as smart, innovative, and unique as Better Off Ted, I had hoped that the studio would have offered something more than a bare-bones DVD release.

I would have loved to have gone behind the scenes of Ted and gotten some information about the genesis of the idea from Fresco or seen de Rossi slipping out of character on a gag reel. Alas, we'll have to make do with the episodes themselves, which are slick and acerbic, just the way I like my comedy.

Ultimately, Better Off Ted is a sharp parody of corporate culture and of consumerism. It's the perfect addition to your DVD library... and just in time for the launch of Season Two next week on ABC.

Better Off Ted: Season One is available today for purchase on DVD for a suggested retail price of $29.98.

Comments

Marissa said…
Aw, I love Better Off Ted and think it definitely deserves more attention. I'm looking forward to season two!
Tonya Ricucci said…
I love this show - sorry to hear that the DVD set got so little love.

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