Hey, remember scripted TV? You know, that funny, smart stuff that used to make you chortle and laugh on a regular basis? Well, it still exists (sometimes we're surprised, too) and one of the better examples of what smart TV writers can do with a good joke, a good-looking cast and a unique point of view (think Arrested Development meets an old Far Side cartoon) returns tonight in the form of ABC's Better Off Ted.
To catch you up on what you missed if you didn't watch last season (and judging by the ratings, you didn't) and to ready you for the funny coming in season two, we caught up with creator Victor Fresco, who spilled about the show's central romance between Ted (Jay Harrington) and Linda (Andrea Anders) and what dastardly deeds gorgeous Veridian flunky Portia De Rossi's Veronica is up to this year...
What can you tell us about the Linda-Ted-Veronica triangle this season?
We don't hit Linda-Ted in every episode, but there's some progress toward the end of this season between Linda and Ted. There's actually progress in the Linda-Veronica relationship, too. They're opposites, but they also have a couple of adventures where they need each other and have a grudging respect for each other.
What can you tell us about the new character of Ted's brother?
Ted's brother is a wilder version of Ted. Eddie McClintock is the actor who plays him, but he's had a lot more failure than Ted and floats in and out of different jobs. The brother comes into Ted's life and Ted's daughter Rose's life, so Ted wants him to stay around. Ted gets him a job at Veridian, where things don't go that well, but Ted tries to patch it up because he really wants his brother to stay in town, but ultimately he can't look the other way. Ted gets him a job selling lab equipment and so the brother then immediately starts selling Phil and Lem all the stuff that they don't need, including a cadaver—not just a cadaver but a cadaver-of-the-month program. [Veridian Dynamics scientists] Phil and Lem (Jonathan Slavin and Malcolm Barrett) say, "Every day we get a new dead body whether we're finished with the old one or not."
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How else are you expanding the cast this season?
What we try to do is just grow the world. Merrin Dungey, she's great, we've had her in I think three or four episodes this year. She's a cubicle worker and through a series of misunderstandings, Linda is accused of sexually harassing her. She tries to comfort her, and it goes terribly wrong, and so a complaint is filed against Linda. The company has this problem with sexual harassment, so the company has decided to redefine sexual harassment as a disease, because that way you can't sue because it's a disease, like alcoholism.
Now, it's not as much fun as storyline stuff, but what kind of ratings do you think the network would like to see?
They haven't said, but I think obviously it's about retention, and where we are in terms of the Scrubs audience. I think if we hold Scrubs' audience or hold 90 percent of it, I think that's all we can be expected to do. I don't know what kind of numbers they're thinking Scrubs is gonna do.
For the folks at home who might not have seen it yet, why should they watch Better Off Ted?
Better Off Ted is just a really fun social satire with fun relationship stuff, and I think if people watch they'd really enjoy it. It's about how many of us in our personal lives want to do the right thing, and we try to raise children that are moral and know right from wrong, and there's some disconnect when we go into the corporate world and become horrible people and do terrible things and somehow don't think about it. There's something about that corporate environment that the mad pursuit of money makes any kind of morality just fall away. So the show sort of came out of that, how are we as family people, how are we one way with our family and a completely different way when we get into the corporate environment.
Oh, and in case he didn't mention, we here at WWK certify this show as 100 percent smart and loopy and funny. Give it a chance, will ya?
Better Off Ted season two premieres tonight at 9:30 on ABC. (And if you haven't caught this show yet, the highly recommended first season is available on DVD and Blu-Ray right this minute.)
Are you planning to watch the new episodes of Better Off Ted? And have you seen any of the new episodes of time-slot buddy Scrubs? What do you think?
Check out our winter premiere-dates calendar to find out when your fave series return after the holidays!