I’m starting to worry my liking of any new show is automatically its kiss of death (look no further than Kings and Pushing Daisies). The most recent example? Better Off Ted. Even though last night’s new episode increased its total viewership from last week, I’m not sure if its 4.7 million viewers (and counting!) are enough to save it from the graveyard. It’s such a shame, too, since the workplace-set comedy is the most promising new sitcom I’ve seen in ages. (Luckily, I’m not alone — Ken Tucker agrees with me, too.)
There’s plenty to like about Better Off Ted, and I can assure you it is much, much better than its eye-rolling title. For one thing, the (small) cast is uniformly strong. Jay Harrington, who you may recall from Desperate Housewives and Private Practice, exudes a cool, easy charm that brings to mind both Jon Hamm and George Clooney. Portia de Rossi is deliciously droll as Ted’s self-absorbed, no-nonsense boss. Admittedly, she’s doing a more socially awkward variation of her character on Arrested Development, but you won’t catch me complaining. She’s fantastic. And the supporting cast — Andrea Anders (Linda), Malcolm Barrett (Lem) and Jonathan Slavin (Phil) — completely sell the increasingly ludicrous story lines, like last night’s episode when Lem and Phil accidentally drugged Linda with an energy-enhancing band-aid. (Pictured: said drugging takes effect!) Stuff like that happens all the time at Veridian Dynamics, the multi-million dollar corporation they all work for. Already we’ve seen someone get frozen (poor Phil!), pumpkins developed as weapons, and beef made out of thin air. The best part? Each episode contains a faux-advertisment for Veridian Dynamics. They’re consistently hilarious.
I like Better Off Ted and it’s cutesy reality-meets-fantasy tone. I just hope it’s around long enough to develop an audience, which might not be in the cards since ABC has been a little cancel-happy these days. (Need I mention Pushing Daisies again?) Have you been tuning in, PopWatchers? If not, how come? Too many other shows flooding your DVR’s?