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What to Watch: “Better Off Ted”

December 9th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

When Hulu sat down with Jay Harrington last week, he was concerned. It turns out, the actor is worried that not enough of us are watching his show, Better Off Ted, a droll series that tracks the experiments-gone-wrong inside the R&D department of a soulless mega-corporation, Veridian Dynamics. (Harrington plays Ted, the straight man surrounded by a relentless boss and socially awkward scientists.)

The season premiere — “Love Blurts” — kicks off with workplace romance, done in a way that’s truly fitting for a company like Veridian. It turns out, the corporate bigwigs upstairs have a typically outlandish way to cut costs: by pairing up genetically compatible employees to save on insurance bills.

The storyline also sets Veronica (Portia de Rossi) to thinking about her own fertility options: “Using your DNA would only be my plan E, behind fall in love and breed, clone, take one of my sister’s kids, or rip out the whole works and sail around the world.” (We won’t spoil her top compatibility match at Veridian.)

So how much of “Ted” is similar to Harrington? Well, Harrington is athletic — the Boston-area native regularly plays hockey and participates on the NBA Entertainment League — but we’re seeing more of him in Ted as the writers work the real man into the character. For instance, when Phil says “This is why we draw pictures of him as a superhero,” it’s a subtle reference to Harrington’s childhood fascination with Batman. In addition, one of his long-time friends, actor Taye Diggs, makes an appearance on this episode, starring as a match for Linda (Andrea Anders).

In case you missed the first season of “Ted” while it was streaming on Hulu, get a feel for how things work at Veridian with one of its best episodes, “Jabberwocky” — and witness one hell of a business presentation.

Better Off Ted airs Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on ABC. Episodes are available on Hulu the day after broadcast.

Rebecca Harper ()