Better Off Ted

Currently rewatching Better Off Ted, and spreading the word. I stumbled on this show by accident back when it wasn’t cancelled – which is how all intelligent shows seem to end up, thanks to poor scheduling by people lacking in a sense of humour and intelligence.

Better Off Ted revolves around the concept of characters working for a stereotypically evil company, a fact of which they are all aware. The company, Veridian Dynamics, experiments on its employees, twists the truth, and will stop at nothing to achieve its goals. It has been mentioned that Veridian has swayed presidential elections, created killer pandas and robots, and that there are only three governments left in the world which are more powerful than Veridian. The characters often try to manipulate the system in order to stop bad things from happening to them, but they are also susceptible to the potential rewards the company can offer despite the consequences of their actions, such as the company’s attempt to hire Lem’s mother, or the company’s introduction of scented light bulbs with known flaws. Much of the comedy of the show comes from the characters’ navigation of these morally ambiguous areas.

Jay Harrington, who plays Ted Crisp on the show, serves as both a main character and as an on-camera narrator. Throughout the show, he breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to viewers, offering inside information and observations while the action continues around him. Another plot element involves the use of mock commercials for Veridian Dynamics, thematically related to individual episodes and placed at the end or beginning of actual commercial breaks. ~Wikipedia

My favourite sample episode would have to be Racial Sensitivity. I love the way the show approaches such sensitive [workplace] topics. It makes light of the situation, of course, but in so doing, also points out the issue so very clearly. Such is the power of good satire.

A new motion-sensor system creates racial problems when it proves unable to sense darker skin.

Commercial: Veridian Dynamics. Diversity: just the thought of it makes these white people smile. We believe everyone works best when they work together, even if they’re just standing around. Just like we enjoy varieties of food, we enjoy varieties of people. Even though we can’t eat them. At Veridian Dynamics, we’re committed to a multiethnic workplace. You can shake on it. Veridian Dynamics. Diversity. Good for us.

Ted: The [motion sensor] system doesn’t see black people?
Veronica: I know. Weird, huh?
Ted: That’s more than weird, Veronica. That’s basically, well… racist.
Veronica: The company’s position is that it’s actually the opposite of racist, because it’s not targeting black people. It’s just ignoring them. They insist the worst people can call it is “indifferent.”
Ted: Well, they know it has to be fixed, right? Please… at least say they know that.
Veronica: Of course they do, and they’re working on it. In the meantime they’d like everyone to celebrate the fact that it sees Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Jews.

Veronica: I know what it’s like to see the ugly face of discrimination.
Lem: You do?
Veronica: Yes, I do. When I was 16, I was 5’9″ and stunning. I mean, off-the charts gorgeous. At school, I was like a swan among the ugly ducklings. all the other girls hated me. And like our light sensors are doing to you, totally ignored me. If it wasn’t for the modeling contracts and the comfort of college boys, I don’t know if I would have made it.
Phil: Wow. I had no idea.
Veronica: No, how could you? You’re still not 5’9″

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