“Trust and Consequence”
July 13th, 2009
The truth of the matter is that Better Off Ted’s summer ratings have been less than impressive, and that the consequence is that the show likely isn’t making much of an impression heading into its second season in the fall. However, right now, I don’t care. The real truth of the matter is that the show remains absolutely fantastic, with a laugh ratio that most comedies can only dream of.
“Trust and Consequence” was another example of the show’s ability to take one idea and run with it. This wasn’t an episode that was about a particular series of plotlines, but rather one event that creates logical consequences that are all quite humorous, with jokes piling onto jokes in a way that makes the conclusion where everything comes to a speedy end feel both clever and like leaving a great story while its quality is still high.
I don’t have too much to say, but some thoughts after the jump.
The sequence in this episode that really stuck out for me is the Deposition sequence. I love depositions in general, especially when you see them happening to different people: the Office got some great material from Michael’s deposition, primarily because it brings out both a lot of nervous energy or the chance to take complete control. In Veronica’s case, it’s a chance for her to exhibit her ability to completely withhold all emotion and information. And yet, that’s when her characters is the funniest. It was an amazing sequence: “Ouch,” “Cleverly,” and everything else was a really strong example of the way that Veronica somehow remains a less is more character. Many other shows would try to broaden her character, or feature her more often, but the show knows how to use Portia de Rossi perfectly.
And then you have Ted’s deposition, where the two lawyers literally fall in love with him on the spot – watching the female lawyer melt like putty was perhaps a bit too simple, but when the male lawyer comes into it, and when they both “awww” when he mentions his daughter, it just plain works. What makes Ted work as a straight man is that the show knows when the funny thing is his efforts to be funny failing and when he’s inadvertantly creating reactions that are funny for us as an audience. His earnestness is often a bit too, well, earnest, but when played right the character brings a lot of comedy into the show, plus some heart when it comes to his relationship with Linda and his daughter.
Combine it all with the clever flashback structure (I especially liked the quick “Huh?” with the 60s outfits for Phil and Lem), as well as the greatness of the entire drug scheme (selling the copier, the green eggs and ham rhymes at the press conferences, everything else), and it was just a really fun half hour of television – if you’re not watching this show yet, you better be doing so by the time September rolls around.
- Thinking aloud here, I wonder if ABC has any plans on releasing the DVD set at any point in the fall. This seems like the kind of show that could get some recommendations through that method, plus word of mouth, especially if it ended up on NetFlix Watch Instantly or something similar. I’m not sure if the show is on Hulu yet (Other ABC shows are), but again, there’s a lot of ways they could get the word out about the show without high ratings for these episodes.
- I don’t know what bit of comedy I liked best from Phil and Lem – was it the “The guys. The girl” line about MIT, or the fact that Phil’s rugby team was named the Syphilitic Conquistadors? OrDe maybe their shark week conversation? I don’t even know.
- The entire ideal compromiser runner really reminded me of Pushing Daisies and, well, that’s a damn good thing. Don’t kill this too, America/ABC.
- One of my favourite things about the show is how it’s like there’s other shows happening that we’re not seeing: the lawyers’ brainstorming reasons the perfume would attract hornets (“the women had it coming” was trumped by”Bee Hive Hairdos” for me) could have made an episode in and of itself.