Ted: "Phil, just because they use the word "whee" doesn't mean it's a good thing. Remember 'Whee! It's Pension Rollbacks'?"
Phil: "Oh, actually that was fun.. until they rolled back our pensions."
Does a show that went off the air three years ago count under the umbrella as "throwback?" Probably not, but Better off Ted was such a fantastic show that it deserves all of the attention that it can get. You have the power to bring it back Netflix! With the absurdity of Arrested Development and the jokes per minute of 30 Rock , Ted takes the usual ho-hum sitcom venue of the workplace, but puts it in the arena of an evil corporation packed with wacky coworkers! Think Abaddon from Enlightened , but lighthearted and hilarious.
The show centers around Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington) who works at Veridian Dynamics - the worst, soulless corporation that you could ever think of whose motto is literally "Profits before People" (in Latin, of course). He is the quintessential middle manager who has some authority but never enough. He is a single father that has to navigate how to be a successful cog in this awful machine while still being a great dad. His boss Veronica, played by Portia de Rossi, is a merger of the best and worst of the female ideal of a boss. She's a gorgeous, take-no-prisoners type A personality without a conscience, always ready to tear someone down with a witty comment that both devastates the individual while making herself even more lovable. Linda is Ted's co-worker/potential love interest who acts as the person of relative rationality in this crazy, crazy world. Phil and Lem are the adorable lab techs creating borderline insane inventions such as: energy patches that can easily mistaken to be band-aids, personal jet-packs, and of course the octo-chicken.
What sets this show apart is how incisive the satire is. From gauging interactions between bosses and their employees, to something as benign as parents selling their kids' wrapping paper to unsuspecting co-workers (the competition is intense), the show is so crazy and so obviously unrealistic that it can act as a sort of fun-house mirror that exaggerates truths and facts so you can actually notice them.
Favorite Episode : Season One, Episode Three - Racial Sensitivity: In this episode, the idea of diversity (or shocking lack thereof) in the workplace, is mercilessly ridiculed under an appropriately absurd situation - first, Veridian installs a brand new light sensor that operated by reading the reflection off of the user's skin. The only problem? It doesn't see black people. Their solution (other than also installing manual drinking fountains for blacks), is to hire white people to follow black people around. And to prevent lawsuits they had to hire black people to follow around those white people, and then white people to follow around those black people to make sure the sensors worked... and you can see where I'm going with this.
Should you Watch? Of course! With only two seasons and 26 episodes, Better off Ted isn't a huge time commitment, and it's streaming in its entirety on Netflix. Do it... Seriously, I need more people to talk about this show with.