As 2010 comes to a close, many writers take the time to write about the best shows of 2010. They often write about the popular and well received shows, categorizing them into the "best" field, but more often than not, it's the shows that are NOT being watched that deserve words of praise and encouragement.
So in light of this fact, I bring you my list of the top 5 shows that you didn't watch in 2010 in the hopes that you will make them part of your 2011 watching resolutions. The following shows are "on the bubble" are all severely underrated and could use a little bit of love.
Tonight's Better of Ted, "Mess of a Salesman," was less about the insane Veridian policies, and more about the insane people who work at Veridian. Ted's brother Billy is in town looking for a job, and he ends up as the new sales rep for lab supplies. On the other side, we have Veronica winning an award and recruiting Linda to help her raise money for a "Women in Leadership Mentors" charity.
The Ted/Billy storyline is good for a laugh, but overall it's not too interesting. Billy is an out of work salesman put in a position to sell Lem and Phil anything they can possibly imagine, and of course Lem and Phil get a bit carried away buying things like a monthly supply of cadavers, and robot family, and a wind tunnel. The real shining part of the episode was the team of Veronica and Linda as they went around the office getting money for charity.
Veronica and Linda work well together, with Veronica being the bad cop extorting thousands of dollars in guilt contributions, and Linda "talking" her down to a few hundred. The exchanges between Veronica and Linda are fast and classic. But once things start to go south (95% of the money goes to the company), we find that even Linda has a crazy dangerous streak as he head butts the foundation president, Mr. Page. (Through the edging on by Veronica of course.)
"Mess of a Salesman" deals a lot with the bonds we have between our siblings and the mentoring we do for each other. Sometimes the older takes care of the younger, and sometimes it's the younger that has to take care of the older. We often find ourselves either mentoring someone or being the men-tee, but in the end we all learn and grow when we are working together.
There is plenty of great dialog in this episode again, and the plot itself moves very fast. There isn't a lot of single quotable lines as much of the dialog sets up funny gags later in the episode. As usual, all the ramifications of the issues raised in the episode seem to resolve themselves one way or the other (the family of robots and wind tunnel are used to determine if robots are affected by wind), but "Mess of a Salesman" is a great example of the ensemble dynamic that this show does so well. Even with what could be it's weakest episode in terms of pure humor, Better of Ted is still magnitudes funnier than anything else on the air right now, and I'm sad to see it go now.
I love this show "100 and crazy percent". Farewell Better off Ted!
- Ted buys 3000 beakers from the lab supplier to get Billy a job. For the rest of the episode, we see him trying to justify the purchase by replacing items around the office with them, including the coffee mugs.
- Ted's great grandfather was a cow wrestler, who wrestled unruly cattle...for beer money.
- Theador-able vs Billy-has-a-little-willy
- "We can't leave work in the middle of the day. We're not somali pirates"
- Linda: "Well, I don't have a debilitating personality disorder that keeps me from caring about anything." Veronica: "First of all, it's not debilitating. It's liberating."
- "I don't wanna reject your body, you got enough of that from every girl in high school." - Ted to Billy
- Mr. Page is the classic sleazeball Rick Hoffman, while Billy is played by Warehouse 13 star Eddie McClintock.
- Veridian Dynamics Foundation: Helping the world by telling people we're helping the world.
- Veronica thinks a fawn is a woodland creature with scales and machine guns.
Lust in Translation brings us back to the silly story lines that don't have too much basis in reality, but provide ample chances of comedic events.
Ted is in charge of a corporate partnership between a German company to distribute translation devices. Of course the CEO of the German company is Greta Schultz, a blonde bombshell that Ted instantly looses all sanity over. On the other side, we have Linda actually getting the upper hand on the ever controlling Veronica in a game of Linda-Bagel, completely derailing Veronica as she seeks out her revenge and rematch. Gluing both of these plots together, we have Phil and Lem who have recently become aware that they are indeed evil mad scientists, who then attempt to find ways to redeem themselves.
Overall, there isn't much to the plot of this episode, as it's fairly simplistic with a typical man falls for woman from work, then screws up the relationship risking the business side as well. Of course Ted redeems himself at the end, though a bit too conveniently (and hilariously).
With that said though, it's still a pretty strong ensemble cast episode with plenty of laughs. I judge this show by how many lines I end up quoting as I take notes, and this is another "write the whole script down" episode.
- Stefanie von Pfetten (Greta) is a serial guest star. I guess she just has that look that
I lovepeople want.
- Germans think that Veridian is ruthlessly efficient and bent on world domination.
- Irish auditors think Veridian accounting drinks too much and writes overly depressing poetry.
- Lem: "Maybe we're evil scientists" Phil: "(Manic Evil Laughter) Sorry, I laugh like that when faced with an unpleasant truth. That's why I got thrown out of that Al Gore movie."
- "This isn't a library, you can't just leave your trash wherever you want." - Linda
- "We believe the Multi-Language Translator will create a furor in Germany, a furor that will sweet across Europe, crushing....no...." - Veronica
- "I'm good at everything I do. I'm not bragging, because bragging is the one thing I'm not good at. Although if I wanted to be I'd be excellent at that too. As I've just proved." - Veronica
- "Who wouldn't want to sound like a 90 food robot?" - Lem. Who indeed...
- Oh God, we have unhappy Germans. Nothing good has ever come from that." - Veronica
- "Put on your leather shorts, dark shoes, socks up to the knees and stomp around our fine city." - Veronica
- "This deal too important, and Sex can screw things up. Why do you think the Three Stooges whent though so many Curly's." - Veronica
- "Glasses and moustache are the same person" - Ted of Phil and Lem
- "Oh Queen Linda, the dainty footed." - Veronica of Linda
- "Flem and little bird man" - Greta of Phil and Lem
- "I like this voice. It's warm and friendly, and almost gender neutral." - Greta of Phil's voice
- The other talking machine project, a talking frying talking pan that screams when you put it on the burner, and criticizes your butter usage.
- Movies spoiled by Lem, Sixth Sense, Rocky 4, Godfather
- Art history degree = Time Waster's Hall of Fame (sorry Art history friends, but you know that's funny)
- "Using them would be like beating a unicorn to death with a bag of rainbows." - Lem
- Veronica is usually better at lying though her teeth on the spot, losing must have her frazzled.
- Veronica's taunt nicknames of Linda: Meat, Chicken bone
- I've never been so sure about being unsure about anything in my life" - Lem
Things that kill you in the lab:
- People skinning laser
- Man eating ficus
- Weight loss thing that kills people
Zing! Bang! In the second episode for tonight, we have a pretty heavily Ted centric narrative about taking the high road in life. Ted and his team are in a bitter competition with Pete Gilroy's team to make a floating anti-gravity jacket for children. Over the years, Ted and Pete have bitterly attacked each other's products to get ahead, and it's even spilled out into the hallways when they pass each other. Meanwhile, Phil and Lem have damaged the thermostat in the lab and are too scared to report it, trying to pin it on anyone else. Ted on the other hand is attempting to raise the moral levels of his team.
Sadly though, his efforts are in vain and their rivalry gets the best of him. He joins Phil and Lem by taking the low road and bribing the testing coordinator to get his product tested first. Veronica and Linda meanwhile come up with their own plan to undermine Pete's project by using Rose to talk poorly about the first product she sees, which is now Ted's dream glider vest.
This episode isn't as laugh out loud funny as the previous episode, but it has its moments. One of the things that are probably lost on many viewers is the hilarious details provided by many of the background characters. For example, while Phil and Lem are in the lab trying to trick their coworker to break the thermostat, you might have missed out on all the other lab workers in the back ground trying to stay cool. One of them even resorts to drinking random liquids from around the lab to stay hydrated.
In the end, "The Long and Winding High Road" is mostly about the moral choices people have to make in order to get ahead in the corporate world.
- I so want to have a magnetic vest that allowed me to float about. That's awesome.
- Lem: "I don't want ot ake the high road, it's high." Phil: "I agree. We could fall off."
- There are a couple funny references to the fact we are bound for an inevitable war with China
- "The high road leads to pansy town." - Veronica
- We get another Veridian commercial in this episode! "We know what wrong is..actualy no we don't."
- "How much are mens lives are spent tricking women to touch something." - Phil
- Ted bribes the tester with book called "Ethics in Testing"
- The final takeaway from the episode. "When we're on the low road, we need to coordinate our efforts better" - Veronica
- Did anyone notice that Anti-Ted's daughter was named Daisy? Brilliant.
This first episode of another pair of disappointing ABC episode burning, was probably the shining moment of both seasons so far. It's no secret that I have a huge love for Better Off Ted's pointed corporate satire and well written dialog, but tonight's episode takes that to new levels I couldn't have even imagined.
Tonight's episode revolves around communication in the workplace, or more specifically, the never ending stream of corporate memos that often times don't make sense. After a mistake by their assistant, upper management inadvertently hands down a memo requiring all staff to use offensive language and insults to each other. Of course being Veridian, management is never at fault and therefore the ruling stands. This leads to the most brilliantly funny exchanges of dialog I have ever seen on a sitcom.
Are characters are free to call out everyone to their hearts content with no repercussions. Normally I would quote some of the best material of the episode, but quite frankly, I would end up quoting the entire episode line by line. Even Phil and Lem get into the act as they construct the perfect insult math formula, which in itself results in some choice moments.
This episode makes a home run in satirizing the idea of insane company policies; policies that they are unwilling to relent upon because the company never makes mistakes. It's been a while since we've seen another episode written by producer Mike Teverbaugh (the last of which was "Secrets and Lives"). While all of the show writes have proven themselves to be amazing, Teverbaugh easily has the most memorable episodes, and this one was no exception.
This was very much an ensemble episode, and it definitely plays off the strengths of all the characters. I would almost be reserved to suggest new viewers watch this episode first, because I'm not sure if it is even possible to match it on a comedic level ever again.
Just a few observations
- "So this is guilt huh? I've always counteracted those feelings with emotions like sugar or drunk." - Veronica
- Casual Fribsday - The Ancient Mayan's first ever 8th day of the week in 2024
- Insults given to Ted - Butt-munch, white-teethed-Ken-doll, turd-head, pretty-boy-suit-rack, dill-weed, corporate-chimp.
- You've been.... Lem'basted, Ted'ucated, Phil'abusted!
- There words to make men run away: Future, Babies, Commitment
- The forumula for perfect insulting Person's physical feature = (male, femal, or animal) genitalia + (-bag, -wipe, or -muncher)
- The HR director has an amazingly horrible name.