There aren’t that many problems with ABC’s “Better Off Ted,” which kicks off its second season on Tuesday (Dec. 8) at 9:30 p.m. Before “Parks & Recreation” kicked into overdrive in its fall episodes and before “Modern Family” found its early consistent footing, “Better Off Ted” was probably my pick for the year’s best new comedy, in fact.
One of the things that *is* wrong with “Better Off Ted” isn’t at all the fault of the Victor Fresco-created workplace sitcom, but it’s this: I may have written about “Better Off Ted” too many times. I reviewed it (positively) when it premiered and then celebrated it again when ABC initially decided to cut its first season short. Then, when ABC decided to bring the show back in the summer to burn off the first season at random intervals, I wrote about it as part of a feature from an interview that Sepinwall and I did with Fresco at the August TCA press tour. I advocated for Portia de Rossi, Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin in my Emmy nomination preview pieces and if I’d remembered, I probably would have been a booster for Andrea Anders as well.
If I didn’t think it’d be unpopular to say, I might try claiming I like “Better Off Ted” more than I like “Modern Family.” That wouldn’t be true mostly because “Modern Family” has a big heart and “Better Off Ted” is a show about heartlessness (or a life at a heartless corporation), so it’s far easier to warm to one than to the other. That doesn’t mean I can’t think “Better Off Ted” is often the funnier show.
But after having seen 15 episodes of “Better Off Ted” — 13 in the first season and two on screener from Season Two — the show is exactly what it was. Any fears that ABC brass might have made certain demands of the show as requirements for renewal can be swiftly allayed. That also means the one or two things that might have been improved by tweaking have gone untweaked.