Title: Better Off Ted (Seasons #1-2)
Released: 2009

Fix: Workplace Comedy That’s Way More Fun Than the Real Thing
Platform: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

As head of research and development at soulless conglomerate Veridian Dynamics, conflicted single father Ted attempts to balance his personal code of ethics with each of his immoral assignments, like freezing co-workers or weaponizing pumpkins.

FYA Summary:

Veridian Dynamics may be a big, evil corporation, but damned if Better Off Ted doesn’t make it look like a great place to work. (If you don’t value free time, individuality, and not being cryogenically frozen, that is.) OK — if not great, then at least hilarious. This show has the absurdity of Arrested Development in an Office setting, with a leading man even more dapper than Don Draper. Plus: weird science prototypes! Basically, it’s everything I love, so of course it died an early death. But at least it lives on on Netflix! (Not for Canadians, but whatevs grumble grumble.)

Familiar Faces:

Jay Harrington as Ted

Ted’s the head of the R&D department. He’s a loving, if often misguided, single dad. His job often compromises the morals he’s trying to impart on his adorable and unannoyingly precocious daughter, Rose. And obvs, Ted is v. v. mansome.

Portia de Rossi as Veronica

Veronica is Ted’s boss, and she’s dedicated to Veridian Dynamics to the point of ruthlessness. Aside from having the same face, Veronica’s pretty much the polar opposite of Lindsay Bluth Fünke (i.e. she works), but every bit just as funny. 

Andrea Anders as Linda

Linda is a product tester, whose soul gets eaten away with every passing day that she works at Veridian. Her characterization starts off a bit weak, but gets better once she has more to do than Be Ted’s Love Interest. In any case, this role is a drastic improvement from the one I first noticed Andrea in, aka the neighbour from Joey.

Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin as Lem and Phil

Lem and Phil are the top scientists at Veridian. They’re both amazing and deserving of individual shout-outs, but I’m keeping them as a duo ’cause they belong togetherrrrrrr

Couch-Sharing Capability: Like-Minded Comedic Tastes That Don’t Mind Impromptu Marathon Parties

Comedy is so subjective, y’all. Test the first few eps — with the knowledge that the show improves as it progresses — and you’ll know exactly which viewing companions this’ll appeal to. But take note: this show just flies by. I hadn’t planned on watching the entirety of Season 1, but ended up doing so in a single night. I REGRET NOTHING.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Potentially Wasteful and Dangerous

Alcohol isn’t required to enjoy this show. In fact, it may actually be detrimental, given the snortworthy and spit-take hilarity quotient. Your champ cans can serve much better purposes.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Excellent (and Envy-Inducing)

In case y’all haven’t noticed, THIS SHOW IS PRECIOUS TO ME. The dialogue is snappy, and the chemistry between the cast is fantastic. And the Veridian Dynamics commercials are worth the price of admission themselves (although you should really watch the rest of the show, too). It’s the perfect holiday wind-down viewing to get you back in that (groan) work mentality, in hopes that your coworkers will become as awesome as the Veridian crew.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.