A quick review of last night's "Better Off Ted" just as soon as I take it back to the sarcasm store...
We're still not back to the level "Ted" was regularly hitting in season one, but "Battle of the Bulb" felt like a step in the right direction. There were a lot of very funny lines like Veronica's lightbulb joke, Rose's reaction to hearing Ted say "suck" ("So, 'suck' is okay to say now? Because I have some thoughts on the lunch you packed me.") and virtually every word out of Bhamba's mouth as he discussed sex with Lem's mom. (The return of Bhamba in general is always a welcome thing.) Khandi Alexander got to show off her comedy chops for the first time since "NewsRadio," Veronica trying to turn Linda into her sociopathic protege worked very well (and spared us from a third consecutive lame Ted/Linda storyline), and the popcorn popping in Lem's mouth was a wonderful sight gag.
Still, I hope we get another episode on the level of "Racial Sensitivity"(*) before the end comes - and make no mistake, it's coming. As I mentioned in the "Scrubs" review, ABC is going into Mid-Season Burn-Off Theatre mode with both comedies. They're going to air one "Scrubs" and two "Ted"s on New Year's Day after the Rose Bowl, and double-run both shows through January to get them off the air before "Lost" comes back. Considering how bad the ratings were last spring, and how surprised everyone was when ABC renewed the show, I suppose we should all look on this second season as an unexpected bonus (just like season two of "Dollhouse"). But like a lot of other TV critics, I'm wondering what, exactly, ABC would have to lose at this point by airing one of the remaining "Ted"s on Wednesday night. With "Hank" long dead, there's a hole there, and it's at least worth a shot. I recognize that the remaining Wednesday shows are all family comedies of various sorts, and their sensibilities are different than what "Ted" does, but funny is funny, and it seems worth a shot. This isn't a case of "Scrubs," a show that's been around forever, and where viewers have had a chance to decide if they care to watch it. This is a show that most people don't even know exists, and pairing it with some comedies on the rise instead of one living on borrowed time, even once, seems only fair, no?
(*) And thanks to all of you who either tweeted or e-mailed me links to the various stories about a racist Hewlett-Packard webcam. Always funny when life imitates art - especially art as good as "Racial Sensitivity."
What did everybody else think?