Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Reel Thoughts: ‘Ted’ is a comedic joyride

A+lot+of+the+strength+of+the+%E2%80%9CTed%E2%80%9D+television+show+comes+from+its+genius+premise+that+brings+viewers+in+again+and+again.
Illustration by Danny O’Grady
A lot of the strength of the “Ted” television show comes from its genius premise that brings viewers in again and again.

Watching a living teddy bear doing incredibly inappropriate things never gets old in Peacock’s new TV series “Ted.”

The premise of the “Ted” film franchise is rather simple: A man’s teddy bear comes to life and the two get caught up in comedic shenanigans. This formula worked well for the “Ted” movie and its sequel “Ted 2,” and, thankfully, triumphed again in the prequel seven-episode season of the show bearing the same name. 

Simply put, the show is laugh-out-loud funny. Whether Ted (Seth MacFarlane) and his best friend John Bennett (Max Burkholder) are trying to get Ted kicked out of school, throwing eggs at trick-or-treaters or psychologically manipulating the school bully, there is never a dull moment. The comedy is well earned too, crafting an irreverent style instead of relying upon dirty words or scenarios to get a cheap laugh. 

The show’s goal isn’t to teach a lesson, but to make people laugh. This was the perfect direction for “Ted,” as any underlying moral lessons would have been undermined by the unserious premise of a living teddy bear.

Many similarities to “Family Guy” can be seen in “Ted,” but this is unsurprising considering both are the creations of MacFarlane, who voices characters in each show. The two shows rely on a balanced mix of observational and crude humor, and both feature a quirky family wherein each family member brings a unique personality to the table. 

“Family Guy”’s proven success over 20 years on air could mean good things for “Ted,” given the laundry list of overlapping qualities. Still, “Ted” never feels like a “Family Guy” knock-off.

The aforementioned Bennett family stands out as a bright spot of the show. Susan (Alanna Ubach) in particular makes the most of her time on-screen, acting as the closest thing the family has to a voice of reason. Having a strong supporting cast to Ted and John prevents the show from becoming stale while keeping the subplots engaging.

Such subplots provide some of the highlights of the entire series, featuring wacky escapades. For instance, the show manages to perfectly balance a side story of Matty (Scott Grimes) undergoing a colonoscopy where he fears he might spill secrets from his time in the Vietnam War with the main plot that follows John and Ted pretending to be a classmate’s father.

The only potential drawback to the show is that there is no overarching plot to hold each of the seven episodes together. While an overall goal is by no means a requirement, the plot does not feel like it is rising towards a memorable climax. Instead of the jokes and plot points building on one another, they are just scattered.

While the lack of an overarching plot is somewhat disappointing, it does not get in the way of the light-hearted fun the show provides. Its well-earned jokes, likeable characters and genius premise make the “Ted” show a must-watch for anyone just looking for a good laugh.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @DannyMOGrady04 

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