On Tuesday night, I took a break from watching election results to catch an episode of a new sitcom, Benched. It’s essentially Scrubs with lawyers in a public defenders office, which makes it so perfectly right up my partner’s alley that it’s like scientists developed it in a lab exclusively for him. I enjoy it as well, so I tweeted my gladness to the universe.
I haven’t watched a @USA_Network show since Silk Stalkings went off the air. But I definitely like #BenchedUSA
Cut to Wednesday morning. My alarm goes off. I groggily check my email on cell phone. And then I bound out of bed, exclaiming “Jay Harrington retweeted me!” In fact, no less than three members of the cast of Benched (perfunctorily) interacted with me that night. I’m fully aware how lame it is that I’m excited. This is not a big deal. It’s kind of the whole point of Twitter. But still. This is the first time I’ve really understood the appeal of this particular social media tool. Theoretically, these people I watch on the television read what I wrote about them. Assuming it’s not just a single network intern responsible for re-broadcasting anything anyone says vaguely positive about the show.
So in honor of my first kind-of-sort-of brush with celebrity on Twitter, I’m reprinting here a tidbit I wrote a long time ago about a different Jay Harrington sitcom that I found endlessly appealing: Better Off Ted. To this day, I mourn its cancellation. You know, people always like to compare The Big Bang Theory to Community, but I really think Better Off Ted demonstrates the better direct head-to-head comparison. It’s not just nerd humor, but the exact same type of nerd humor, and executed with a good deal more panache. And you can stream it on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Without further ado, my thoughts on Better Off Ted, circa January 2010:
Better Off Ted is one of the best sitcoms I’ve ever seen. Now I acknowledge that I throw that word “ever” around a lot, and it’s mostly unnecessary hyperbole. But guys, for real. EVER. If you are not watching it, you are clearly in error.
If I have one minor gripe, it’s that I can’t really get on board with the dominant ‘ship the writers are pushing. In fact, I hate Linda. She is just so spectacularly bitchy and yet manages to remain utterly convinced at all times of her own self-righteous sweetheartiness. However, this is not to say that she’s not funny. Linda, like all other characters on the show, is consistently hilarious. I definitely want her around; I just never want to see her end up with Ted.
In truth, I’m mainly disappointed that this is even an issue. This show has all the pieces in place that would allow it to successfully flip a mighty bird to Ross/Rachel, Jim/Pam, Elliot/J.D., et al. The creators could have conceivably ushered in a bold a new era of television where it is no longer inevitable that co-workers will fall in love because the offices of Veridian Dynamics could just as easily be romance-free without damaging anything that makes this show really special, but alas.
And if you held a gun to my head and demanded that I ‘ship some pairing, it still wouldn’t be Ted/Linda. It would be Ted/Veronica. I know Veronica is meant to be the show’s Mr. Burns, but I find the glimpses of humanity peeking out from underneath her nearly relentless ballbuster facade infinitely more endearing than anything Linda’s ever done. Also, Portia de Rossi has way better on-screen chemistry with Jay Harrington and is, in general, awesome.