Better Off Ted

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Better Off Ted TV Poster Image
Humor in whipsmart workplace satire is aimed at adults.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Ted's boss throws morality out the window in the name of profits and success, and so does Ted ... until he's faced with a sticky ethical dilemma involving a co-worker. Now he's trying to do his job with a clearer sense of right and wrong.


Some cartoonish physical violence pops up, usually in the form of unethical experiments gone awry. For example: A man is cryogenically frozen, kids are shown playing with unnamed chemicals, and company commercials include footage of missiles exploding.


Fairly frequent innuendo and references to sex, though not too much action is shown. A central plot line revolves around whether or not Ted, a single father, will have an interoffice affair with Linda, a single new hire. But Ted makes a reference that he already "used up" his interoffice affair, pointing out that "you only get one." It's revealed through flashback that he, in fact, already slept with his superior, Veronica, although no skin or sensitive body parts are shown -- they only appear slightly tousled.


Mild, mostly rare, usage of terms like "bitchy," "shut up," "douche," "scrotum," and "moron."


Veridian Dynamics is all about products and consumerism, but none of what they produce is actually real.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this workplace dramedy is more or less a "black comedy," meaning it's presented with deadpan seriousness -- but isn't meant to be taken seriously. Most kids probably won't get the joke, but older teens who tune in may appreciate the satire. The language is pretty tame for primetime, but there are a few words (like "bitchy" and "scrotum") that might be too much for tweens. There's also some sexual innuendo and casual references to office affairs, although the show goes out of its way to keep things suggestive rather than graphic.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byMillyMolly December 30, 2010
Kid, 12 years old July 27, 2009

What's the story?

A once-unscupulous R&D executive (Jay Harrington) grows a conscience when his ethically bankrupt boss (Portia de Rossi) suggests they try crygenically freezing a co-worker "just to see if it's possible" in BETTER OFF TED, a shrewdly packaged workplace dramedy set inside a shifty corporation that tackles questionable projects like weaponizing pumpkins. (Yes, pumpkins.) With moral support from his school-age daughter (Isabella Acres), Ted sets out to do his job better, all the while getting closer to a pretty office mate (Andrea Anders) who steals creamer on the company's dime.

Is it any good?

Although the title leaves a lot to be desired, Better Off Ted is a clever satire with a lot going for it, beginning with a well-casted ensemble of quirky characters who serve up loaded lines like "You have the most beautiful skin. I wish there was a way to peel it off your face and attach it to mine" with deadpan precision. Harrington proves ever-watchable with a well-pressed charm that smacks of George Clooney, and fans of Arrested Development who are still licking their wounds from the show's long-ago cancellation will love seeing de Rossi back in the saddle.

Better Off Ted is definitely more of a thinking person's comedy, so it may or may not find an audience among a crowded playing field of broadly comic alternatives. But if it does catch on? We say it will be a welcome addition.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the fictional corporation portrayed in this series could bear any resemblance to an actual company. How do you think actual companies handle ethical dilemmas and the development of new products? What if there were no governmental safeguards in place to police corporate and scientific ethics? Do you think companies would still behave ethically? Families can also discuss satire. What makes this show satirical? How does it compare to other sitcoms set in the workplace?

TV details

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