“Ted” Review: The Indulgent Prequel Series Featuring Seth MacFarlane’s Foul-Mouthed Teddy Bear Returns

“Ted” Review: The Indulgent Prequel Series Featuring Seth MacFarlane’s Foul-Mouthed Teddy Bear Returns

The 2012 film’s prequel chronicles the highs and lows of a sixteen-year-old boy and his best buddy, a crude stuffed animal brought to life in Massachusetts in the middle of the 1990s.

The unfortunate thing about Ted, the Ted prequel from Peacock, is that it immediately exposes all of its darkest tendencies. Firstly, the length of its premiere, which is 50 minutes, is bewildering for a TV show that generally plays like a half-hour sitcom but not necessarily unreasonable. Furthermore, the entire near-hour features the most overtly “offensive” content on the show—old jokes about racial stereotypes and pejorative terms—all delivered with a sneer that dares you to be offended by any of it.

The good (or at least less horrible) news about Ted is that, if you can get beyond the first tedium, the subsequent episodes are a significant improvement. You can occasionally spot a decent comedy concealed someplace, such as when it favours absurdity over harshness or goofiness over saltiness. If only actor and creator Seth MacFarlane could move aside.

To be fair, Ted’s obscenely crude remarks don’t deviate too much from the original text. Like in the 2012 movie and its 2015 follow-up, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane once more) is a teddy bear brought to life, both in-story through a lonely little boy’s wish upon a shooting star and on screen through remarkably tactile-looking computer graphics.

The main joke, just like in the movies, is the contrast between Ted’s adorable, cuddly exterior and his obnoxious, vulgar nature. The primary distinction between the films and the most recent endeavour is that the latter begins two decades earlier, in 1993, and finds Ted’s human best friend John Bennett as a 16-year-old boy played by Max Burkholder rather than as a middle-aged man-child played by Mark Wahlberg.

A similar change in subgenre follows the move. The prequel takes an updated approach to sitcoms from the 1980s and 1990s, where the features mesh well with man-child bromances like Superbad and The Hangover. It also doesn’t play around with its influences: The characters watch shows like Roseanne, The Simpsons, and Married… With Children in a Halloween chapter. (The show also makes numerous allusions to the immaculate Full House, mostly as bait for John, a devotee of Lori Loughlin.) The primary difference is that Ted is a streaming product that is unaffected by the stringent time constraints and decency standards that plagued Roseanne and similar shows on broadcast television.
This turns out to be a very contradictory good thing. On the one hand, Ted’s unreserved rudeness is what makes it distinctive.

It’s almost impossible to find a conversational void that Ted, or someone else, doesn’t try to fill with a joke about a dick, sex, or masturbation. If the characters had to rely solely on sly euphemisms, which are also common, it’s difficult to see them striking nearly the same chord. Furthermore, the show’s long running lengths theoretically enable it to develop its characters and humour even more. For example, a plot about John’s father Matty (Scott Grimes) changing his mind about his homophobic ignorance after meeting a violently racist talking toy truck seems too archaic to be as shocking or endearing as it purports to be. Nevertheless, it’s basically a very special “issues” episode presented in a way that only Tedcould.

But as the season’s seven episodes approach an average runtime of forty minutes, it becomes more and more clear that Ted’s independence comes with a price: carelessness. Although cutting each episode down to a broadcast-standard 22 minutes wouldn’t have turned this into a masterpiece, it might have forced MacFarlane to cut some of the less strong jokes or to stop harping on how ridiculous he was. It would have, at the very least, made him rethink his repeated efforts at that Sideshow Bob Rake routine, in which a scene is played for so long that it eventually loses its humour. It’s a difficult feat to do, and since Ted never does, all it does is make him appear bloated.

Amid all that shagginess, one could envisage the series that could have been tighter and brighter. Burkholder and MacFarlane (or at least the latter’s voice emanating from an animated monster) have a charming relationship. Giorgia Whigham gives Blaire, John’s liberal college cousin, a cunning quality that prevents her from being reduced to a self-righteous punching bag; Similarly, Alanna Ubach portrays Susan, John’s mother, with such wide-eyed sincerity that she almost goes beyond the stereotype of the put-upon wife skewered in Kevin Can F**k Himself. And they struck when the stupid jokes did.

Among the most noteworthy are some of the most ridiculous concepts presented here, such as a subplot where Ted believes he must be another Jesus Christ because he was similarly “born not from the seed of man, but from divine origin.”

The issue is that there are six elements that don’t click for every one that does. Ted’s self-indulgence is, in a way, appropriate for the show’s lead bear; after all, no one who appreciates his mildly edgy kind of humour would ever want him to bite his tongue or question his instincts. However, something that would work for a TV character might work against a TV show. Ted would have been better off sticking to the best of his content and letting Ted handle the lack of self-control.

Topics #"Ted" Review #Foul-Mouthed Teddy Bear Returns #Seth MacFarlane's #The Indulgent Prequel Series



































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