Better Off Ted: “Father, Can You Hair Me?”
Posted by therebelprince on July 25, 2009
“Since Digivation was founded 50 years ago, millions have died. Millions more have become sad. What’s your problem, Digivation?”
– Veridian Dynamics voice
This week on Better Off Ted, it’s Veronica’s show, and we’re better off for it.
Geoff Pierson guest stars as Elijah Palmer, the head of Digivation, one of Veridian’s biggest rivals. As it happens, he’s also Veronica’s father, and his morals – both professional and personal – echo hers. Whatever the product may be (hover shoes, anyone?), they’re always battling each other, and the news that he only has a year to live puts a serious kink in their non-relationship.
The storyline is pitch-perfect (I seem to use that expression a lot about this show!). Veronica doesn’t ignore the seriousness of her father’s plight, but their odd gulf is too wide for a simple reunion. The scenes of the two of them attempting to bond are hilarious. Portia de Rossi‘s slow, subtle crawl into her father’s shoulder on a park bench is great – and wonderfully deflated by the realisation that the father/daughter couple they are mimicking are in fact May/December lovers. It’s these little moments which are why I love this show.
Meanwhile, Ted gets thinking about his own relationship with his father (Kevin Chamberlin), and how he can apply the lessons learned to his relationship with Rose. It’s a pleasant little subplot, with insights into the backgrounds of Linda, Lem and Phil, and has some amusing flashbacks with Ted’s dad, who would literally only be happy with Ted if he became a plumber.
There’s also some quirky-enough comedy when an invention by Phil and Lem goes wrong, but inadvertantly creates a fast-growing hair replacement. Unfortunately, it’s the fastest growing hair ever known to man, and Ted ends up having to curb it. Ted’s subplot doesn’t sparkle with the wit that Veronica’s does, but it is still reasonably strong and features some nice moments from all of the cast. (Particularly Lem and Phil’s exasperated responses to Ted’s demands that the product be fast-tracked: “We’re not mad scientists!”)
There’s a sweet ending with Ted finally allowing Rose to be a little girl (Isabella Acres adorably sells Rose’s well-worded requests to just make mud pies for a while), and I hope we get to see Elijah again, even if he and Veronica have agreed to return to their former relationship.
If this show has any flaws, it is that occasionally the subplots aren’t as infused with wit as the main plot. This cast and the characters can salvage most writing, but the show is going to need to step it up a notch and really make use of the talents involved if it’s going to survive a second season.