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TED Review: Raunchy Hilarity or Disappointing Cash-Grab?

by Javier Albite

Ted (Seth MacFarlane) comes to TV in a new Peacock series, "Ted." (Peacock/TNS)

The brand new 7-episode Ted prequel series was released to Peacock on January 11 to mainly positive reviews. Announced almost 2 years ago, the series came out to a mainly positive reception and became Peacock’s most-watched original series within a week.


Background:

On June 2021, streaming service Peacock announced a straight-to-series order for a prequel to the 2012 comedy Ted. Not much else was known about the series. That is, until a trailer dropped out of nowhere on November of last year.


Synopsis and Characters:

The show follows the title character, Ted (Seth MacFarlane), and his best friend John Bennett (Max Burkholder) as they try to navigate through the usual high school storylines like dealing with bullies or trying to get a date to the prom. Though, because of the nature of this franchise, these simple ideas usually escalate to wild outcomes. Alongside these two, the supporting cast revolves around John’s cousin, Blaire (Giorgia Whigham), his father Matty (Scott Grimes) and his mother Susan (Alanna Ulbach).


Review:

Positives: Where the show works best is with the characters. Despite being only 7 episodes, the characters are really well fleshed out, which is pretty unusual for a sitcom. The main cast also have great banter together and the actors all work well off of each other. That leads me to the comedy aspect, another of its best aspects. Despite the fact it should be a priority, most of these raunchy adult comedies usually fall flat when it comes to actually being funny. In addition to the great line deliveries of the cast, Seth MacFarlane’s witty writing will turn any mundane situation hilarious. And for every joke that doesn’t land, five others do. Another part of Ted that was done really well was the CG work done on Ted himself. While obviously not as good as the movies, for a TV budget, I think Ted’s animation was very well-crafted making it feel like he was actually there. In general, the episodes are mostly pretty good and the finale especially was a highlight.


Negatives: While the show offers a lot to appreciate, there are still a few issues I have with it. The most glaring problem with Ted is that the pacing in most episodes isn’t very good. Episodes can last anywhere from 30 to 50 min making it so some episodes really drag. Other than that, a minor nitpick I have is with some of the political commentary. MacFarlane doesn’t hold back with his beliefs, and while I think it’s sometimes subtle enough to work, there are times when, especially with heavily political episodes like the sixth one, the commentary can be pretty on-the-nose and feel more preachy than entertaining.


Other than that I really enjoyed the series and I’d definitely recommend it.


Overall rating: 7/10


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