Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Ted is a hilarious prequel series

Comedic television writer Seth MacFarlane brings one of his screen creations to the small screen in the prequel series Ted. The show is set in 1993; after the first film’s opening sequence and following a linear plot, the series depicts the early life of a sentient teddy bear toy named Ted, who lives with John Bennett (Max Burkholder) and his family in Massachusetts. John’s family members include his dad, Matt (Scott Grimes), mom, Susan (Alana Ubach), and cousin, Blaire (Giorgia Whigham). In the past, MacFarlane has mentioned that he’s always seen the character of Ted as one that’s character-based as opposed to premise-based, so there are numerous angles that he could have taken.

I commend MacFarlane for using the angle of Ted going to school with John as the hook for the show and the situations they get into. Watching with my teenage son, we found a lot of humor in Ted, hilarious. I’m sure fans will recreate two critical moments in the episode’s standout in attempts to go viral. While I won’t entirely spoil the punchlines or gags, one involves steps, and another involves McDonald’s apple pies. The casting in the series is spot on, with Scott Grimes bringing an out-of-touch blue-collar appeal to the family’s patriarch. I saw so many men that I knew growing up in the character of Matty, which may be why the character worked. It was also great to see Grimes go somewhat against type since, he has a history of portraying nice guys.

As a long-time fan of Alanna Ubach, seeing her in a lead role was significant. No stranger to bold comedy, Ubach takes it down a bit here and relies on a sitcom mom vibe with dry wit to get the laughs. She’s an outstanding balance to Grimes’s character; the two organically complement each other. Giorgia Whigham is a real find as Blaire and holds her own with everyone in the cast. The big question is how the chemistry between or leads Max Burkholder and MacFarlane’s Ted. Simply put, the chemistry works, and there is never a moment when Burkholder tries to imitate Wahlberg. Naturally, MacFarlane still delivers the one-liners like a seasoned pro as the titular character. We should get a second season, as I’m invested in the journey between John and Ted.

With callbacks to the film, winning performances from its cast, and MacFarlane’s pop culture references in droves, Ted delivers the laughs.

Final Grade: B+

All episodes of Ted are available to stream on Peacock beginning January 11th.

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