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Video Preview for Premiere of Better Off Ted with Jay Harrington and Portia de Rossi

TV Tonight: Better Off Ted

Better Off Ted, which premieres tonight on ABC, is a smart and sarcastic comedy that I think will be a solid counterpart for Scrubs in the 8 p.m. hour. It's also very quirky, which I can imagine being interpreted as "very weird," which means I wouldn't be surprised if it struggles in the ratings and gets canceled early. But luckily, Ted is the kind of show that can make you laugh even if you don't want to get too attached.

Set at the fictional Veridian Dynamics (which makes nearly everything you buy . . . except maybe cows), the show stars Jay Harrington navigating the world of corporate politics and office romance — and doing a pretty fine job of messing up both. It's a deadpan send-up of corporate culture, especially in the science world (they freeze their coworker in the first episode!), and it features a number of fine performances.

The best of those might come from Portia de Rossi, who's absolutely perfect as Ted's buttoned-up, hysterically ruthless boss (someone at TCA actually asked de Rossi how she maintains such good posture, since her character is instantly recognizable both for her stick-straight spine and prim suits). I'm also a big fan of Andrea Anders, whose character hoards creamer and who tries (and, it seems, usually fails) to stick up for the little people at the wrong end of Veridian's experiments.

Are you interested in adding this show to your roster? To check out a couple of clips,


Photo copyright 2009 ABC, Inc.

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