Written by on January 24, 2024

If you’ve never seen “Ted” or its sequel let me sum it up for you: a boy wishes his teddy bear will come to life and it does. The two become inseparable lazy pot heads with John not being able to grow up. Apparently, someone thought we needed to know how they got to this state and a how a sweet teddy bear becomes a foul-mouthed free loader. They were right. The mind behind Ted is Seth MacFarlane who has already given the world a plethora of entertaining animated shows starting with Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. He has the Star Trek spoof show The Orville and has even made a few movies. As talented as he is with voices and comedic timing most of these shows are based with pretty low brow comedy that can be pretty close to offensive. The other side of that though is that there is a lot of truths he lays out with his comedy and that’s why people enjoy it. It’s not just the crude humor that people laugh at and enjoy, but the fact that sometimes the truth is funnier when it’s fully exposed.

Ted the TV series on Peacock doesn’t have Mark Wahlberg as John like the movies because this is the character’s teen years. But MacFarlane is still the voice of Ted as the foul-mouthed teddy that is the worst form of Jiminy Cricket. After Johnny wished Ted to life he went on to be a 80s TV star before moving back home. John played by Max Burkholder and Ted are basically plopped into a 90s sitcom style show. The difference here is that instead of “Thank Goodness It’s Funny” there is another “F” word that could be added to make it “TGIFF” as it’s prominently used throughout the show. Johnny and Ted spend the series trying to navigate high school and all the trials and tribulations that follow any American teen. From drug use to a first date, they comically handle each situation with surprising aplomb and innocence. They’re good guys that just sometimes do bad or stupid things. But as with any sitcom a lesson is learned, and everyone is better for it. John also has another moral compass in his cousin Blaire played by Giorgia Whigham who lives with his family because her family is a complete mess. She is the sanest person in the house yet very vulnerable. John’s dad played by Scott Grimes to perfection as Matty the angry Massachusetts dad with the Archie Bunker mentality and his mom is Susan as the doting housewife that is a little clueless as to what is going on played by Alanna Ubach emulating Edith Bunker. Neither of them is the perfect parent, but their hearts are in the right place for the most part.

This is a very good comedy that draws from its source material well without using it as a crutch. The casting of each character feels about as perfect as you can find. Grimes’ anger is almost too outrageous, but it works as well as Ubach’s ditsy existence. One thing that McFarlane is great at is riffing lines and ab libbing and Burkholder seems able to follow along. You can tell in some moments they just let the script go to the wind and tried to see how far they could take a scene. The episodes are very engaging and are funny with extreme moments of the envelope being pushed while pushing back with everyday humor anyone can relate to. You can tell this a MacFarlane production with all the throwback references, Family Guy-esque musical score, an absolute tear down of the nasty cheerleader character, and the heavy east coast accents that scream “pahk the cah at Havahd Yahd” like you just got dumped in Boston surrounded by the entire Wahlberg family and Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch from their Boston kids SNL sketch. You will have to be tolerant of MANY sexual jokes and be able to laugh at the characters’ own lack of tolerance as the 90s times were a changin’! I’ll just stress that this goes on Mom and Dad’s watchlist, and the kids should be kept away unless you want them taking a new colorful vocabulary back to school. It’s a funny show with just enough heart to give you a smile based on your own memories of high school and all the things you went through.

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