Tuned In

The Morning After: Ted Man Walking

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One blissful side effect of the holiday lull in original programming is that ABC has seemingly turned into the Better Off Ted network. The comedy ran over Christmas week, on New Year’s Day and last night, in a double shot of strong episodes. The downside, and you knew there had to be one, is that it’s looking more and more like ABC is burning off the ingenious but low-rated comedy even as it only gets better in its second season.

But if we can’t have more Ted, the show is at least a reminder that there should be an effort, funded by government grants if necessary, to keep Portia DeRossi employed in sitcoms at all times.

Seeing DeRossi operate is like getting a master class in comic timing, tone and delivery, both verbal and physical. Whether Three-Stooging Linda in the eyes to “keep her in the moment” or cracking herself up with an impersonation of a janitor who had been trapped in a wall, she brings Veronica to life with an accuracy that’s almost beyond human. I mean, for get her lines: her eyebrows deserve a Best Comedy Actress Emmy.

None of which is to slight the rest of the terrific cast; even Jay Harrington, who I had a hard time latching onto initially as Ted, has made a good audience guide through the craziness of Veridian despite (or because of) Ted’s perfectly-groomed slickness (“The version of Linda you heard in your head is right!”).

I’d like to dream that ABC will note Ted’s excellence and give it a last chance, and a better home, on its Wednesday lineup with Modern Family. If not—it’s slated for Tuesdays, so enjoy it while you can.

Have you been watching? And have you, like me, been suckered into watching actual commercials during the show, thinking they might turn out to be Veridian Dynamics commercials? Surely that must count something toward keeping it on the air.