Comedy’s top talking teddy gets a series reboot

When I first heard that “Ted” would be rebooted with a prequel series, I was less than excited. My initial thought was that Seth MacFarlane was just going to make a PG-13 version of the movie, and it would be another one of his failed television attempts, along with the likes of “The Orville” and “The Cleveland Show.”  

The writers take risks, exploring just how much they can get out of the rebooted friendship between John and Ted.

That’s not to say MacFarlane doesn’t hit on some shows – “Family Guy” celebrated its 25th anniversary last week, and “American Dad!” has enjoyed a successful run on both FOX and TBS – but when MacFarlane misses, it’s not great. Even “Ted 2” failed drastically to live up to expectations, which is why the idea for a streaming show seemed like a giant risk.

I could not have been more wrong. “Ted” is a fresh take on the relationship between John Bennett and his wished-to-life teddy bear in high school, and is still R-rated. The show follows the lives of John, his parents Matty and Susan, his cousin Blaire and, of course, Ted. 

The show is set up almost identically to MacFarlane’s greatest success, “Family Guy,” in that it follows a New England family with a lazy, blue-collar dad, a subservient stay-at-home wife, an older sister (or cousin) and a younger son with a talking animal best friend. The main differences between the two shows come in the fact that “Ted” is live-action and does not have to follow the FCC guidelines that “Family Guy” suffers from.

The writing on “Ted” is eerily reminiscent of the early years of “Family Guy.” The slapstick family humor is something MacFarlane has made a career of, and “Ted” might be his best work in over a decade. The humor in “Ted” is not what you’d come to expect from a 2024 comedy. 

The writers take risks, exploring just how much they can get out of the rebooted friendship between John and Ted. The family relationships also add a dynamic we did not get in the first two “Ted” movies and make for some interesting storylines, such as Matty getting a colonoscopy or Blaire renting a pornographic film for John and Ted. 

The high praise for the series does not mean it comes without flaws, however. Some of the storylines, especially those focused around Blaire and her relationship with the rest of the Bennett family, felt cheesy and predictable. I also felt the last episode of the season was entirely unnecessary and a forced storyline. It was a typical ‘80s love story — that takes place in the ‘90s — that reminded me more of a network TV-style show than the first six episodes of the season. 

Despite these few shortcomings, “Ted” is still wildly successful. MacFarlane is at his best when exploring the everyday troubles of the New England teenager, such as smoking your first joint, finding a date to prom, learning to deal with a school bully and much more. “Ted” might not be for everyone, and I’d even go as far to say that if you were not a fan of the first eight seasons of “Family Guy,” you certainly will not enjoy much of what makes “Ted” what it is. However, if you’re in need of a new stoner comedy to throw on or just a fan of MacFarlane’s work in general, “Ted” is an entertaining watch, and hopefully a second season is not far away. 


5/5 stars


Featured photo courtesy of @whattedsaw, Instagram