Blog Archives

100 things to do in 1000 days; #65/68: Watch Better Off Ted.

Ok, now that I’ve watched BoT a second time through, taken note of my favourite quotes and episodes, and made sure to watch all available special features, I feel comfortable listing this one as complete. It occurs to me I may not be able to watch all shows as thoroughly – Buffy the Vampire Slayer did have seven seasons, after all, and not half-baked, Britishy 13 episode “seasons” either.

As I mentioned in my last post, Portia de Rossi’s Veronica is my second favourite character on the show, but Phil Myman has to be number one, because every single line delivery he has is absolutely golden. So many of my favourite quotes look completely dull when written down, but coming out of Phil’s mouth, they have me rolling (case in point: “it’s working”). It’s not going to crack my list of top five favourite shows or anything (off the top of my head, that would be 1: Futurama, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in any random order: Doctor Who (seasons 1-4), Top Gear, Community, and, oh, South Park? Sure, that could be right) – I usually find the Veridian Dynamics commercials a bit too on the nose – but it’s a worthy way to spend 9 hours, and who knows how great it could have been if it had gotten a couple more episodes? I would love to learn more about Wisconsin’s cheese farms and Veronica’s feelings on the Dutch.

For what it’s worth, as much as I enjoy Andrea Anders and Linda, I liked Ted better with Veronica. Their friendship and chemistry was just so much more entertaining to watch. And actually, I like Linda better with Phil and Lem – it gives her another note to play other than surprisingly forth-coming love interest.

Top ten thirteen quotes (I couldn’t narrow it down it neatly mirrors the number of episodes each season got) to get you non-watchers hooked on the show (if only to enjoy your inevitable crushing disappointment when you come to the final episode):

  1. Chet: Don’t worry, I’ve never hit anyone with a golf club. *beep* At least not on purpose. *beep* Hey, what’s this fun machine? Phil: It’s just a random buzzer. *beep* It’s working!
  2. Veronica: Anything that starts with “wee” is just a fun suggestion. Like the constitution. And “weee the people.”
  3. Phil: Ted is like the angle opposite the hypotenuse: he’s always right.
  4. Ted: I’m going to say no to the meat blob getting a mouth. Mostly because I don’t want to hear what it has to say.
  5. Phil: Richie and Fuzzle? Their knowledge of microfabrication technology for vascularised tissue engineering vis a vis bovine muscle protein is SO-ho-ho LAST YEAR.
  6. Phil: Oh god, Lem, you’re using science for no good. We took an oath we would try to do that less.
  7. Ted: But everybody’s equal. We don’t see disabled people. Well, we see them, we just don’t care. Well, we care, we just don’t treat them differently. Although they do have their own parking.
  8. Lem: Good news, Ted. We took a vote, and made you the new king.
    Phil: And then we took another vote, and you died. Gloriously in battle.
  9. Veronica: You’re always coming to me with a problem. Just once, I wish you’d greet me with a sparkler and cotton candy and tell me I have the number one album in America.
  10. Bamba: As I recall, you were the only one who ran from the octochicken.
    Linda: Well it freaked me out when it came down from its web.
  11. Lem: Fireflies. The flaming plates of the insect world.
  12. Ted: Technically, Mr. Cynical can’t be happy. It’s his power and his curse.
  13. Veronica: I don’t hate the Dutch. I love the Dutch. That’s why I hold them to a higher standard.
Seriously, watch it.
And feel free to stop reading now.

For future Donna, who may someday wonder which episodes to rewatch, here are my favourites:

From season one:

  • Win Some, Dose Some
  • Bioshuffle
  • Jabberwocky

From season two:

  • Love Blurts?
  • The Great Repression (mostly the second half)
  • The Impertinence of Communicationising (no qualifiers, this one is genius)
  • Mess of a Salesman (the non Ted’s brother parts)
  • It’s My Party and I’ll Lie if I Want to (because of Phil)

And here are my favourite quotes:

Ted: Nature is a fantastic killer of things

Ted: I’m going to say no to the meat blob getting a mouth. Mostly because I don’t want to hear what it has to say.

Ted: What does it taste like?
Jerome: despair

Lem: Don’t name him or you won’t want to eat it. Remember Chester the carrot?
Phil: Yeah. I miss him.

Phil: You have been on me since I got out and I. am. sickofit.

Phil: Richie and Fuzzle? Their knowledge of microfabrication technology for vascularised tissue engineering vis a vis bovine muscle protein is SO-ho-ho LAST YEAR.

Ted: The fact that you thought I was going to go wash Rose right now makes me think you may not know that much about children.
Veronica: I know they need to be cleaned.

Veronica: I know everyone’s name.

Phil: Next we were looking at what would happen if we dropped a…bunny from an airplane at 30,000 feet. At that altitude, the bunny would…cuddle everyone within a two mile radius. Within four miles, everyone would be…snuggled so badly they would have to be hospitalised with severe burns.
Ted:  Thank you everyone. For those of you not sure what’s happening, we’ll have this meeting again tomorrow.

Veronica: Here, I brought you some briefs. The boxers you were wearing didn’t highlight your assets. Penisly speaking.

Veronica: Well, I’m different than other women, Ted. And by different, I mean better.

Lem: It gets dark when you leave the room.
Phil: Well how can I stay mad at you when you say things like that?

VD Commercial: Diversity. Good for us.

Phil: He’s like a god, only it hurts more when he judges us

Ted: But everybody’s equal. We don’t see disabled people. Well, we see them, we just don’t care. Well, we care, we just don’t treat them differently. Although they do have their own parking.

Linda: EAT THEM.

Ted: You stole a baby?
Linda: Only for a few seconds. Turns out just because you wrote your name on something doesn’t mean you get to keep it.

Veronica: You’re so competitive it’s sick
Ted: Not as sick as you.
Veronica: That’s right. I win. Again.

Veronica: I don’t like it down there. It’s chilly, the people are odd, and it smells like science.
Linda: Well I’m not a huge fan of that place either. Last time I was down there, I got chased by some weird eight-legged bird.
Veronica: Ah, the octochicken. We had such hopes for that.

Veronica: If you have any issues at all, come see me. Although that would be a huge admission of failure on your part.

Bamba: As I recall, you were the only one who ran from the octochicken.
Linda: Well it freaked me out when it came down from its web.

Linda: Vaginas everywhere.
Security Guard: Oh my god, I love those!
Linda: Right!?

Phil: Oh. Your ears are always throwing up about something.

Lem: Good news, Ted. We took a vote, and made you the new king.
Phil: And then we took another vote, and you died. Gloriously in battle.

Lem: Rick. It’s me. God.
Phil: This is what it would be like if god was insecure.

Phil: If I wanted to get it on with refracted light, I would.

Lem: If you like lame, you should meet me for a drink tonight after I have dinner with my mom and pretend to go to bed.

Phil: Oh god, Lem, you’re using science for no good. We took an oath we would try to do that less.

Phil: I can write a program that’s triggered by an acid buildup. A sort of acid interface, or “ass face” for short.
Lem: I’m not sure these abbreviations are really worth the time they’re saving.

Linda: He has more problems than you, and you poop in your air.

Phil: I am proud of my time as a syphilitic conquistator. That was the team name. They wanted something the locals found frightening.

Lem: You went to the university of Aruba?
Phil: Where knowledge is king, and clothing is optional.

Bamba: My goodness, how I love the drugs.

Veronica: Ted, you don’t have to do all this. Just say the word and the election’s hers. We did it for Iceland, and we can do it for your kid.

Phil: Ted is like the angle opposite the hypotenuse: he’s always right.

Phil: My head was screaming “nooo” but my mouth was chewing gum.

Lem: Fireflies. The flaming plates of the insect world.

Phil: I’m a scientist, Lem. I’ve been a threat to humanity, the environment, even Jupiter once, but never to a hot girl’s boyfriend.

Ted: Technically, Mr. Cynical can’t be happy. It’s his power and his curse.

Veronica: Anything that starts with “wee” is just a fun suggestion. Like the constitution. And “weee the people.”

Lem: I don’t want Veronica to be the mother of my children. I might like my children.

Lem: He must never know about AquaTed.

Phil: This must be how a baby lion feels. When its mom yells at a receptionist to get its medical records. (Actually just that entire scene. I love Veronica.)

Ted: I know you don’t like to eat children, but it’s that kind of talk, and your cottage in the woods made of candy, that keeps those rumours alive.

Phil: Why do animals get all the best stuff attached to their body?
Lem: I would love to have a blow hole

Phil: Yes, I think you’re sexy. Yes, I don’t have a lot of grown-up drinks, and yes, I wish I had a third yes, and yes I don’t.

Phil: You love the laundry people. You take their side in everything.

Linda: No one likes a pointer. Even in the dog world they’re seen as insufferable.

Lem: If only I hadn’t tried to protect my eyes when it burst, I might have been able to save it. Stupid reflexes.

Most things about the cheese mines in Wisconsin.

Phil: It’s like the Texas chainsaw massacre if someone massacred the chainsaws.

Lem: Don’t worry Chumley. He’s only jealous because your smile is permanent, and his only comes when he’s happy.

Veronica: In 10 years, honey, you’ll look back on this moment and think, “Oooh.” (God I love Ted and Veronica together.)

Linda: Shh. Did you hear that? Somewhere, a but if being smacked against its will. A feel is being copped. A well-endowed woman is being asked if she gives fries with that shake. And so, that is where I’m needed.

Lem: Ultimately I would have chosen you. And I’m not just saying that because you’re the one who survived.

Veronica: Children. They have so many uses. They’re like adorable swiss army knives.

Veronica: You’re always coming to me with a problem. Just once, I wish you’d greet me with a sparkler and cotton candy and tell me I have the number one album in America.

Phil: Now I know what a beard of fingers would feel like.

Phil: WHO DO WE KILL! (Pretty much Veronica’s whole Carl Gordon Jenkins speech.)

Lem: Together, we’re a thing of beauty. Like a swan.
Phil: But on my own, I’ll be like half a swan. All I’ll do is make a big mess and DIE.

Phil: You know what might brighten your day? A peek at the smallest squirrel science can make.
Lem: But we’re going to have to ask you to wear a face mask. He’s crazy easy to inhale.

Phil: I’ve never been this close to your neck before. It is the perfect pedestal for your head.

Veronica: I don’t hate the Dutch. I love the Dutch. That’s why I hold them to a higher standard.

Walter: The Dutch don’t smear herring on half the things you say they do.

Phil: As a child I was beaten up constantly. The best comeback I ever came up with was, “You’re right! I will work on that.”

Veronica: I’m thinking I might need new breasts. These are covered in sadness.

Phil: Your breasts should be on display at the Swiss museum of miniatures.

Veronica: I backed over his foot when I was leaving, which, according to our relationship math means tonight’s the night.

Phil: Give a man an insult, he can hurt people for a day. Teach a man to insult, and he can hurt people who tease him because he never learnt to fish.

Veronica’s babies babies babies commitment speech.

Phil: You have been Philibustered.

Lem: That’s it. Fill up your canker-blossomed hole you ale-soused apple john. That was the Elizabethan model.
Phil: Ye have been served.

Phil: We just got Teducated.

Lem: Ted, we need your help.
Phil: We were working really hard in the lab…
Lem: …and we had this piñata.
Ted: Piñata. That doesn’t sound like really hard work.
Phil: It was stuffed with science.

Phil: Please don’t hurt us, we’re not like you.

Phil: We once meant to buy six four inch petrie dishes and instead bought four six inch petrie dishes.
Lem: It was crazy how slightly bigger it was than we needed.

Veronica and Linda’s head butting conversation with Ted.

Everything to do with Phil and the beeping machine.

Chet: Don’t worry, I’ve never hit anyone with a golf club. *beep* At least not on purpose. *beep* Hey, what’s this fun machine?
Phil: It’s just a random buzzer. *beep* It’s working!

Ted: I thought you hated him.
Veronica: I did. But then he grabbed me by the ankles and attacked me with a piece of wood and everything changed.

(Unsurprisingly, that’s:

  • Phil: 38
  • Lem: 20
  • Veronica: 18
  • Ted: 12
  • Linda: 9

I REALLY don’t want to write this essay.)

Note: There apparently was a website for Viridian Dynamics at one time, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be working now.

Advertisements

Unbearable Lightness – Review – ****

I first came across Portia de Rossi in Arrested Development, and then again in Better Off Ted. In both shows, I thought her mannerisms a bit odd at first, but in both shows she grew on me, and in Better Off Ted, she became (after Phil, and I mean, come on) far and away my favourite character. And this makes sense because in person (and on paper) she appears funny and smart. Of course, in her memoir Unbearable Lightness, her sense of humour only indirectly reveals itself in her recounts of conversations with suits, because anorexia is not a funny illness, and I imagine that no matter how far she has come since 1999, it’s still difficult to treat such a dark part of her life lightly.

De Rossi writes clearly, honestly, and bluntly – there are no histrionics or flowery, colourful passages depicting her descent into despair. Instead, she recounts her experience in a very matter-of-fact way: it’s “this is what happened, this is how I felt, this is what I did.” It is therefore incredibly easy to sympathise because she’s not asking for your sympathy, she’s just putting you inside her head at a point in her life, telling you what it was like for her.

Like many anorexia memoirs, Lightness is clinical, with detached lists of measurements and rituals. The progression of the disease is similar (grossly simplified, it starts off as the desire to be perfect and achieve, becomes desire to be thin as possible as a means of controlling this, and ends up not even being about what you look like, and simply continuing the lifestyle out of habit and familiarity, because you’re afraid to live any other way), as is the initial (and lengthy) denial of the problem, the concern of family members, the slow realisation of the problem, and the long road towards recovery. I would like to point out two things that I think de Rossi did particularly well, however.

One is the way she shows how mental illness sneaks up on you, and the heartbreaking way in which big, meaningful, life changing moments seem to happen over and over again; a realisation hits, you’re filled with a sense of purpose and direction, you think it’s cured and you’re all better, and then it’s more of the same – stuck in an endless loop. De Rossi is incredibly good at portraying that hope/hopeless dichotomy simply and harshly.

The other is the mature handling of her relationship with her mother – she tells the story from the point-of-view of one who has recovered, but while relating the events, she reports her thoughts as she would have thought them back then, without passing judgement or qualifying how wrong those statements might seem to her now. So when she speaks in tones of resentment about her mother, it is clear that this is the Portia of the past talking, and whatever faults her mother may have, she is a fully realised, sympathetic person in this book. Dealing with a difficult situation that doesn’t have a prescribed set of socially acceptable and expected reactions (namely, a gay and severely anorexic daughter – one may want very much to be supportive, while dealing with one’s own issues, and not know quite how to do it), and I can’t imagine she would be disappointed by her portrayal in this book.

In short, Unbearable Lightness was intelligent, thoughtful, and easy to read, and I have a new respect for the actress who made me laugh so much as Veronica and Lindsay Bluth.

And, as a random and possibly tasteless side note, I wonder if it was purposeful that the cover was designed by “Meat and Potatoes Inc.” I mean, really.

(I’ve ended up reading a surprising amount of memoirs for this little project, and I say surprising because for a good long while, I used to skew away from non-fiction – not purposefully, I just tended to latch on to a particular author or genre (e.g. Agatha Christie books, P.G. Wodehouse books, Mary Roach books, science fiction books, and so on, all read in bunches), and happened to go more for fiction. Then there was a wild swing to only non-fiction, and now, after years of buying and borrowing and rescuing books, I have so many that at this point I’m simply taking whatever catches my fancy off the shelf and hoping no one invites me on any more trips to Chapters, so the selection is a lot more random.)

Cannonball Read III: 18/52