As remakes and prequels become increasingly common, the question of “Who asked for this?” resonates more frequently among viewers. While the need for a prequel to Seth MacFarlane‘s 2012 classic comedy Ted might not the most necessary project in the world, I’m grateful it’s here. MacFarlane has a knack for creating content that nobody knew they wanted, a testament to his unique comedy. By the end of Ted Season 1, I am more than willing to kick back and enjoy spending time with the Bennett family.
Ted Season 1, streaming exclusively on Peacock, takes us back to 1993, offering a glimpse into the early life of everyone’s favorite sentient teddy bear. Set in Framingham, Massachusetts, the show revolves around Ted’s adventures with John Bennett and his quirky family, including John’s father, Matty, his mother, Susan, and cousin, Blaire.
The series explores the aftermath of the initial excitement surrounding Ted’s talking abilities, asking questions about what happens when the novelty wears off and if ’90s humor can thrive through the lens of a talking teddy bear. As John navigates his teenage years with the support of his cousin Blaire, the show brings a mix of comedy and social commentary to the table.
The humor in Ted Season 1 aligns with Seth MacFarlane’s signature style, using the 1993 setting without overloading on ’90s references through overly self-aware humor. Instead of forcefully inserting these references, the series allows situations to incorporate them naturally. While pushing the boundaries at times, the jokes remain in good taste well enough. Ted Season 1 makes full use of having a motion-captured bear deliver the humor, making the commentary more accessible and likely to elicit more than a few chuckles.
The comedic writing of the majority of the cast truly propels Ted Season 1. Max Burkholder, portraying John Bennett, encapsulates the essence of the well-intentioned goofball, delivering comedic lines that align seamlessly with the style that makes Seth MacFarlane’s comedy so effective. Additionally, the dynamic duo of Ted and Giorgia Whigham as Blaire excels in both delivery and presence, making their pairing just as enjoyable as when Ted is with John. They add a rational and understanding dimension to Seth MacFarlane’s boundary-pushing comedy. The show cleverly combines crass humor with social commentary.
Throughout the series, the characters undergo subtle yet noticeable developments. While not groundbreaking, these changes contribute to making most of the characters more likable than when they were introduced. Much of this positive evolution can be attributed to the effective pacing of the season. The progression is evident in John, who transforms from a quiet high school student to a stoner with a heart of gold, laying the groundwork for potential character moments in his senior year and beyond. However, this successful character evolution contrasts with the struggle to develop John’s father, Matty, played by Scott Grimes. He is a point of frustration, especially considering the standout moments delivered by John’s mother.
Alanna Ubach, portraying Susan Bennett, John Bennett’s mother, embodies the quiet Boston housewife motif. Her character experiences flashes of brilliance, particularly in her singing ability, and undergoes the most significant growth throughout the short season by finding her voice and validation in her position in life. However, while most aspects of the show work well, the weakest link lies in Matty Bennett, John’s dad. His character leans heavily into the Boston dad stereotype of the ’90s, lacking political correctness.
While this dynamic sets up amusing banter with the more liberal Blaire, it becomes repetitive quickly and often undermines the clever jokes achieved in situations not involving Matty. Despite numerous opportunities, the character fails to show growth, contrasting with the positive development seen in Susan’s character. It accentuates the character flaws without the redemptive heart seen in other similar comedic figures, like Peter from Family Guy.
While Matty’s character may be a weaker link, the overall positive aspects of the show, including the well-executed humor, character development for John, Blaire, and Susan, and the exploration of family dynamics through the lens of a talking teddy bear, bode well for future seasons. Ted Season 1 exhibits growth potential, and with adjustments to Matty’s character, it could continue to deliver entertaining and insightful content in subsequent seasons.
If you’re a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s work, then Ted Season 1 is a gem you didn’t realize you needed. The jokes land more often than not, especially when Ted is alongside Max Burkholder’s John Bennent and Giorgia Whigham’s Blaire. The versatility of the Ted concept is on full display, even within a high school setting. While they don’t quite hit the mark with Matty’s character, the overall writing is a credit to the staff, and it leaves me eagerly anticipating more from this team in the future.
Ted Season 1 is streaming exclusively on Peacock now.
Ted Season 1
If you’re a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s work, then Ted Season 1 is a gem you didn’t realize you needed. The jokes land more often than not, especially when Ted is alongside Max Burkholder’s John Bennent and Giorgia Whigham’s Blaire. The versatility of the Ted concept is on full display, even within a high school setting.