The moment you realize the impossibility of a teddy bear randomly starting to talk like a person, Ted becomes a regular teen drama show. And that’s exactly what works out in the show’s favor because it pretty much aces in all the departments. The comedy bits work out, and the jokes land really well, but it is the social commentary folded into the narrative that really takes the show to a new height. Unlike the movies, which were more slapstick comedies, this spinoff comes off as a rather wholesome comedy set in the nineties, that can actually challenge something untouchable like “Freaks and Geeks, and I am not even exaggerating.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Show?
As I’ve already said, the show normalizes Ted coming to life thanks to little John Bennettt’s wish, back in 1985, in its opening minute. The year is 1993, Johnny is a high school junior, and nobody really cares that the teddy bear walks and talks. Ted is a member of the Bennett household now, and he basically spends his days chilling at the house.
Why Is Ted Sent To School With Johnny?
This is where the show plays it smart. Considering the friendship between Johnny and Ted is the main foundation of this franchise, it was necessary to pair these two for most of the show. So, Ted takes Johnny’s father Matty’s rifle out and does an incredibly funny but small-scale mess up at the house by breaking the window, when everyone’s out. This inevitability led Matty to send the bear to school with Johnny, which would keep him away from home. And the school principal is more than willing to accept the bratty teddy bear into the fold and takes it upon herself to make a model student out of him. Ted is obviously not too fond of school, but his initial attempts to get suspended, ranging from misbehaving with the English teacher to creating a disruption during lunch, all fail to get the desired outcome.
How Do Ted And Johnny Discover Marijuana?
With this show serving as an origin story for the characters, the duo’s first tryst with marijuana had to be an important aspect here. And Seth MacFarlane expertly tied that to Ted’s futile attempts to get away from the school. The marijuana becomes a necessity because if Ted’s found with drugs, then he is bound to be kicked out as per the school rules. So the duo of awkward teenager Johnny and a talking teddy bear dying to get out of the school seek it out from Sheila, known for both her pot-smoking and her hotness. Sheila happens to be the elder sister of Johnny’s classmate Bethany, with whom the boy would have a very John Hughes kind of romantic arc in the final leg of the season—more on that later. While Sheila refuses to take the risk of handing over marijuana to a teddy bear and a minor, she is gracious enough to give them the contacts. After much anticipation from both the duo and the audience, the dealer turns out to be none other than Blaire, Johnny’s older cousin who lives in their house.
Why Does Blaire Sell Drugs?
Easily the best character of the show, Blaire adds an entirely new perspective to the whole narrative, and this is where the show breaks away from the shackles that constricted the movies. As a “fluid” young adult dating an Indian girl back in the nineties, Blaire already had a life filled with difficulties. What made it further worse for her was her own family being consisted of a bunch of psychotic losers, resulting in her living in the Bennett household. However, Johnny’s mother, Susan, possibly the nicest person you could find on earth, treats the poor girl as her own child, and despite having a relationship of constant bickering, Johnny and Ted also value Blaire’s presence in the house. But Blaire’s relationship with her uncle Matty is rather complicated. Unbeknownst to everyone, Blaire actually has to pay rent to Matty in order to stay out. She doesn’t miss any opportunity to call Matty out, and given that Matty is your typical white American man in the nineties, she gets a lot of those. Add to that the fact that Matty happens to be a war veteran, now pursuing the American dream, who is content with just “providing” for his family.
What makes us sympathize with Blaire is the fact that she’s dealing drugs (along with her girlfriend Sarah) only to pay her rent as well as fund Sarah’s education. When Matty finds out about Blaire’s drug dealing, he decides to throw her out of the house. Blaire is actually sorry because she genuinely cares about Johnny and doesn’t want to become the person responsible for anything bad happening to him. Seeing Blaire in such a bad state, Ted takes it upon himself to bribe Matty with Sylvester Stallone’s mouthguard, a prized possession he was holding on to for a day just like this. Thanks to Matty’s obsession with the Rocky movie, it was not hard for Ted to cut a sweet deal: Blaire staying, and that too without paying the rent. The bonding between Ted and Blaire gets stronger from this point onwards, which lays out the perfect opportunity for the show to explore it further in the latter episodes. During Halloween, Ted goes to attend a party with Blaire and her designated driver, but Ted being Ted, he obviously gets drunk by himself and crashes the car while returning. Blaire is furious, and the two of them have to return to creepy Professor Damon’s house in order to make a call home. Ted is certain that Damon has all the terrible intentions for Blaire, but in a great twist, he surprises Ted in a creepier way—by dressing himself up as a teddy bear and confessing his love for the teddy. Despite being startled by this new development, Ted is smart enough to cut a deal with Damon as well; the “reputed” professor making Blaire his literary assistant, a prestigious position Blaire was originally seeking, and in return, they’re going to keep his creepy side under wraps. The same night, Johnny has an awkward encounter with his mom’s friend Carol’s son, who is later revealed as a random guy, and MacFarlane throws the joke on us by not explaining who the man really is. But Johnny does manage to realize that it’s possible to have fun without Ted as well, after throwing some ostrich eggs at kids and returning Blaire and Ted from their tryst with Damon.
Is There Trouble In Paradise For Matty And Susan?
The show makes it abundantly clear that there was no paradise in the first place, anyway. But Matty and Susan’s relationship is not beyond fixing either. Of course, Matty has tons of issues that can be found in American men (and men all over the world) back in the day, and probably even today, but he is at least fortunate enough to have a niece as great as Blaire in his life. She is the one who is constantly vocal about Matty’s mistreatment of Susan throughout the show and even manages to make Johnny and Ted see it as well. Even though Matty never intended to, all his life he has been a terrible partner to Susan, who is nothing but nice and understanding. This only happened due to Matty’s patriarchal upbringing, an issue that is still at large in society, and I really liked when the show finally pushed the character to admit that.
Does Matty Ever Come Around?
While the show never once took Matty’s positive side, it also made sure that he was not too far gone. Maybe it’s hard to imagine a cis-male character that stands for all the wrong things in the world changing his worldviews in a time like that, but Ted in its very essence is a show that’s about wish fulfillment. So watching Blaire soaring high and revolutionizing the Bennett household is exactly what we needed to see, I suppose. Of course, MacFarlane took the liberty of taking things to extremes by randomly bringing Matty’s old fire truck, Dennis, back to life and making Dennis arguably the worst character in the entire franchise. But that also works as a tool for Matty to finally come around. That, of course, happens in an instant classic “Christmas episode” where Blaire shocks Matty by revealing her sexual identity, and just when she’s about to leave with Sarah, Matty apologizes to her and requests that she stay for Christmas. The cherry on the top has to be Dennis ending up confessing that he has always been gay. I bet this is MacFarlane’s way of validating and reassuring all those “macho” men who’re still in the closet. It’s interesting how the truck driving profession is seen as a “manly” thing, and that’s exactly what MacFarlane tried to ridicule. If Ted ends up causing a stir due to this, I would consider it a success. Speaking of Matty, it’s evident from his gestures to Susan during Christmas that he’s trying. It’s still not perfect, but realistically, that’s the best Susan will probably ever get.
What Happens To Ted And Johnny?
Despite giving a lot of importance to Matty, Susan, and Blaire, Ted never takes away the focus from its central characters, Ted and Johnny. Throughout the show, it is established that these two are actually pure souls when it comes to hearts. Ted might crack problematic jokes at times and remain ignorant about something as regular as menstruation, but he never actually intends to hurt anyone. As far as Johnny’s concerned, he’s a rather sweet teenage boy who understandably feels embarrassed about not losing his virginity yet. There are several subplots in which the show proves the goodness of Ted and Johnny. In one of those, they actually go the distance by throwing a fake birthday party for school bully Clive and convincing mall security personnel to act as Clive’s father, who took off even before the boy was born. Ted standing up for Susan when she gets bullied during her stint as a substitute teacher is another instance of the teddy bear’s good intentions. Of course, the show makes sure that Susan has a very real, wholesome talk with Erin, the same girl who bullied her, but that only came from a place of misery thanks to Erin’s own dysfunctional life.
It’s only fitting that Ted would conclude with a dose of sex education for Johnny, where Blaire would make sure that both Matty and Susan have the talk with their teenage son. Johnny does find his potential soulmate in Bethany, who seems to be very much into Johnny as well. But Ted being Ted, he can’t help but corrupt Johnny’s head and present him as a “ladies man” in order to impress Bethany further, ignoring Blaire’s advice. That’s a turn-off for Bethany, as you would expect, who refuses to go to the prom with Johnny after inviting him herself. But Johnny does save the day by publicly talking about his virginity and apologizing to Bethany. Sadly, though, just when he’s about to get laid for the first time in his life, O.J. Simpson ruins it for him—if you know what I mean. Ted concludes with Johnny and Ted smoking pot and talking about life in general, a sight that is very familiar to the fans of the franchise, but it also manages to emerge as an extremely relevant, genuinely wholesome show that can stand very much on its own. With Johnny and Ted talking about the senior year of school during the final minutes, a second season is clearly on the cards. And if this season is anything to go by, I would love to see that happening for sure. Also, this is probably not that important and MacFarlane intentionally did this to us, but don’t you all think we really need to know who was the strange man that came to Johnny’s house on Halloween?