Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Prescience of Better Off Ted

Like that clever use of the word "prescience"?  There were a multitude of reasons why Better Off Ted failed, and none of them were because it was less than brilliant.  It was genius, just like Phil and Lem.  Too genius?  And too critical of sociopolitics?  Recently, I've noticed that the show had been rather prescient in how they predicted the technological advances, based on then-current research and hypothetical situations, and the social climate in which we now live in today, two years after its demise.
The most recent event that cause my mind to immediately fall to Better Off Ted was the non-living meat, grown by scientists.  It's not a new idea, but it wasn't accomplished in the real world until last yearBoT, as far as I know, was the only show to take this research and bring it to the public in a creative way.

Another one that comes to mind is the racist cameras in "Racial Sensitivity" that were reflected in real life post-BoT.  First, Hewlett-Packard digital cameras could not pick up dark-skinned people due to the lack of light.  The exact same thing happened in BoT with the motion sensors that would trigger doors, elevators, water fountains, and lights.  The sensors couldn't pick up the dark complexion.  Soon after the Hewlett-Packard fiasco, Nikon released a camera that could not focus on Asians.  Not only was this heavily criticized but the idea of having to fulfill a certain ethnic quota for a company was under scrutiny when the company had to hire white people to follow the black people around the office, so they could go places.

It's as if Lem was doing this video....

In non-prescient manners, Better Off Ted also reflected the socio-political climate that we currently face, brought to the public in full force by the Republican GOP debates.  Veronica often spoke of being a woman in the workplace and the difficulties surrounding it.  This came hand-in-hand with being paid less (but still more than those beneath her).  It tackled issues of large corporations not caring about employees' satisfaction while trying to take ownership of any and all materials worked on during office hours.  The allowance of personal items came at a cost: the company gives them personal items they think would be appropriate.  Rather than allow individualism, they are controlling it by telling and guiding their drones.  Veronica boldly stated in one episode that we all know the war with China is coming long before others in real life were saying it.  Developing products that failed as households products were then tossed to the military to be used at weapons, and Veridion Dynamics even built a line of robot soldiers for the military.  Battlestar Galactica now seems like a sequel to Better Off Ted.

The significance of this series was one that found fault in governments, large business conglomerates, patriarchies, scientific developments, and even individuals.  Its biting wit could not be contained in network TV.  Rather, its strengths should have come to fruition in cable, where their cussing episode could have flourished.  Better Off Ted, you will be missed, and I looked forward to your episode that would raise an extinct animal from the dead just to capitalize on it or use it as a weapon.

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