MacFarlane takes on the silver-screen with Ted

BY JAWHAR KIMBROUGH ’16
Contributing Writer

Nothing says funny like teddy bears.

This past June, Seth McFarlane released the film Ted, which is—as you guessed—a comedy full of his obnoxious brand of humor. The film was McFarlane’s first attempt at directing, writing, and starring in a movie. Mark Wahlberg adds to the hilarity by playing a grown man, John Bennett, who can’t seem to detach himself from his wished-to-life teddy bear, Ted, voiced by McFarlane, but let’s not forget Mila Kunis, Wahlberg’s girlfriend, who tries desperately to deal with her immature boyfriend’s inability to engage in an adult relationship.

Ted’s plot is your standard boy-becoming-a-man storyline, with Bennett unable to escape his life of mediocrity because his childhood best friend, Ted, constantly persuades him to do idiotic and unproductive stunts. Lori Collins (Kunis), just wants Bennett to man up and propose to her, rather than spend so much time with Ted. After pleading for Bennett to come to his senses and realize its her or the bear, John makes the mistake of leaving Lori at a party to meet his childhood hero, Flash Gordon (Sam Jones) with Ted. The aftermath of all this is the break-up of two friends and Bennett and Lori’s relationship.

McFarlane also throws in a creepy obsessed fan, Donny, played by Giovanni Ribisi, who desperately wants to make Ted his son’s toy. This portion of the plot makes for a more suspenseful and exciting movie especially when Donny actually manages to capture Ted. The movie then makes attempts at action/thriller scenes as Bennett and Donny try to get Ted back. Needless to say it’s not the search and rescue mission pulled off in Taken, but it does lead to an almost tear-jerking moment when Ted’s life hangs in the balance.

Despite the silver-screen, McFarlane doesn’t try too hard to break away from the brand of humor we see in his flagship show Family Guy. The duo of Ted and Bennett contribute to the McFarlane genre, in which the main character’s best friend is an animal or something non-human (In Family Guy Peter Griffin’s best friend is the dog Brian, and Stan from American Dad has Roger the alien as his best friend of sorts). This repetition of character types has been nothing short of successful, and Ted and Wahlberg make the perfect team. Whether it be the weird and immature sense of humor McFarlane’s fans seem to have or that people have a desire to see humans and animals befriend and engage in senseless escapades, McFarlane is enjoying success at the highest level. FOX Network offered McFarlane $50,000 an episode for the first season of Family Guy, and Ted took in $54.1 million its opening weekend.

Nevertheless, the movie ends with Ted being reunited with Bennett, and Lori realizing that she would rather have her boyfriend and his teddy bear than neither of them. It’s not the movie of the year with an exceptional storyline, but McFarlane does a great job of getting the right cast together to give the audience some really good laughs. Ted definitely deserves to be considered one of the best comedies of this 2012, but don’t expect it to win any big awards.

Questions? Email Jawhar at jawhar.kimbrough@fandm.edu.

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