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Characters / Better Off Ted

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Main Characters

    Ted Crisp 

Ted Crisp
"The company does all sorts of crazy things, that doesn’t mean we have to be crazy too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go seduce a 55-year-old man."
Played by: Jay Harrington

Theodore Margaret "Ted" Crisp is the successful and yet conscientious head of research and development at Veridian Dynamics. Ted has a somewhat liaison-like position between the workers and the management of Veridian smoothing out the demands and expectations made on the other.

  • Benevolent Boss: To Phil, Lem and the rest of his underlings. They all prefer to speak to Ted rather than go to Veronica or Chet.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Veronica comments positively on his size a couple of times after she slept with him.
  • Chick Magnet: He's a good-looking, pleasant guy and doesn't have trouble getting girls. Keeping them is another story.
  • Commonality Connection: She and Ted bond with the struggle of each trying to be a good person while working on a morally dubious company.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Much is made of Ted's looks.
  • Internal Reformist: He tends to be the one pushing for kinder company procedures within Veridian.
  • Nice Guy: Chronically. He is nice to people for the sake of being nice, though he's also a bit obsessed with everyone liking him.
  • Office Romance: He has a "one office affair" rule that only allows him to have a single affair with a co-worker, which he used when he had a one-night casual Victory Sex with Veronica after a rather good deal they finished. Which is the reason why he and Linda are on a Will They or Won't They? relationship for most of the show.
  • Only Sane Employee: His job is explicitly to wrangle every Bunny-Ears Lawyer in his department and utilize their talents to accomplish their goals.
  • Only Sane Man: The other main cast consists of the borderline sociopathic Veronica, the socially awkward and eccentric Phil and Lem, and Linda, who steals creamer/throws bagels at vents.
  • Struggling Single Father: He has struggled to his daughter Rose by himself, after a hostile break-up with his wife Stacy, who left both of them to "save the world".
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Most of his interactions with Linda is filled with sexual tension and "non-flirting" and are on a Will They or Won't They? for most of the show.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: He frequently mentions his strained relationship with his Dad disapproved of his academic interests and eventual career choice, rather than following in his footsteps to become a plumber. Though he tries to forget it, there's at least one episode that involves him breaking test protocol to get him a good gift for Father's Day.

    Veronica Palmer 

Veronica Palmer
"I’m different than other women, Ted. And by different, I mean better."
Played by: Portia de Rossi

Veronica Palmer is Ted's boss. Though she once had an "office affair" with Ted, she prides herself on her ability to detach herself emotionally from her employees, actively cultivating an image of being emotionless, devoid of conscience, and willing to do anything to advance herself and the company (Phil at one point describes her as a sociopath). Despite this, she does use Ted as an advisor on some of the more "touchy-feely" parts of her job, and often surreptitiously aids him and her other employees when needed.

  • Action Girl: One need only see her fight in "Swag the Dog" where she goes at a soon-to-be ex-board member with a handsaw and a two-by-four to see this in action.
  • The Comically Serious: Her ice queen demeanor is often played for laughs in contrast to the rest of the cast, or for when she has a Not So Stoic moment.
  • Consummate Liar: To the point where Phil and Lem have to reprogram a lie detector so it will specifically work on her.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mainly towards Linda, who she initially views as just another underling but eventually forms an unsteady friendship with.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Many characters (herself included) comment on her beauty.
  • It's All About Me: She's a very self-centered woman, though she defrosts somewhat over the course of the series.
  • Lack of Empathy: She can't even really understand her own feelings, let alone anyone else's. She describes guilt as "itchy", and thinks sugar is an emotion.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: When Veronica is told that she is too intimidating, she starts wearing her hair down as part of an attempt to be more approachable, and hates it. She also wears her hair down when she's with her stage magician lover.
  • Odd Couple: She gets into a relationship with a Stage Magician named Mordor, who brings a very different side of her. She even occasionally works as his assistant.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite her selfishness and Lack of Empathy she does occasionally show kindness, such as when she saved Linda from being the company's scapegoat or got Phil's medical records for him.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Frequently wears her hair in a bun, due to it apparently scaring people away. In "Trust and Consequences" we actually learn she stole in from Linda, who wore her hair like this on her first day, and Veronica forbids Linda from ever using it again after.
  • Sex Goddess: She's "wildly fun in bed" according to Ted, Mordor and herself.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Parodied.
    Veronica: If it wasn't for the modeling contracts and the comfort of college boys, I don't know how I would've made it.
  • The Stoic: She acts like an emotionless ice queen and even states that she likes being unapproachable so that she won't be bothered by the "drones" (other employees).
  • Token Evil Teammate: She's by far the most morally scrupelesss employee within Veridian.

    Linda Zwordling 

Linda Zwordling
"Can't we develop one product that doesn't end up being used to kill people? Even our fat-free cinnamon roll led to that new sticky bomb."
Played by: Andrea Anders

Linda Katherine Zwordling is in the testing department at Veridian. Originally from Wisconsin where she used to work in cheese-making, she seems to desire a relationship with Ted, but is frustrated by his "one office affair" rule (though this is finally resolved in the series finale).

  • Book Dumb: Downplayed. She's often at a loss when it comes to the science stuff.
  • Brutal Honesty: She always speaks her mind, and doesn't seem to mind offending people
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Her first week at Veridian, she was so nervous she couldn't even laugh properly.
  • Commonality Connection: She and Ted bond with the struggle of each trying to be a good person while working on a morally dubious company.
  • Country Mouse: Ahe jokes about staying in Wisconsin and majoring in Cheese sciences.
  • Internal Reformist: She's constantly pushing for the company to do more environment-friendly projects.
  • Only Sane Employee: She's usually the most rational person in the company, as it's her job to decide the actual usability of the Veridian Dynamic products.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Linda tried to make Ted jealous by going out with her ex-boyfriend Don. This ended up backfiring when Don and Ted hit it off and became friends. Then Ted pretends to hate him when he realizes Linda was only trying to make him jealous.
  • Not so Above It All: In "Battle of the Bulbs", she states that even though she hates the company, it felt really good when they validated one of her ideas. This is also true of her relationship with Veronica, where she tries to prove she can be immoral too.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: She values her morals and principles above money... most of the time.
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: Since she's the only member of the main cast who is neither a manager nor a researcher, she is constantly trying to avoid boredom by engaging in small, safe acts of rebellion, such as stealing all the creamer from the coffee stations (her desk is full of it) or throwing donuts into the ventilation system (which she eventually turns into a competitive sport).
  • Token Good Teammate: She's the most moral of Veridian's employers, and often acts as The Conscience of the team, with Ted explicitly referring to her as "their conscience" at one point.
  • Totally Radical: Occasionally. Mostly when talking to younger people.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Most of her interactions with Ted is filled with sexual tension and "non-flirting" and are on a Will They or Won't They? for most of the show.

    Phil Myman 

Phil Myman
"I'm thinking confidence may be one of those things people can't tell if you really have, or are just pretending to have, like the female orgasm."
Played by: Jonathan Slavin

Dr. Philip "Phil" Myman is an emotionally sensitive man who is also one of the laboratory scientists in Veridian's Research Department. He is usually working or hanging out with Lem, who works with him on almost every project. He generally does whatever he can to be accepted and avoid conflicts.

  • Absent-Minded Professor: After spilling a beaker of eagle stem cells that Lem had been working on for twelve years because he thought it was water:
    Phil: Sorry. You should label things.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Has a notable crush on Veronica throughout the show, and, like Lem, gets nervous and uncomfortable around attractive members of the opposite sex.
    Phil: Can you imagine what it would be like to take Veronica out and have...lunch with her?
    Lem:...You should aim higher with your fantasies.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He's actually imagined what a beard of fingers would feel like.
  • The Dividual: As part of 'Phil & Lem'.
  • Evil Laugh: Any time he's confronted with an unpleasant truth. Which is why he got kicked out of that Al gore movie.
  • Extreme Doormat: Not as much a Lem, but he cannot stand up to Ted or Veronica.
  • Henpecked Husband: His unseen wife is rarely referred to in a positive light.
  • Mad Scientist: He and Lem are actually rather horrified to discover this is the case.
  • Those Two Guys: He's almost always paired off with Lem for their goofy science projects.

    Lem Hewitt 

Lem Hewitt
"We can't leave work in the middle of the day. We're not Somali pirates."
Played by: Malcolm Barrett

Dr. Lem Hewitt is one of the laboratory scientists in Veridian's Research Department. He is best friends with his lab partner Phil, who works with him on almost every project. Lem is just as conflict-averse as Phil, and seems just as willing to roll over and take whatever abuse the company has to offer. Lem and Phil usually work on inventions that border on the fantastic or impossible, like hover boots, "cow-less" beef or a cure for baldness that grows hair on anything it touches, like Ted's desk. Phil and Lem are best friends, so close that they often protect each other as a spouse or parent would.

  • Absent-Minded Professor: He cleaned out a coffee mug with hydrochloric acid and left it sitting out where Phil almost drank it.
  • Black and Nerdy: One of the nerdiest. He even wears glasses just to make himself look smart.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Better about his shyness than Phil (he's had two or three girlfriends over the show's run), but still gets nervous when confronted by, say, Linda's "lady shoulder".
  • The Dividual: As part of 'Phil & Lem'.
  • Extreme Doormat: Even Phil thinks Lem's a pushover. Whenever he has an issue with the company, he has a great deal of difficulty confronting someone about it.
  • Mad Scientist: Which unnerves both him and Phil.
  • Momma's Boy: He's apparently a major momma's boy and shares with her everything that goes on at the company.


Recurring Characters

    Rose Crisp 

Rose Crisp
Played by: Isabella Acres

Rose Crisp is Ted's daughter. She often asks Ted questions that make him question Veridian's unscrupulous policies and practices (such as cryonically freezing Phil), acting as his moral anchor when he sometimes is pushed to put the needs of the company over his own conscience and friends and steering him back in the right direction. Despite this, Rose bonds with Veronica in an early episode and is later "manipulated" by both Veronica and Ted on occasion.

  • Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally; when asked if she did her homework, she gave a noncommittal answer, and when asked what 7×8 was, she only said "Yes, that was one of them."
  • Missing Mom: As Ted explains, her mother left to go save the world. When Rose does get to stay with her for a brief time, she gets extremely spoiled (such as having ice cream for breakfast.)
  • Morality Pet: Keeps Ted from getting too caught up in the company's evil-ness.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Veronica put her hair into one while she was watching her for a few hours. Rose commented that it felt funny. Veronica said that that would go away in a couple of years.
  • Shipper on Deck: Likes Linda and wants her dad to go out with her, sometimes she even tries to play matchmaker.

    Dr. Bhamba 

Dr. Bhamba
Played by: Maz Jobrani

Dr. Bhamba is one of Veronica's employees. He is portrayed as an enemy of sorts to Lem and Phil, although at times they are seen working in the same lab room. Bhamba has, according to Lem, among other things, made warfare exponentially more horrifying.

  • Affably Evil: He's a very nice and jovial guy while also being horrifyingly sociopathic.
  • Mad Scientist: Heartily embraces this as the company's lead bio-weapons expert.
  • The Scapegoat: Willingly. One episode shows that whenever Veridian Dynamics does something that catches negative public attention, Dr. Bhamba takes the blame, attributing to a non-existent drinking problem he's "working to overcome".
  • Token Evil Teammate: Among Ted's team of scientists, he is the most happily amoral and contributes almost exclusively to warfare.