Better Off Ted (2009–2010): Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot - full transcript

Ted Crisp is the head of Research & Development at Veridian Dynamics, a top-line corporation, striving to make it to the top. Ted has an uneasy friendship with his boss, Veronica Palmer - she is always wanting something from him to add to the business, from bio-warfare pumpkins, to uncomfortable leather chairs. Dr. Lem Hewitt and Dr. Phil Myman are two research analysts that work in Ted's group and are always competing against one another to get ahead. Linda Zwordling is a young intern and test consultant to office-test the various experiments the lab puts out. Ted is a recent divorcée raising a 10-year-old daughter, named Rose, after his wife left him to find herself as well as to "save the world". Ted's latest assignment involves recruiting Phil to be cryogenetically frozen as a public relations experiment for the company's research purposes.

[Female Announcer]
Veridian Dynamics.

Every day, something we make
makes your life better.

Power- we make that.

Technology- we make that.

Well, no. We don't make cows.

Although we have made a sheep...

and medicines...

and airplane engines...

and whatever this is...

and all sorts of things.

Veridian Dynamics.

Every day, something we make
makes your life better-


Veridian Dynamics.
Life. Better.

I have the best job in the world.

We want to make a metal
that's as hard as steel...

but can bounce like rubber...
and is edible.

We can do that.

I'm the head of a research
and development department...

for one of the largest
companies in America-

- Veridian Dynamics.
- [Door Opens]

Veronica's my boss.

We need a mouse that can withstand
temperatures up to 195 degrees.

We can do that.

Uh, computer mouse
or a live mouse?

I'll get back to you.

Every day there's something new
waiting to be discovered.

- [Door Opens]
- Computer mouse.


We do everything:
industrial products, biomedical...

- cryogenics, defense technology.
- [Door Opens]

We want to weaponize a pumpkin.

Then so do I. Because?

There's a country with whom we do business
that grows a great deal of pumpkins...

and would welcome
additional uses for them...

as well as cheaper ways
to kill their enemies.

Well, finally the pumpkin gets to
do something besides Halloween.


Halloween and pie.

I've been at Veridian three years.
Last year I got a promotion.

Now I run a team of some
of the smartest people in the world.


There we go.

Okay, people. We need to turn
this simple, festive gourd into a killer.

I've asked Dr. Bamba
to take a look at how nature does it...

because nature
is a fantastic killer of things.

- Dr. Bamba.
- Thank you.

Nature attacks and annihilates the pumpkin
with powdery mildew disease...

which can be mutated and designed
to attack human cell structure...

causing enemy soldiers to grow
a magnificent soft downy coating and die...

as mold.

- Oh, my God.
- Spores in uniforms.

I think we get the picture.

Uh, Cindy, Lester, Jerry,
you're with Dr. Bamba on this.

The rest of you,
you're welcome.

Ted, the drones working on the spy drone
came up with this cheap fabric.

Find another use for it.

It's a good texture, coloration.
Maybe a breakfast meat.

Are you serious?
We want to be in that business.

No. You have to lighten up.

Maybe I'm too funny.

Maybe I was joking
about not getting your joke.


[Ted Narrating]
This is Lem.

He's a genius.


For 10 years, Lem has been
research partners with...

Phil, who's also a genius.

I'm so angry about the toilet paper.
Why couldn't they leave it next to the toilet?

That proximity was so elegant.

They think if it's harder to reach
that we'll use less of it.

They've destroyed going
to the bathroom for me.

Used to be just a weird human function.
Now it's actively stressful.

Okay, look. Just take the roll
off of the dispenser...

and bring it with you
before you sit.

- That's what I do.
- That's not normal, Phil.

It becomes normal...
if you keep doing it.

Everything does.

Look, you can put up with their crap
if you want to. That's fine. That's who you are.

But I'm not like that. I'm a fighter.
lfight stuff like this.

No, you don't.

Shut up, Phil.
I would if I thought I could win.

No. Because remember,
there was that thing last week...

that you thought you could win
and you still didn't fight?


- With the sandwich?
- Yeah. I should've fought that.

- I thought so.
- Hey, fellas.

See if you can make this fabric
into a line of office chairs.

It's very strong and, well, dark.

Do you think I don't fight
injustice enough?

Is this about the sandwich?

Because I think instinctively
you knew you wouldn't have won that.

- Your mom's tough.
- She once killed a bat with a People magazine.

That is tough.

But one thing she's not, someone who can
create something out of nothing.

Like you can.
So make me an office chair.

- He's a better man than you.
- Agreed.

[Ted Narrating]
The next step for any product is testing.

Testing is one of the things
Linda does for us.

People are squirming.
The fabric's not comfortable.

Squirming, or...

are they just enjoying it so much they want
their whole body to rub against it?

Ted, I know you're an R & D legend
with magical R & D powers...

but the chair, just no.

Never give up.
That's what I always tell my daughter.

She tells me to stop telling her,
but I tell her I can't...

because that would be giving up.

- Look at these numbers.
- [Gasps] You scared me.

What's with the creamer?

Nothing. They're mine.
What's up?

Productivity increased
when people used the chairs.

I like creamer. I've only worked here six months.
Is there a rule about that I should know?

When people can't get comfortable,
they don't daydream or get distracted.

So, they're more productive.

And more filled with hate.

[Ted Narrating]
And the scratchier the fabric...

the more uncomfortable people are...

and the harder they work.

Get it off me!

Get it off me!
Get it off!

[Ted Narrating]
Up to a point, then they go mad.

[People Chattering]

[Camera Shutter Clicks]

Is it wrong to invent
a deadly pumpkin?

Or an irritating chair
that makes people work harder?

Thing is, work's not about
right and wrong.

It's about success or failure.

- Your department's using too much creamer.
- Does it matter?

It's not Katrina, but it is a problem.

Ted, there's been a spill-
Oh, hi, Veronica. It's nothing.

Hi, Phil. Actually,
you're the reason I'm here.

- Oh, really?
- Yes. You can go now.

- But, uh-
- I'm here to talk about you, not to you.

I'm sorry.

We want to freeze Phil.

Excuse me?

Phil. The company wants to
cryonically freeze him.

Just for a year, to see if it's possible.
We think it is.

You think it's possible?

Yes, Mr. Negative, we do.
We have developed a chemical...

which allows us to rapidly freeze
live animal tissue without it exploding.

And, fingers crossed,
we're ready for human testing.

Your presentation sucks.
And why Phil?

Well, for P.R. reasons,
they want an employee.

And in the unlikely event
something goes wrong...

well, there are people here
we would, you know, miss more.

Well, you be sure to tell him that
when you try to get him to do it.

I see where this is going.

Your guys will do anything
for you, Ted. They've got-

What's that thing again?
Underlings have it. Loyalty!

This is huge for us.
You need to make it happen.

Well, I'll try. But Phil hates the cold
and he freaks out in small spaces...

so this assignment
is not ideal for him.

Yeah. Well, they originally
suggested Lem.

But freeze the black guy?
They're not stupid.

[Door Closes]

If I'm gonna ask Phil to do
something potentially dangerous...

I need to make sure
that it's potentially safe.

So I've asked Linda
to check out the data.

No. The zebra
and the toaster are friends.

- [Clears Throat]
- I have to go.

No. That makes the toaster too mean.
He's not a sociopath.

He just doesn't want
to make toast anymore.

Hi. Is that a new shirt?

Oh, that's cool. Let's pretend that
that phone call wasn't odd.

I'm trying to write
a children's book.

My illustrator doesn't get...
just most of it.

Well, what's, uh, not to get?

A toaster that doesn't
wanna make toast.

And, of course,
there's a zebra.

You do the same thing every day. You please
everyone around you. At some point you say...

"Making toast is fine.
It's opened some doors. But I need more."

"So I'm running away.
I don't know how.

I'm plugged into a wall.
I don't have legs. But I'm doing it."

You totally get the toaster...

and his complicated
love/hate relationship with the outlet.

Who has all the power.

Ted. That's lame.

You laughed.


- So, uh, freezing Phil?
- You want to know about Phil? It's probably okay.

If he can get past minus 20 degrees
without his eyes bursting-

That would be
the first sign of trouble.

This is a great company, isn't it?
Freezing its employees.

Uh, employee.
We're only freezing one...

for now.

Do you know that they send us
the phone bills for our nonwork-related calls?

They don't charge us for 'em. They just want us
to know that they know we're making 'em.

Can a company be bitchy?

Is that why you steal creamer?

Yes. It's an act of rebellion.

I also scratched the words "Place scrotum here"
in the lunchroom table.

But then, you know,
that just became the thing to do.

- Hey.
- Hey.

- You have the best cubicle.
- Yeah, and we have been in all of them.

- Except Cindy's. [Laughs]
- Whoa, Cindy. No way.

I've been in there. Twice. She got so mad
the first time, I had to do it again.

I'm definitely going in there
sometime, twice also, as well.

So we heard rumors something's
gonna be done to Phil?

Yeah. And I just so want it
to be something good.

Why do they want to freeze me?
I didn't do anything.

No, Phil, it's not a punishment.
It's- It's an honor.

You've been chosen
to be a pioneer...

to go someplace no one's ever gone before...
and come back.

I don't know.

I can talk to my wife about it.

Will I keep getting paid?
She's going to want to know that.

Of course!
I assume.

I mean, technically it is work.
I'll check.

You shouldn't freeze Phil.

[Ted Narrating]
This is my daughter, Rose. She knows everything.

Honey, it's exciting. It's gonna be a huge
breakthrough in science.

- I like Phil.
- Maybe you'll like him
even more when he's frozen.

I like him the temperature he is.

Phil came to my birthday.

It's wrong to freeze someone
who comes to your daughter's birthday.

Well- Did you do
your math homework?

- Yes.
- Six times eight?

Yes, that was one of them.

Would you do it? Would you do
something like this and leave me?

When Rose was four, her mom
left us to go save the world.

That's been hard for Rose.
Frankly, not so great for the world either.


I would never leave you- ever.

I know. We've discussed this.
You're a great dad.

But it's wrong to ask Phil
to do something you wouldn't do.

You're right. You're always right...

because stupidly,
I taught you right and wrong.

Tell 'em you don't want to do it.

They can't force employees
to participate in human experiments.

- They lost that court case.
- But I want to do it.

What? Phil, that's crazy.

Thank you. See?
I'm not the only one.

It is only for a year, Lem.

Oh, I'll just stand perfectly still so I don't
accidentally go on living my life without you.

- Moron.
- Look, Phil...

I might have sold you
a little too hard yesterday.

And that was... wrong.

No, you were right.
This is my chance to be a pioneer.

My wife thought it would be exciting too,
which surprised me...

because she's normally a deeply
and relentlessly negative person.

- Mrs. Moron.
- Least I have a Mrs. Moron.

- Who's in your life, Lem?
- Why are you being so mean?

[Ted Narrating]
And so, they froze Phil.

What I do now, I do for science.

And so I do not ask
for your concern.

All I ask is for your respect.

[Door Slams]

Respect as a scientist. Respect as a friend.

[Mechanism Ratcheting]

- [Continues, Muffled]
- [Machine Powering Up]

[Gases Hissing]

I've never seen a man explode
from the inside.

A rabbit, an eel, a goat,
a monkey and a reindeer, but that's all.

I'm out.

This is normal.
Every company does stuff like this.


Does Phil look like
he's in pain?

Bummer to have to stay like that for a year.

I don't think you're crazy
for stealing creamer.

[Bamba] Watch closely.
Minus 20 is when the eyes might burst.

[All Gasp]

[All Sigh]

[Hissing Continues]

- [Exhales]
- [Glass Squeaks]

He's been like this
for three days now.

They promised him he could stay in the lab
with his friends. So that's good. Right, buddy?

They're moving him tomorrow.

- What? Where?
- I think the basement.

Although there's
been talk of India.


[Cell Phone Rings]

Hello? No, I can talk.

- Phil thawed out? How?
- It's very technical.

- Is he okay?
- He's fine.

It's just...
something's not quite right.

Next we looked at methylthiazol-4,
which we assumed would-

- [Screams]
- [All Gasp]

So this thing with Phil making that stupid face
and yelling-They think it's distracting.

I guess in hindsight, they
shouldn't have vitrified his brains.

Look, I'm not gonna play
the blame game with you.

- The point is, they need you to let him go.
- What?

[Elevator Bell Dings]

- [Elevator Bell Dings]
- [Doors Close]

Have you been
avoiding me since...

you know, you held my hand?


And-And I didn't hold your hand.

l-I held onto your hand
after you held my hand.

Oh, okay. That's how we're playing it?
We're gonna play it stupid?

Okay, honestly, l-
I don't know how it happened.

I do. I was standing
there like this.

And you took my hand
like this. And that's...

how it happened.

- Linda.
- Ted.

I used up my office affair.

What now?

You only get one.
Otherwise, you're that guy that sleeps around.

And about a year ago, I used mine.

Ted, that was
an excellent presentation.

Everything you said was
just so concise and exactly-

- [Door Closes]
- I think you and I should have sex.

If you want.

Look at me. I'm so nervous,
I'm shaking like a leaf.

- No-No, you're not.
- No. Is that a problem?

I don't get nervous. I try.
It just doesn't come out.

I guess that makes me...

No, you're not vulnerable.

No. So, where does
that put us?

Ted, it's okay. Really.
l-I don't care.

- I work for you. It would be-
- [Elevator Bell Dings]

Besides, only an idiot would have
an affair with their boss.

Pretty girl...

although she makes a lot
of nonwork-related calls.

Which I think makes
her less attractive.

Listen, Veronica. About firing Phil,
I don't think we should rush into anything.

- You're right. Wait until the end of business Friday.
- [Elevator Bell Dings]

It'll be easier for payroll.

- You're kidding, right?
- No.

- You're kidding, right?
- No.

Now they want you
to fire Phil?

That's what
I'm supposed to do. Yep.

Do grown-ups even care
about right and wrong?

Did you brush your teeth?

Don't change the subject.

- Hello, Linda.
- Oh! Hi.

Did I surprise you? I didn't mean
to surprise you. I'm just a friendly person.

I didn't think
you knew my name.

Well, of course
I know your name.

I know a lot about you...

Linda Catherine
Zwordning- ling.


Fine. You know your name
better than I do. Yea.

- Ted, I can't have you sleeping with Linda.
- What?

It could embarrass me.
Plus, I may not be done with you yet.

Hey, guys.

Hi, Phil. I hear you're blinking again.
Good for you.

- Why is he still here?
- Because, Veronica, I'm not firing him.

- But they want you to fire him.
- I don't care. It's just wrong.

So then you're saying no to them?

That's an interesting career choice.

Phil doesn't deserve
to be fired.

He's incredibly smart, he's hardworking.
He let us freeze him!

He's the last guy that deserves to be fired,
and I'm standing by him.


- Dude.
- [Stops]

- You're not helping me.
- Okay, I'll talk to them.

But what you're doing
is gonna hurt their feelings.

And when their feelings get hurt,
they hurt the ones they love.

- And they love you, Ted.
- Well, then maybe I should talk to them.

No. They don't want to talk to you
when you're like this.


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