‘Ted’ star talks love scene: Jessica Barth Love Scene
Published: June 25, 2015
‘Ted’ star talks love scene: Jessica Barth Love Scene, It’s undeniably funny. The cute babyish face, the way he sounds like a grown-up when he curses, that absurd dirtbag Southie accent. But enough about Mark Wahlberg – let’s talk about his co-star, the animated stuffed animal Ted that, if you recall, came to life in Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 hit comedy. It’s a one-note joke, but it’s a good one: a cuddly living bear with a simple, expressive face that’s mostly a raging id arsehole, but occasionally a voice of reason. He may sound a lot like Peter Griffin, star of MacFarlane’s Family Guy for 13 (13?!!) seasons, but at times he’s more like the sage dog, Brian. As with all sentient toys in film, he just wants love, and in Ted 2, he’s told that he’s undeserving, because he isn’t real.
The eventual central conflict in this 30-minutes-too-long movie is a legal/philosophical battle arguing that while Ted may not be flesh and blood, his self-aware quality makes him “alive”. (This ought to be familiar to anyone who has seen Measure of a Man, the landmark episode of MacFarlane’s beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation.) Its a desultory route getting there. First there’s watching Ted and his wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) have domestic quarrels echoing Raging Bull, then the decision to have children, followed by the realisation that, in Tami-Lynn’s words, “Teddy ain’t got no dick”. There follows a tidal wave of semen jokes, more than any censor could possibly mop up. Some are clever, some are just gross, some simply wager that audiences will laugh at seeing a fuzzy bear scream about getting jizz all over him. Cinemas are dark. If you laugh, few people will know it’s you.
Once we’re past all this sticky preamble, the story: Ted and Tami-Lynn want to adopt a child, but the government decides he’s not a person. With pal Wahlberg they’ll fight it in court (with newbie, cannabis-friendly lawyer Amanda Seyfried taking the case), and that’s where you’ll wonder whether MacFarlane really thought this through. Much like his “We saw your boobs” bit at the Oscars that, most would agree, pushed the line of good taste, Ted 2 begins to compare the plush bear’s plight to slavery. The film backpedals a bit – while watching LeVar Burton get whipped during Roots, Ted says, “That’s just like me”, and Wahlberg counters with, “Well, not quite ” but when the legal team mentions the Dred Scott case, Plessy v Ferguson and Brown v Board of Ed, it gets a little uncomfortable.
Does this come from a good place? I think so. Evidence: the scene in which a cross Ted yells at a judge, saying: “This [injustice] is just like what you did to the fags!” When Seyfried’s character scolds him, he legitimately apologises, then covers up with “the homos! I mean the homos!” Ted is your well-meaning but clueless uncle at Christmas dinner.
There’s not much cinematic in Ted 2. It’s shot like flat television, but a lot of dough surely went into the animation of the lifelike bear. And it’s that level of perfectionism that makes some of these offensive jokes acceptable. There’s an undercurrent of goading our outrage that reaches its zenith when Ted and company decide to celebrate the only way they know how: by going to an improv comedy show and shouting inappropriate suggestions. It’s here where we get cinema’s first Charlie Hebdo joke, and the audience I saw it with was half-shocked, half in stitches. But I’d like to think that if any organisation would stand for this no-prisoners attitude, Charlie Hebdo would be it.
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