Seth MacFarlane is a man of multiple talents. The creator of several highly successful TV shows, a master animator, comedian and even an accomplished pianist and singer, MacFarlane has the expertise and confidence to accomplish almost anything he puts his mind to.
In 2012, MacFarlane made his directorial debut with the film Ted. We decided to take a look back at the highly original comedy film and what made it such a success.
“…delayed Gratification is the key to success.”
McFarlane rose to prominence through his hit TV animated comedy series, Family Guy. The young animator was given a budget of $50,000 to produce a pilot episode at a time when most episodes of animated prime-time productions reportedly cost at least $1 million per episode. In his own words, MacFarlane spent “six months with no sleep and no life, just drawing like crazy” in order to prepare the series for his pitch to Fox Television executives. His six months of non-stop work eventually led to Fox loving his pilot and purchasing Family Guy for a 1999 television debut. The rest they say, is history.
From Television to Film
MacFarlane made the jump from television to film in 2012 when he directed and starred in the live-action film Ted. If you haven’t seen the film, the premise is a living, talking teddy bear named Ted (voiced by McFarlane) who is best friends with John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg). Ted comes alive after an eight-year-old John makes a Christmas wish upon a star. Fast forward 27 years later, John and Ted are best friends and living in the same apartment.
A Critically acclaimed success
Without wishing to spoil the plot for you, Ted won numerous awards and was considered by many to be the best comedy film of 2012. Ted was certainly a box office hit. The film had a budget of $50 million but ended up grossing over $549 million which made it the 12th highest grossing film of 2012. Ted was also a success in Asian countries. The Seth MacFarlane name certainly has pulling power thanks to the loyalty of the Family Guy audience.
The Ted soundtrack received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song and was released as a record. Legendary film soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer was the man given the opportunity to produce the soundtrack.
“…Oh, come on. I don’t sound really much like Peter Griffin.”
Unsurprisingly, MacFarlane included several little Easter eggs in the film referring to Family Guy. Shows written by MacFarlane have a certain comedy element to them and in this case Ted contained similar humour to the jokes you will find when watching episodes of Family Guy.
Fans of Family Guy and American Dad will feel at home watching Ted. In addition to Seth MacFarlane and Mila Kunis, there are several other cast members from the Family Guy series who make cameo appearances in Ted including Alex Borstein who plays Lois in Family Guy and Patrick Warburton who plays the Family Guy character of Joe. In the aquarium scene, if you listen closely you will hear Ted put on the voice of Stewie Griffin when he is mocking the fish.
Cultural References in Ted
Other than references to Family Guy, Ted also contains allusions to other well-known TV shows and movies.
The Bee Gees dance scene of the movie Airplane! is spoofed when John describes and imagines how he met his girlfriend Lori. The Michael Fay caning is also spoofed. SpongeBob SquarePants footage appears on the television as does footage of Flash Gordon.
Ted and Beyond
The success of Ted led to a sequel three years later, Ted 2. Although not as successful as the original, Ted 2 was still a commercial success. The Ted brand has also been marketed into a popular online game Ted Megaways. Whilst there are also lots of Ted merchandise, such as ted toy bears (unsurprisingly) and even Ted lunchboxes and Ted clothing.
Whether we will see a third Ted film remains to be seen. Seth MacFarlane is reportedly on board so it likely remains a matter of time as to when Ted 3 will be announced. But for now, there are no plans to make a third film in the series.