‘Ted’ Stars Talk Working With Seth MacFarlane in New Peacock Series (Exclusive)

‘Ted’ Stars Talk Working With Seth MacFarlane in New Peacock Series (Exclusive)

On Thursday, Peacock will debut the brand new Ted series from Seth MacFarlane. A prequel to the hit comedy films of the same name, the show jumps back and shows what life was like for talking teddy bear Ted and John Bennett, played here by Max Burkholder (Parenthood), back in their high school days. Recently, PopCulture.com had a chance to chat with Burkholder and actress Giorgia Whigham — who plays John’s progressively hip cousin Blaire — to talk about working on the brand new streaming series.

First, we teasingly asked what Ted is like on set, to which Whigham quipped, “Not there.” Burkholder then joked, “Non-existent. Empty space. He’s a void.” The actor then explained that when they are filming, McFarlane “is there doing the lines, which is very helpful,” and that he is “fully in character.” Whigham added, “It’s not hard for us to envision him, but he is not there actually. Yeah. So you’re looking at empty space and imagining him running around or…” Burkholder chimed in, “Wearing a little therapist’s jacket.” Whigham continued, “Yeah, it’s a trip, but it ended up being really cool and Seth was a huge part of that.”

With MacFarlane serving as the show’s director as well as the voice of its smart-mouthed CGI teddy, Burkholder explained that it’s not MacFarlane switching in and out of his Ted role that gets complicated. “I think what you have to get used to is Seth being in a different place than you need to be looking,” he confessed. “That’s the thing that took a second, because you’re looking at the bear or where the bear is supposed to be, and Seth’s over here doing the lines. A lot in the first few weeks and then every so often as we continued with shooting, he would say something and you’d be like you’d want to deliver your next line to where Seth actually is.”

Whigham offered, “Yeah, it was messing us up for a little while. You get used to also him just coming in and out. He’s just so good and he’s known this character for so long and he’s developed it so genius-ly. So it’s like he’d just pop in and out. Then he’ll be like, ‘What’s up guys?'”

When it came to MacFarlane’s approach to directing, Burkholder recalled, “There was as much space as we wanted or needed to either go back and try the same joke again, seeing if changing the delivery or the timing makes it feel better. Or if you’ve got whole cloth just another idea, there was room to … You could go to Seth or one of the EPs and pitch it, or you could just tell nobody and just bring it out in the moment and see what happened.” Whigham added, “Yeah, and there was always room. We’d do the take as scripted and then, yeah, he’d just be like, ‘All right, now just whatever you want to do.'”

(Photo: Peacock)

Finally, we asked Whigham about portraying Blaire, a character who feels as relevant in 2024 as she is in the show’s early ’90s setting. “It was so cool and it was not a hard thing to tackle because Blaire and I are pretty similar in a lot of different ways. But I think that just crafting her from scratch was really exciting. I agree though. I would dress up in her wardrobe and I’d look and I’d say, ‘I want to keep this. I could wear this today.'”

She continued, “I think the progressiveness is something that is definitely prevalent today. People are very progressive and forward-thinking, and they just don’t want to be stuck in the past anymore. So that was pretty easy for me to tap into because it’s everywhere right now and it’s a great thing. Yeah, it wasn’t too difficult… I think there is a real timelessness about her as well. It’s an honor. It’s just an honor to play her.” All eight episodes of Ted Season 1 will drop this Thursday, Jan. 11, only on Peacock.


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