Portia de Rossi is perhaps most recognized as Ellen DeGeneres’ stunning Australian wife. She’s a lucky woman. Who doesn’t love Ellen? She is a long-time hero of mine. She’s hilarious, warm, and like her name says–generous. (Or at least seems that way…it’s not like I ACTUALLY know her or anything).
But, Portia has proved herself to be more than just DeGeneres’ stunning and leggy arm-candy (and the 8th wonder of the world for dudes who point blank refuse to believe that a woman with long hair and a pretty face could be gay).
I’m vaguely aware of the fact that she played a fan favorite character on Ally McBeal–Nell Porter. I didn’t get into that show though. There was one too many imaginary dancing babies. I DID thoroughly enjoy de Rossi on Arrested Development however, as Lindsey Bluth Funke.
She was pitch perfect as the ridiculously materialistic and insecure Lindsay, but for some reason–even though it was brilliantly written and is one of my favorite shows of all time–it STILL didn’t highlight her as a comedic actress. Though Lindsay definitely had her moments–waltzing around the prison in a tee shirt that read ‘slut’ being one of my favorites, it just seemed like she never had the funniest line in an episode. That typically went to either Gob, Buster, or Lucille. de Rossi’s latest role lets her have that prize:
88. Portia de Rossi as Veronica Palmer in Better Off Ted
Better Off Ted is a sitcom that debuted on March 18th of this year, a time when most networks release their dead weight debuts and no-hope investments. As such, I don’t think many people were expecting it to even be funny, much less draw an audience. Whilst the rating haven’t been exactly stellar, it has pulled an appreciative fanbase, one that will hopefully grow in time. ABC aired an initial seven episodes a couple of months back to positive critical response. I think they were as surprised as I was that a show called “Better Off Ted” could actually be smart and addictive.
Even The Onion‘s super hip AV Club entertainment outlet says:
“But it’s clever, and creative, and it has an infectiously boisterous energy that gives a real zing to lines like, “We want to weaponize a pumpkin,” and, “We want to make a metal that is hard as steel but can bounce like rubber. And is edible.” Both of those lines are spoken by Portia de Rossi, playing Veronica, the clipped-tone, cheerfully amoral head of Research & Development at Veridian.”
The typically snarky readers of The AV Club even had nice things to say:
“No one ever knows what to do with Portia De Rossi, but this show is definitely taking its best stab at it.”
Wow! A sitcom on ABC that even the pop-culture intelligentsia can approve of. I’m hooked and just so happy that the DeGeneres family isn’t in danger of becoming a one-income household.
I bet right now you’d like to see a clip. Your wish is my command.
Funny yes? What a relief! You can buy episodes on Itunes if you want to play catch-up.
The Australian formerly known as Amanda Rogers has the following to say (in an ETonline interview) about the joys of the role:
“She is funnier than the character I played on ‘Ally McBeal.” “It has a similarity in that she’s very strong, very determined, but the dialogue is crisper, wittier and funnier. I’m Australian. I grew up watching the BBC and admiring comedians like John Cleese. So I get a sense of that kind of absurdist hyper-real humor in my character, and that’s what I really enjoy playing in this.” Portia also says that part of what makes “Better Off Ted” so interesting to her as an actress is the fact that it is set in an environment she has never experienced. “We don’t come from this world. We’re actors. We don’t really know what it’s like to work in an office place. I don’t think anyone [in the cast] has really had a job where we all live in cubicles.”
And from a Diva interview:
“I’ve got to tell you, Veronica is my favourite character I’ve ever played, bar none. I’m really attracted to strong women… let me rephrase that [laughs]… Strong female characters. And I love her sensibility. I love how cold and uncaring she appears to be and how focused she is. She’s a very fun, interesting character to play.“
There’s a big part of me that is really rooting for Portia and this show. I’d root for anyone that was with Ellen–I’m embarrassed to say that I went to see Volcano when she was with that turncoat Anne Heche–but Portia seems especially likeable and they’re such an adorable couple. Look at this weird clip I found on line. I’d try to set it up but I think any verbal description would ruin the weirdy cuteness.
Portia was ranked as number one on the AfterEllen hot 100 survey look here this year (their answer to Maxim’s hot 100). It just goes to show that the lesbian fan-base is truly a loyal one and we support the ones that come out publicly and speak up. AfterEllen also reports that Portia is planning to release a memoir in the near future. It’ll be interesting to hear about the days leading up to her wedding to DeGeneres and the subsequent disappointment when the Prop 8 news was dropped on election day.
At any rate, if you’re a fan of Portia or just sitcoms in general, I implore you to watch this one! It’s always the good shows that die too young. Don’t let this be another Arrested Development. Help Ted live! ABC aired a repeat on June 16th, but it starts airing a few new episodes next week–a portion of which you can see at the end of this Ellen show interview.