“Ted” has received fairly positive reviews ahead of its opening in theaters on Friday (June 29), and it made more than $2 million at the box office in midnight screenings. So, it’s good day for first-time feature director, co-writer and voice of Ted Seth MacFarlane, right?
Well, yeah, it is. But MacFarlane is also being accused of poaching the idea for “Ted” from a comic strip called “Imagine This.”
The strip, which Lucas Turnbloom has been drawing since 2008, follows the life of a not-very-ambitious guy named Darin and Clovis, his talking, booze-hound childhood teddy bear. The premise of “Ted,” which stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, is pretty much the same, and certain scenes — including one of Wahlberg’s John and Ted eating cereal out of the box while slumped on a couch — mimic panels in “Imagine This.”
“Many cartoonists, myself included, hope that their strips might someday be developed into a movie or a TV show,” Turnbloom tells Editor and Publisher. “I guess ‘Ted’ proves I was right to believe that my strip had cinematic potential.”
Turnbloom says he won’t pursue any action against MacFarlane, and there’s no evidence MacFarlane was influenced by “Imagine This” (E&P couldn’t reach him for comment). Others on the web, though, have taken MacFarlane — who’s been accused of stealing jokes in the past — to task.
Tom Racine of the comics podcast Tall Tale Radio put together a storyboard of “Ted” scenes that look very similar to panels from “Imagine This.” John Glynn of Universal Uclick, which syndicates Turnbloom’s strip, also notes the similarities.
“I see lots of similar jokes, concepts, and premises that come through our submissions and editing processes, so I know people can arrive at the same place totally separate of each other,” Glynn says. “In those cases, I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I’d give that benefit to Mr. MacFarlane here, but the similarities are hard to deny.”