Portia de Rossi returns to series TV on Wednesday, March 18, but first ET chats with the former "Arrested Development" star about her new show that is filled with weird science!
"Better Off Ted" is a satirical office comedy in which Portia plays the incredibly beautiful -- but seemingly conscience-free -- Veronica, who lets nothing get in her way when it comes to serving her company's needs -- even if it means cryogenically freezing an employee for testing purposes.
"She is funnier than the character I played on 'Ally McBeal,'" Portia says. "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 even though Portia is familiar to audiences from her work on "Ally McBeal," she says that she was startled to discover that "Ted"'s executive producer Victor Fresco wasn't familiar with her work as ice-queen Nell Porter on the David E. Kelley series.
"I kind of had to throw myself at him, saying, 'I played this character, Nell Porter on 'Ally McBeal,' who has similar qualities in that she was very work-driven and strong and insensitive and slightly chilly. And so I had to convince him that I could play this character well and that I was familiar with a character of that nature. So he made me audition..."
"Better Off Ted" premieres Wednesday, March 18 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.