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From cannabis-smoking teddy bears to sweary felt creatures: why are we so obsessed with filthy puppets?

Foul-mouthed soft toy Ted is about to get his own TV series and hot on its heels is a show where cuddly characters act out celebrity fan fiction. What is it about cuteness gone bad?

All the way back in 2012, a year before he sang a song called We Saw Your ***** at all the female actors in attendance at the Oscars, Family Guy showrunner Seth MacFarlane released a movie called Ted. The story of a sentient, foul-mouthed teddy bear, Ted was essentially the Barbie of its day, being both commercially successful (it made more than half a billion dollars) and critically lauded (the Guardian voted it as the second best movie of 2012, sandwiched between Paul Thomas Anderson and Michael Haneke).

Three years later MacFarlane made a sequel, Ted 2, which was not nearly as successful. However, this was not the end of Ted. This year, the inevitable happened and Ted became a TV series. Ostensibly a prequel to the movies, the Ted TV show revolves around the same sentient, foul-mouthed bear, only younger and at school. In one episode, Ted smokes ***. In another, Ted gets *****. In another, Ted tries to help a teenage boy lose his virginity. One episode is called Ejectile Dysfunction. It is the sort of television series you will either love or absolutely hate – and without the outwardly innocent little bear at its centre, chances are most people would hate it.

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