Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Bent?

We’ve already seen Bent, the new NBC comedy with the strange name premiering this week. Is it worth your half-hour investment? Here’s the scoop.


When does it air?

Bent premieres Wednesday, March 21 at 9pm on NBC. Yes, that’s directly opposite Modern Family on ABC, but ModFam is a rerun this week, so you can check out Bent and then catch a new Happy Endings afterward.


Who's in it?

Its two leads are Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’s Amanda Peet and David Walton from Perfect Couples. Peet plays Alex—a lovable, if stock, “type-A” character—and Walton plays Pete, a wise-cracking stoner who sleeps around and attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Jeffrey Tambor plays Pete’s theatrical dad, and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s J.B. Smoove and Friday Night Light’s Jesse Plemons play guys on Pete’s crew. All in all, a very appealing cast.


Who created it?

Bent comes from the mind of Tad Quill, who’s worked on Scrubs, Samantha Who? and Perfect Couples.


What’s the premise?

Alex and her 10-year-old daughter, Charlie, are rebuilding their lives in a dilapidated house in Venice, Calif. because Charlie’s dad has been imprisoned for embezzling money—which he gave to his mistress. Pete is the caddish contractor Alex hires to renovate the house, and she’s reluctant to admit she finds him charming despite his slutty, slacker ways. Then there’s Aunt Screwsie, Alex’s sister, who is basically the female version of Pete. And Pete’s dad, Walt, a bachelor with a passion for musical theater who makes his living playing piano in a department store. That’s about it! Just another guy meets girl, guy renovates girl’s house, they verbally spar and flirt and keep up the romantic tension until they finally do it, and the show loses its magic.


What’s the vibe?

There’s a comfort-food quality to the show. Nothing new happening here, kind of predictable, but you don’t really mind tagging along for the ride. There’s little by way of laugh-out-loud hilarity in the pilot, but you may smile a few times.


Who is the audience?

Your stoner girlfriend. Beyond that, this is unoffensive comedy for thirty-somethings who don’t identify with the new-parent comedy of Up All Night. It’s a sadder Cougar Town. It’s the lonely person’s Modern Family. You get the point.


What are its strengths?

The two leads. Walton is a likable actor, and it’s nice to see him slow down a bit—his Perfect Couples character was just a little too manic and fast-talking for me to ever really appreciate him. Peet plays "shrill and tightly wound" well, but let’s hope she turns it down as the show progresses. Their chemistry is there.

Tambor’s character is definitely strange—slightly reminiscent of George Bluth Sr. in how self-absorbed he is and how he operates on his own, eccentric frequency.

The writing is okay, though at times the pilot felt like it was biding time more than advancing the story or giving us added insights into the characters.


Are there any drawbacks I should know about?

The character of Charlie holds the show back. She’s just a sad, insecure little girl who is kind of a downer, and the actress who plays her (Joey King, from Crazy Stupid Love) doesn’t do much to elevate the material. I was also disappointed to see Smoove and Plemons, both excellent in their other TV roles, seeming constrained by the material. They're both in very supporting parts, though, with time to grow.

Also, in the pilot there’s a running gag about a rival contractor—an obese, butch lesbian who spits and is generally foul—that I found more homophobic than funny. And the “Pete redeems himself by helping Charlie overcome her piano recital stage fright” plot that takes up the third act is very trite and corny.


Why is the show called Bent?

Good question. I think it’s a reference to a line by Walt, who is on the prowl at a local watering hole: “I’m not broken, I’m just bent.” Does that answer your question? No? I guess it means the show's characters are “imperfect, but not beyond redemption.” Yeah, I know, kind of lame.


So should I watch it or not?

Sure. It’s worth a look for Walton and Tambor alone. And it definitely has potential—so long as the show seeks out the harder edges to its characters. Otherwise, it risks being just another pleasant-but-forgettable romantic sitcom that audiences will never warm to.


Is there a trailer I can take a look at?


What kind of takeout should I order to eat while watching it?

Thai. Definitely Thai.

Comments (50)
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Mar 23, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed both episodes. No real big laughs, admittedly, but there wasn't anything that turned me off either(except Walton trying to catch flies with his mouth).



And of course, as soon as I like a show, it has to get killed. It was the lowest rated comedy premiere in NBC history(1.0 and .9 in the key demo for the two episodes respectively) and has no chance of making it past the six episode order; not that there was much of one before. Hopefully NBC will at least still air the last four.
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Mar 22, 2012
This is the guy from Fired up! I dont think I will be able to get over his douchey character from the movie. He was driving a BMW, wearing Crocs and was a total nobhead. I cant take this guy as a love-interest to anyone, ever.
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Mar 21, 2012
This is a weird one. Since I saw the preview back at the beginning of this season, I've been compelled to check it out, even though I have no reason to want to, and a few as to why I wouldn't. I've only ever liked Peet in Studio 60, and the only good thing about Perfect Couples were Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods. Walton could be the funniest guy on the planet(he isn't), and his mouth breathing would still annoy me to no end.



But I'll give it a few episodes, just 'cause.
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Mar 22, 2012
Now I won't be able to ignore the mouth-breathing!

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Mar 23, 2012
lol, sorry about that.
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Mar 21, 2012
your article made the whole thing sounded much better than the actual preview.. until watching the actual thing, I planned to give it a try but unfortunately I see nothing promising in the preview and absolutely no chemistry between the main characters.. I think I'll pass..
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Mar 21, 2012
i'll check it out. haha.
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Mar 21, 2012
I totally agree that it looks like a movie trailer but I like both leads so I think I can spare a half an hour to check it out, besides I have almost nothing on tonight anyways
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Mar 21, 2012
The fact that NBC waited till march to air it, kind of says a lot. On the other hand, NBC is a network known for its tragic choices of new shows and the destructive instructions for older shows (Yes , I am talking about Heroes and how NBC's decision to change the writers of the show made it from 14 million viewers to 4 in just a few episodes and eventually cancel it -_-) Anyhow, I'll give Bent a go. (like I do with all new shows)
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Mar 21, 2012
You can't tell anything from the preview clip. I say EVERYBODY who enjoys tv comedy should check out ANY new comedy at least once, and I mean the full 1/2 hr., not just a clip. Then I'll respect your comments.
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Mar 21, 2012
Looked more like a movie-trailer than anything. Amanda Peet is hot so i'll give it a shot!
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Mar 21, 2012
The premise is very unattractive to me, but for shits and giggles, I'll give it a chance anyways.
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Mar 21, 2012
I'll watch the first episode because Amanda Peet was great on Studio 60, but it doesn't look good.
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Mar 21, 2012
Yet another comedy that will gone in less than a month? Nah. J.B. Smoove is better than this.
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Mar 21, 2012
Everything I've seen of this show so far makes me think "Ehhhh". Life is too short for more "ehh" shows, especially on NBC - the cancelled show factory.
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Mar 21, 2012
I think a part of its strengths is that it is neither Chelsea or Whitney. So it has that. Amanda Peet is pretty talented and she has had a few decent comedic movies in her past. But I think it is going to suffer the same fate as most of the shows slated for next year. Which is that it will inevitably be cancelled.



NBC has no ideas, none, zip, zero zilch, nada. So in order to compensate for that they are going after names. Movies stars looking for a break in the monotony of making movies. So they are scooping these people up. However the cost of taking on these "stars" (I say this largely because of Chelsea, Whitney and now reportedly Dane Cook) is going to cost them money, so they aren't going to be able to bring in competent writers. You can have the best actors in the world and crappy writing, direction and production and that project is going to suck. There have been plenty of movies with top notch casts that ended up sucking that help make this point. So they are going to have these "talents" and nothing for them to say that is funny or worthwhile in the least.



Either NBC got lucky and tripped and fell over Community or Dan Harmon is an evil genius and made them think this was going to be Friends 2.0 and then did what he wanted and made the gloriousness that is Community. Either way it is here and they can't unring that bell. It has pushed the sitcom into a whole new realm. But none of these shows are pushing the envelopes that Community has pushed. None. The only one that comes close is Happy Endings. Breaking In could but from the last two episodes they are making it hard to not hate Meghan Mullaly.



But back to my point, these are canned, trite, been there done that, run of the mill sitcoms, the only thing that is making them anything different or special is the name that NBC is getting attached to them. and that is it. So I will give it a shot because Amanda Peet is a good actress and she was great as Jenkins in HIMYM.
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Mar 21, 2012
No thank you.
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Mar 21, 2012
Hmm, I may give it a try even though I'm not a big fan of J. B. Smoove. I'm still willing to give him a chance to win me over. But if Amanda Peet won't show some cracks in the facade of her typical Type A performance in fairly short order, I'll have to bail. Been there, seen that, passed on getting the T-shirt.

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Mar 21, 2012
"So should I watch it or not?"

(2/29) Awake: "YES!"

(3/02) GCB: "In a word, yes."

(3/15) Missing: "Um, sure."

(3/20) Bent: "Sure."



Just once I'd like to see it say "Under no circumstances should you watch this show and if you do may God have mercy on your soul."



Of all the shows listed above, the only one I like is Awake.
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Mar 21, 2012
Haha c'mon you know the minute we did say that a bunch of people would be like, "YOU DIDN'T EVEN GIVE IT A CHANCE WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS BASHING EVERY SHOW TV.COM????"



However, that's not to say we'll advise you to watch something that is a complete waste. "Should I Watch X?" is a new series on the site... give us some time, you know? Would we have even said "um, sure" to something like Remodeled? Absolutely not. Work It, however... well, that one may have gotten a "watch it if for no other reason than to meet us back here and make fun of it later." TV is filled with shades of gray!
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Mar 21, 2012
Couldn't you at least say something like "Lets give this one the 4 Eps test and check back."
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Mar 21, 2012
I'll check it out because I loved Studio 60, and Jeffrey Tambor is hilarious. Somewhat low expectations though.
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Mar 21, 2012
it should be noted that joey king is a child, dont be so hard on her tv.com
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Mar 21, 2012
"doesn't do much to elevate the material" isn't being hard on her, it's a rare actor that can turn bad material into an entertaining performance. If a show were all child actors and the show was terrible, you wouldn't want them to pretend the show was good just to spare the kids feelings. If everyone did that, the Facts of Life would still be on the air.
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