Spring 2012 Review: Bent

22 Apr

If only the theme was Bent by Matchbox 20

Another review for a show no one has seen, or will see, making us wonder why NBC even bothers putting the show on air without even trying to get people to watch it.

Amanda Peet is Alex, a newly single mom with a high-powered job struggling to cope.

In an explanation that lets you know this show is in tune with current events, Alex’s husband was arrested for embezzlement, is now in jail, and gave the proceeds from the illicit activity to his mistress.  Peet is struggling, hanging out with her loosey-goosey best friend (sister, apparently – I couldn’t tell that from the episode) Screwsie, which I can only assume can not be her real name.  She decides she needs a change, in the form of a complete remodeling of her kitchen and living room.  In comes our second main character, surfer dude and all around laid back contractor Pete, who, having lost his contracting business after gambling all his money away, is looking for a fresh start.  Pete convinces his whole crew to get behind him and sells Alex on his proposal, possibly influenced by Alex’s sister, who remarks several times on how attractive he is; The sister and Pete have a tet a tet of questions for each other like “Did you work at bar x” and “Have you ever been to club y” to convince themselves that they haven’t had sex with one another.

Although Pete shows up late, he does some good work, and is on his game until he runs into Alex’s daughter’s babysistter at a bar, sleeps with her, and drops her off at Alex’s house the next day, late for her babysitting gig.  Alex fires Pete (end of show?) and Pete, despondent, decides to act a little crazy, stealing some supplies from the rival contractor who got the gig after him.  Pete runs into Alex’s daughter, and they bond.  She’s nervous about a concert performance she has to give, a fact Alex can’t see because she, high-powered woman, has too much on her plate.  Pete brings the daughter to where his dad, who plays a piano at a department store, works, has her play on the piano there, she feels better about herself, and Alex, feeling sympathetic and vaguely grateful eventually decides to relent and put Pete back on the job.

Wacky side character alert:  The seriously wacky character in this program is Pete’s dad, played by sitcom veteran Jeffrey Tambor.  He hangs out with the guys and is employed playing piano at a local department store, while his true passion is singing Fleetwood Mac, though apparently he’s been specifically warned about singing while he’s working.

I’ve always liked Amanda Peet.  I don’t have a great reason for that.  I’m just laying it out there so you know my biases.  I’m not the world’s best examiner of mythical romantic chemistry, but I do think Peet and Walton have a pretty good repartee.  Of course, they’re not together at the beginning of the show, as Alex has a boyfriend, and well, Pete just slept with the babysitter, but if this show went more than the six episodes it will go, there would clearly be some sort of on-again, off-again relationship.  Otherwise, I’m not sure how many seasons Pete could keep merely being the contractor at her house is, unless he does a really, really terrible job.

It wasn’t a super funny show, but the dialogue was reasonably smart.  It’s definitely in the second class of sitcoms, above the truly terrible (here’s a quick nearly fool proof way to avoid a truly terrible sitcom – if you turn it on and it’s multi-camera and has a laugh track, turn it off immediately.  IMMEDIATELY).

I honestly don’t know why they even bother putting this show on the air though.  It started in March, there was virtually no promotion; it never stood a chance.  It’s almost cruel to get this rare opportunity to have your show actually air on a major network, but with virtually no chance to actually succeed.

Also, the theme song is not Bent by Matchbox Twenty.  I know, a wasted opportunity.

Will I watch it again?  Again, probably not.  There’s just too much to do, and while this show does seem like it could have potentially grown into something, there’s absolutely no way it will get the chance to do that.

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