Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Keeping a Bent Life from Breaking

This week Amber West and I review two new 2012 midseason comedy replacements on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – ABC’s Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and NBC’s Bent.

Comedy seems to be at the top of this year’s midseason replacements with many of the networks picking up new sitcoms.  While it is annoying to watch our favorite series end a bit early this year, we can also see the upside to introducing these new programs in April so that the decision makers don’t necessarily cancel a popular show just to test the waters with a pilot (we’ve seen that happen one too  many times).  With this in mind, we’re tuning in to these newbies and trying to not hold any grudges.

Bent follows recently divorced attorney, Alex (Amanda Peet), as she tries to pick up the ”bent” pieces of her life post-divorce.  With sole-custody of her daughter, Alex buys a small home that is in need of renovations.  She hires Pete (David Walton), a contractor who is a recovering gambling addict trying to pick up the pieces of his “bent” life as well.

Alex and Pete...

Alex and Pete are nothing alike — Alex is a responsible person with a no-nonsense personality, while Pete flies by the seat of his pants.  From the first episode, we could already smell the romance brewing between these two and we wonder how long it’s going to take before they get together.  But wouldn’t that be the kiss of death for the new sitcom?  TV audiences have proven over the years that they like the chase and romantic tension between leads, and ratings plummet once the couple gives in to their sexual urges (we’re specifically thinking of Moonlighting here and hoping we don’t see the same fate with Bones).  Not to mention, Alex has a serious boyfriend (Ben, played by Matt Letscher) who can also sense the attraction between Alex and Pete and who conveniently intervenes anytime the two get too close.

Alex and Ben...

That’s right — Bent has a love triangle…

The two leads aren’t the only ones living “bent” lives.  The new comedy also stars Jeffrey Tambor as Pete’s “bent” father, Walt.  Walt is a struggling actor working feverishly to land a new agent since his has recently died.  We’re led to believe he’s never really had a successful career, but he’s positive and has never given up hope.  Walt’s life is also “bent” considering he is still madly in love with his ex-wife (played by Marcia Gay Harden), who is a successful stage actress over in Europe.

Jeffrey Tambor knows comedy...

Pete knows the flame still burns  between his parents, and he knows that his mother will tug at his father’s heart strings before returning to her life overseas; therefore, he tries to keep the two apart.  Pete’s reaction to his parents is almost a realistic, rather than an optimistic approach which is a nice deviation from most fictional characters on television today.

The series also stars Margo Harshman (Sorority Row) as Alex’s sister, Screwsie.   Screwsie is a hoot; while her life is anything but perfect, she does seem a bit less “bent” than the rest.  She owns her own catering business, which seems very lucrative, and she almost always has a drink in her hand (tequila, wine, or coffee).  She’s young and enjoys not being tied down, especially when that means she can manipulate one of Pete’s workers (Gary, played by Jesse Plemons from Friday Night Lights).

Wrapping up the Bent cast is Alex’s daughter, Charlie (played by Joey King from Ramona and Beezus) and the rest of Pete’s contracting crew: Clem (comedian J.B. Smoove) and Vlad (Pasha D. Lychnikoff).

Charlie really likes Pete...

Each episode focuses on the home renovations and at least one other story line.  Honestly, I wonder what will happen if or when the construction job is complete — will the show fizzle out and die, or will Alex find something else to keep Pete and his crew busy?  The general plot idea definitely works at first, but there is also an obvious end to the storyline which leads us to wonder if the creators have thought that far out or if they’re just hoping to get picked up and they’ll take it from there.

While Bent has only aired for three weeks, viewers have been lucky enough for a double dose each of the past three weeks giving us six episodes to date.  I personally love the banter between Alex and Pete; Pete and Ben; Alex, Pete, and Ben; as well as Pete and his crew, and Screwsie (isn’t her name awesome?!?!) and anyone else.  The dialogue is sharp, witty, and a lot of fun.  That said, I award Bent with the JFTV rating.   I’d like to give it more, but I simply can’t; it’s not the best comedy I’ve seen, but it is one of the most enjoyable airing now on Wednesday nights (now that Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? have aired their season finales).  For the time being, Bent will have to settle as one of my favorite TV snacks…

Before wrapping, I just want to add that David Walton (Pete) is adorable!!  I didn’t really know him before and wondered why they didn’t get someone familiar to play opposite Amanda Peet, but now I am more than happy with the selection.

And by the way, I really love the message of the show — our life can always bend, but it’s up to us whether or not it breaks.  Cheers!

What do you think? Have you watched Bent?  Which character do you like or relate to the most?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.  Thanks to Hulu, she got a sneak peek!  And I don’t know about everyone else, but I am really looking forward to James Van Der Beek, playing James Van Der Beek, and poking a little fun at himself…

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of TV’s newest dramas dealing in scandalous affairs and shady clientele – Scandal and The Client List

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: The Hot New Thing – Midseason Replacements

If we’ve learned anything year after year, we’ve learned that as time passes, people change.   We’ve also learned to adapt to other changes as well, like the revolving door of television programs.

The networks update their television schedules drastically over the course of a year, sometimes in just a matter of months.  We have fall premieres, winter premieres, summer premieres, and now we have this new set of TV programs called midseason replacements.

Does a “midseason replacement” mean that the veteran show it is replacing midseason has actually been cancelled?  Not necessarily…

It seems the terminology “midseason replacement” is simply the networks’ way of testing the market for a new pilot series, instead of rushing the cancellation of current programs airing today to only regret it later.  We live in a marketing based world – why not order a few episodes of a new show to air in April in order to test the waters in a popular timeslot before announcing the plans for the next season in May?



Bent follows recently divorced attorney, Alex (Amanda Peet, Saving Silverman), as she tries to pick up the ”bent” pieces of her life post-divorce.  With sole-custody of her daughter, Alex buys a small home that is in need of renovations.  She hires Pete (David Walton, Perfect Couples), a contractor who is also trying to pick up the pieces of his “bent” life (recovering gambling addict) as well.

Alex and Pete are nothing alike — Alex is a responsible person with a no-nonsense personality, while Pete flies by the seat of his pants.  We can definitely smell the romance brewing between these two and the sitcom hasn’t even premiered yet.

The new comedy also stars: Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as Pete’s father; Margo Harshman (Sorority Row) as Alex’s sister; and Joey King (Ramona & Beezus) as Alex’s daughter.

Bent premieres Wednesday, March 21st on NBC.


Best Friends Forever

Created by and starring Lennon Parham (as Lennon White, from Accidentally on Purpose) and Jessica St. Clair (as Jessica Black, from Bridesmaids), Best Friends Forever follows two lifelong friends after one of them (Jessica) is served divorce papers.  After the news that her marriage is over, Jessica decides to leave California and return to New York where she moves in with Lennon in the old apartment the two previously shared.

The two women pick up right where they left off, which isn’t helping Lennon’s boyfriend (Joe Foley, played by comedian Luka Jones) feel at home in the apartment where he lives too.  In addition to Lennon’s potential relationship troubles, Jessica reconnects with an old friend (Rav Stark, played by Stephen Schneider) who might just have a flame still burning for her, making her new single life more complicated that she originally bargained for.

It appears the sitcom is just as much about the women’s friendship as it is their romantic lives’ ups and downs…

 Best Friends Forever, premieres Wednesday, April 4th on NBC.



Scandal stars Kerry Washington (from the Fantastic Four movies) as Olivia Pope, a former White House communications director who is now operating her very own private crisis management firm.  She hires an apparently qualified staff; a staff that successfully fixes the firm’s client’s problems, but also brings their own issues to the table: Stephen (Henry Ian Cusick, Lost); Harrison (Columbus Short, The Losers); Hack (Guillermo Diaz, Weeds); Abby (Darby Stanchfield, Jericho); and Quinn (Katie Lowes, Easy Money).

Scandal also stars Tony Goldwyn (Ghost) as Fitzgerald Grant, President of the United States, and Jeff Perry (My So Called Life) as Cyrus Beene, the President’s Chief of Staff.  ** It is rumored that the new drama is loosely inspired by the actual life of President George H. W. Bush’s former press aide…**

Looks scandalous to me...

Will Olivia succeed in starting her new life?  Or will the secrets she has worked so diligently to hide in her past resurface?  Will her staff help her, or will they hold her back?

Scandal premieres Thursday, April 5th on ABC.


Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 tells the story of two unlikely roommates surviving in New York City…

Roommate #1: June (played by Dreama Walker, Seven Deadly Sins) hails from the Midwest, yet uproots her life for her ideal job in corporate America.  Only when she arrives in The Big Apple, she discovers her position has been eliminated, so she does what everyone does at least once in their lifetime – she becomes a barista.

Roommate #2: Chloe (played by Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad) is a partying socialite who has been accused on more than one occasion of being a con artist, and she is constantly hanging out with her best friend (James Van Der Beek as James Van Der Beek).

Will June survive NYC?  Will she heed everyone’s warning to not trust the “B” in Apt. 23? Will James Van Der Beek playing a fictionalized version of himself be enough to keep this new comedy alive?

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 premieres Wednesday, April 11th on ABC.


NYC 22

And of course the midseason replacements would not be complete without a police procedural…

Not to be confused with ABC’s Rookie Blue, NYC 22 follows six NYPD rookies as they adjust to their new life on patrol.  The group consists of: Jennifer “White House” Perry (LeeLee Sobieski, Joan of Arc), a former marine; Ray “Lazarus” Harper (Adam Goldberg, Dazed and Confused), an older rookie than the others with a previous career in police news reporting; Tonya Sanchez (Judy Marte, Raising Victor Vargas), who has a few criminals in her family’s past; Ahmad Kahn (Tom Reed), a former Afghani native; Kenny McClaren (Stark Sands, Generation Kill), who falls in line as a 4th generation cop; and Jayson “Jackpot” Toney (Harold House Moore, Necessary Roughness), a former basketball star who should have seen success in the NBA.

Clearly, the six rookies form a much diversified group with extremely different backgrounds, who now share the same goal — protect the streets of New York City.

The drama also stars Terry Kinney (Oz) as Field Training Officer, Daniel “Yoda” Dean, and Felix Solis (The Good Wife) as Sergeant Terry Howard.  Doesn’t everyone just love the nicknames?

NYC 22 premieres Sunday, April 15th on CBS.


What do you think?  Do you plan to watch any of these new programs?  Which show has the most promise and why?  The least?  I’d love to hear from you!

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