Saturday, March 31, 2012

Getting "Bent": A look at NBC's promising Spring pilot

"Bent" is a sitcom about a womanizing half-baked handyman repairing the home of a high-strung lawyer in sunny California. The high-strung lawyer is played by Amanda Peet who sells the content self-assured woman so well, she could potentially be her own TV show genre. You could almost say "It's a show about a handyman and Amanda Peet" when pitching a sitcom and a network executive would know exactly how to picture that

You could call the show a romantic comedy (and coincidentally that's what the show IS being called) but there's nothing to indicate that the two leads will get together other than our expectations of what should happen in a sitcom if a) the two principal characters are male and female b) within 20 years of each other in age and c) neither character is hideously ugly.

In the pilot episode, Amanda Peet fires the handsome womanizing contractor when he canoodles (60% of the artistry in blogging is finding the best, most appropriate euphemism for sex) the maid. It was a moment in which Amanda Peete's character really established herself as she stood up and said "you're fired" to him.

For the handsome handyman guy (yes, I should look up the character's name or even the actor's name, I suppose), it should have been a big "oh sh--, what have I done" moment before moving onto someone else where the series should ideally start with another contractor who'd hire him with a tempting maid that he'd be making actual effort to resist.

Unfortunately, the plot loses me when she agrees to rehire him. I realize that this was a necessary move so that we'd have an episode two.

But this was the wrong course of action. I'm not suggesting that if it were a real life situation but that's what is truest to the characters.

I understand how this guy's narrative arc is to meet a woman different from him who challenges him but I don't see any glue that would keep them together past the length of the contractor job. Even worse I can't buy that he would even be in her life for said contracting job because a) she fired him and b) his firing was the most buyable moment of the episode and it already cheapened her character to have her relent because he kidnapped her daughter (really not the kind of thing to go over well with an alpha-mom like her) and taught her to play the piano.

I thought maybe they'd get stuck together because the competing contractor would all of a sudden drop out with the work half-done, and she'd be stuck in an emergency and actually need him. Then the balance of each person's needs would shift to the point where there we might get something interesting.

I'm not in any way, shape or form a screenwriter, and I could have already plotted out that episode better than the professionals did so I'd say that's a horrible start.


On a side note, I think it was moderately awesome that they had a character named "Screwsie"

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Thanks for the read! Bent definitely sounds like an interesting show based off your review. I haven’t seen it yet, but am a fan of Amanda Peet, so I’m thinking I will give it a try anyways. On top of not seeing it yet, I honestly haven’t even heard too much about it, until looking for reviews on my own, after I saw free episodes available online on my TV provider DISH’s site dishonline.com. I also heard from a couple coworkers of mine at DISH that Bent has been cancelled already, so I was wondering if you’ve heard that as well?