Guest Blog: Cast, writing and concept come together gloriously in NBC’s midseason comedy “Bent.” Let us pray the cancellation clock stops ticking
I’m not Tim Tebow but I am a TV missionary. If there’s a great show out in TV land that’s not getting the love it deserves, I will preach out, my brothers and sisters.
Today’s sermon shines a light on a little sitcom called "Bent." If you’ve seen the overly simplistic promos, you’d think this was Amanda Peet playing yet another uptight chick with David Walton as the bad boy who’ll cure her lady blues, backed by a motley crew of faces you’ve seen before in the roles of “co-workers” and “family.” Cue half-hearted laughs and assorted guffaws.
While on paper, it’s that show, it’s also so not that show.
I can’t remember loving a show so quickly or trying to convert people so passionately, racing against the cancellation clock. I thought it would be just another freebie iTunes pilot, instantly forgettable and quickly deleted. It’s a six-episode mid-season replacement on NBC, for God’s sake, how good could it be?
But sometimes, TV works in mysterious ways, bringing gifts from unexpected networks. It’s not just that the actors are extremely likeable and into it, especially David Walton, Jeffrey Tambor and J.B. Smoove.
It’s not just that the writing is way better than it needs to be. Every scene has a throwaway line that you’ll want to repeat. It’s not even my inability to resist an "opposites attract" story.
It’s that magical combination of the right cast, writers and concept coming together into holy unity. The premise is Alex and her daughter Charlie, rebuilding their lives after her husband’s incarceration for insider trading.
Pete is the bummy Venice Beach contractor with a gambling addiction and a father who considered himself a thespian. There’s a crew – Clem who blurts out secrets because they’re a threat to his sobriety and Gary, nicknamed “Back Fat,” the much-abused new guy. There’s a sister called Screwsie and a doctor boyfriend, Ben, who throws out Spanish at random moments. I could go on, but there’s nothing in those sentences that can come close to expressing the loopy joyfulness of this show. Can I get an amen?
I know you’ve been burned before. You’ve loved a show only to have it snatched away by heartless TV programming execs. I feel your pain. In fact, I’m feeling your pain right now as I anticipate NBC canceling "Bent" and replacing it with the usual dreck. But that doesn’t stop me from believing. After all, this time of year is all about hope and rebirth and where is that more needed than on NBC?
In the name of "Bent," let us pray.
Get converted with free episodes at http://www.nbc.com/bent/video/.