I watched the premiere and second episode of Bent last night. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. Neither had I until I saw a couple tweets earlier this week from Alan Sepinwall. His review described Bent as funny and charming, but warned that NBC seemed ready to cancel it before it even aired. Other publications agreed. Why is NBC determined to cancel something that is good?
I can confirm that Bent is solid and funny. Now, I’m not saying it’s the best show I’ve ever seen. If NBC canceled it tomorrow, I would be able to move on. It’s not Party Down or Arrested Development or *deep breath* *stiff upper lip* Terriers. *breaks down* Where was I? Oh, yes – Bent. Bent is a perfectly acceptable comedic television program. It’s worlds better than the two shows that proceeded it on NBC’s Wednesday evening lineup. Whitney is fucking atrocious. Same for Are You There Chelsea? Bridesmaids taught us that women can be funny sometimes. The 8pm block on NBC every Wednesday does it’s best to disprove that.
After watching the premier(s) of Bent I found out that NBC will “burn off” the remaining four episodes over the next two weeks. Yes. NBC stumbled onto a television show that doesn’t suck and they are sprinting to get it off the air before anyone realizes. Is it because the show doesn’t feature the name of a titan of comedy like Chelsea Handler or Whitney Cummings? What is the [lack of a] thought process here?
Have you seen NBC’s primetime lineup throughout the week? Two hours of The Voice on Monday. Two hours of The Biggest Loser on Tuesday. Wednesday they break away from reality television for a block of bullshit, followed by bullshit, followed by a show they don’t give a shit about. Thursday… Well, NBC’s Thursday night lineup evokes various emotions.
All their best comedies (All three of them!) reside on Thursdays, but never on the same Thursdays. (No more than 2 a week!) They still use The Office as the 9pm anchor and The Office has been boring, bordering on horrible since Michael Schur moved on to Parks & Recreation. Have you seen a recent episode of The Office? This network ran
Deported Fuck You America Outsourced for a full season. They’re going to cancel Community (after putting it on hiatus for three months) and they didn’t give 30 Rock a time slot in the Fall. Right now Parks & Recreation – one of the funniest shows on television - is on the shelf. What’s the endgame here? Bringing back Outsourced?
With plans to get rid of Bent before the ratings were in for its “premiere” what’s the point? NBC keeps putting David Walton in sitcoms. Walton was in Quarterlife (which I think I remember when it was on the Internet), 100 Questions (which was horrible and had a How I Met Your Mother-ish gimmick) and Perfect Couples (which turned into a decent comedy before being replaced by… The Paul Reiser Show. Related: Who the fuck is running NBC!?) If they insist on casting this guy is all these shows, why not stick with one that is kind of, you know, good? (Bent also features Amanda Peet, J.B. Smoove and Jeffrey Tambor. If you’re not going to give a show with this cast a real shot, what are you going to stand up for?)
Look, this isn’t just about saving Bent. Who could be this passionate about an Amanda Peet – David Walton sitcom after just two episodes? Not a rational person. This is about all the great canceled shows. This is about not losing the next great sitcom. I’m not saying this Bent is that, but if someone doesn’t take a stand then we’re going to lose Arrested Development or Better Off Ted or Terriers again. We shouldn’t have to deal with that.