What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this lackluster romantic comedy has its share of grown-up content, but it doesn't push the envelope like some other primetime shows do. Sex is more of a suggestion than an on-screen act (couples are shown in bed after sex, and there are references to "getting some" and mention of condoms, for example); salty language is limited to "hell" and "damn," with harsher stuff bleeped; and beer is a staple among adults, but to no adverse effect. Adults probably can best relate to the main characters' quest for second chances, and the central relationship has a few good things to say about the benefits of being open to new ideas and views on life.
What's the story?
BENT is a sitcom that centers on the unlikely relationship between recently divorced attorney Alex (Amanda Peet) and recovering gambling addict Pete (David Walton). Determined to make a fresh start after her husband's philandering ways -- both in the bedroom and with their finances -- Alex downsizes to a smaller house for herself and her daughter, Charlie (Joey King), and hires the perpetually laid-back Pete to renovate the kitchen. For surfer-dude Pete, the job is an opportunity to put the impetuousness of his drawn-out youth behind him and prove that he can hold his own in the real world. When these two polar opposites meet, the sparks that fly aren't the romantic kind, but eventually their dislike melts into an unexpected affection that neither of them wants to admit to.
Is it any good?
Despite a talented cast -- rounded out by the incomparable Jeffrey Tambor as Pete's unemployed-actor father -- Bent falls flat in both the "romantic" and the "comedy" departments. Alex and Pete spend so much time dancing around and denying their interest in each other that they exhaust themselves before they can actually act on their instincts. Things aren't much better on the comedy front, either, where Bent relies too much on the characters' opposing personalities for laughs and rarely employs the show's arguably funnier aspects, including the antics of Pete's rag-tag contractor crew and Pete's dad's desperate attempts to jump start his career and reel in the ladies.
There's an upside to the lack of fire in this slow-paced show, especially if you're looking for something new for your teens. Compared to many primetime options, Bent tends to be lighter on physical content, language, and drinking, none of which play a major role in the characters' motivations. Sure, there are casual remarks about "getting laid" and references to condoms, etc., but the physical interactions are fairly low-key, and there's no nudity. What's more, despite the fact that Pete's gambling problem is often spun for laughs, the show deserves some credit for working a serious issue like this into the plot and making it a possible discussion point for families who tune in.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about new beginnings. Have you ever done something you've later regretted? If you could go back and change what happened, how would you do it? Does this type of experience affect how you act in the future?
Parents and their teens can talk about addiction. Do you think this show intends to paint an accurate picture of the life of a recovering addict? How does a gambling addiction differ from an alcohol or drug addiction?
Why do you think romantic comedies are so popular? Teens: Do you see any similarities between the relationships in this show and those you have with your friends or a boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you think modern technology like cell phones and social networking sites improve our relationships?