TV review: 'Bent' lacks new wrinkles

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Stop me if you've heard this plot before: Judgmental, uptight, divorced single mom Alex (Amanda Peet, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") hires irresponsible, horndog contractor Pete (David Walton, "Perfect Couples") to renovate her home. He hits on her, she brushes him off and yet there's a spark there, especially when it becomes clear how well Pete bonds with Alex's daughter, Charlie (Joey King).


When: 9 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, NBC.

Starring: David Walton and Amanda Peet.

That's the plot of past romantic comedies and of NBC's new single-camera comedy "Bent," which will air two episodes weekly at 9 p.m. Wednesday on WPXI for the next three weeks. If that scheduling makes it seem like NBC is burning off the show it's because the network probably is.

"Bent" is not a terrible show but it's not particularly good either. The title comes from Pete's washed-up actor dad (Jeffrey Tambor, "Arrested Development"), who says, "I am bent, not broken," in the show's premiere episode. And yes, the contractor-who-takes-an-eternity premise does bring to mind Eldin on "Murphy Brown."

The "Bent" performances are all fine. Ms. Peet is appropriately stiff; Mr. Walton plays his "dude" role with the right amount of sexy, slacker charm. And the supporting cast, which includes J.B. Smoove ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") and Jesse Plemons ("Friday Night Lights"), is notable for bringing some likable character actors back to prime time.

But the "Bent" script by series creator Tad Quill ("Perfect Couples," "Samantha Who?") is light on an abundance of laughs, surprises and original ideas.


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