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SilverStormm

Benched

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I saw it early on demand. I loved it. I am a lawyer and I work in a court, thought I am not a PD or a prosecutor and it hit that spot... you know that spot that Bad Judge doesn't even come close to getting near. I would watch this live but 10:30 PM on Tuesdays? USA? Come on.

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I loved the pilot, but then again I'm a sucker for anything that has Eliza Coupe or Maria Bamford in it. But I am seriously devastated to learn that "Playing House" probably won't get renewed. WHY? God! USA Network sucks!

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Not my type of show at all, but it was surprisingly funny. Eliza Coupe as the lead pretty much guarantees that I'm in for a while - I'm just glad to see the Happy Endings people on TV again. It helps that the concept here is pretty much "Jane Kerkovich as a PD". 

 

I also liked the intern, who I recognized as one of the few people I could stand on Under The Dome. 

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I thought this was terrific.  It kind of surprised me because I hadn't heard much about it until today.  I love EC, though, so I had to check it out. I'm glad I did because she was terrific.  It has somewhat of a Night Court vibe to it. 

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I loved it. Possibly my new favorite sitcom this season. I found it a lot funnier than Marry Me, which is by the same creator as Happy Endings, and the characters in Benched are much more likeable.

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I usually can't watch lawyer shows (as I'm a lawyer and they are so unrealistic), but I can watch this one. I think this captured how overworked PDs are. Plus, I was in a summer acting troupe with Jay Harrington when we were 12, so I have to support his career!

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I'm devastated that Playing House probably won't be renewed. But I have loved Eliza Coupe since she was on Scrubs

 

Loved EC in Scrubs 2.0 (or whatever it was called...) too. It's kind of funny that it looks like Sirens has been saved, starring Eliza's love interest from Scrubs, Michael Mosley. And then Playing House is getting canned and the wonderful Jessica St. Clair is now on Marry Me. Quite a whirlwind! USA appears to be all over the place with their programming, sigh...

 

 

I loved it. Possibly my new favorite sitcom this season. I found it a lot funnier than Marry Me

 

I'm kind of surprised, but I find this the most promising of all of the HE's former cast members' new jobs/shows. She has a presence that makes me believe she can carry the weight of a show, only now I'm a tad worried that USA will run a great first season only to dump it unceremoniously. I didn't realize it was released early on demand though I'd been keeping track of its oft-changing premiere date, and I actually forgot Marry Me was on last night other than when I checked the recording list to see if Benched was really airing and then saw Marry Me in the night's line-up. Yikes.

 

Totally agree about the Night Court vibe!

Edited by meisje

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I just watched it online; I don't think USA is doing a good job promoting it since I'd never heard about it until I read the review here. I really liked it. Oscar from The Office, Ted from Better off Ted, Jane from Happy Endings, DJ chick from Under the Dome, Maria freaking Bamford?! I like the cast; and I liked the pilot.

 

There are, for me, so few good comedies on TV. There are a lot of dramas I like, but the comedies aren't nearly as good. So I'm glad to have found another comedy I can enjoy. This will be replacing Bad Judge on my lineup, which I was trying so hard to like. 

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When the lead character was "pushing" for $70 million for bail for the diaper-stealing mother, then lowered it to $70 and the woman said if she had $70 she would have bought diapers as opposed to stealing them, and the lead said "70 million versus $70, what's the difference, she can't pay either"....that's when I knew I'd be in for a few more episodes. That it is also very funny helps. 

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Hate to admit it but my favorite part was the gag with the locked "door".  Watching her shuffle off the end of it after all that went down between her and the bailiff that scene was so amusing to me.  The bailiff is pretty awesome.  

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I know Benched had a pretty long development time -- I remember reading about it a long time ago -- but still, it's far more sure-footed and sharp than almost any of the new network comedies this fall.

 

The speech itself worked out very well. It could have gone into a full scale disaster like Nina's meltdown in the pilot, or it could have been a perfect re-entry into "money law", but both would have felt wrong (and the latter would have ended the show, I guess). Threading the needle to something where it's kind of a win and a loss for Nina at the same time, and getting a little political commentary in there at the same time was great stuff.

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I like that Debbie wasn't trying to screw Nina over as revenge. 

 

Eliza Coupe is rocking this, and I love all the bit players too --- the boss, Ted from Better off Ted, Oscar from The Office ... I should probably learn these characters' names. 

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Just got around to watching this and I really enjoyed it. Eliza Coupe is a draw for me. Loved her on the later not so great seasons of Scrubs. Lots of fun potential here.

 

"MAN this chick knows how to quit a job". I have no idea but I was laughing about that well after the episode was over. Something about the delivery.

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I read some interview with Eliza Coupe where she mentioned that she's good at playing uptight yuppie types (Jane Kerkovich, Nina Whitley) but isn't like that in real life, specifically that she has a bunch of tattoos on her arms and so that's why costuming on Happy Endings ended up putting Jane in long sleeves a bunch.... Anyways, I guess this is a case where knowing too much about actors interferes with the show, because in this ep Nina was sleeveless a few times and I kept thinking about how the makeup dept must have had to cover her tattoos.  But they did a fine job; if I hadn't known I wouldn't have thought about it at all.

 

And now I'm telling all of you so this can bug you too.

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For me, they could dial back the ditz factor just a tad.  She could have had a funny stumble during the speech as she did the math on when her boyfriend started cheating and then pulled it together, tossed her notes and nailed all those money people into pulling out their checkbooks.  It's not really all that hard to draw some embarrassing comparisons between millionaire corporates and hardscrabble PD's.  She'd still be stuck in the trenches for storyline purposes, but at least she wouldn't have let down all her new colleagues because she went goofball.

 

I like her best when she's sharp on behalf of her clients and when she shows some self-awareness, like at the end, when she says, "I don't know!  I'm a mess!"

 

Hi, Oscar!!!

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For me, they could dial back the ditz factor just a tad.  She could have had a funny stumble during the speech as she did the math on when her boyfriend started cheating and then pulled it together, tossed her notes and nailed all those money people into pulling out their checkbooks.

 

 

I agree.  I was disappointed that they made her character so over the top ditzy during the speech.  I just didn't buy that someone with her education and background as a tough corporate lawyer who fought her way to near partner at a top corporate law firm could be that dimwitted, clutzy and so flabergasted at that particular moment that she would blow her speech to that degree.  How in the hell did she ever get as far as she did in corporate law if she can fall apart so easily?  I bought her meltdown in the first episode, but this was too much.  A stumble or two - yes, but then she should have been able to pull herself together much more completely and talked her way through a great speech much more easily than happened here.

 

Oh well.  I loved the pilot, thought the second epi was not as good as the pilot, but I'll keep watching for now.  

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This is turning into my second favorite new comedy, behind black-ish. I thought having Nina's rival not try to embarrass her at the event was a nice twist. Most network shows would have gone there.

 

The show does feel sure-footed. I think that's because they have such a talented cast; I've seen most of the actors do really strong ensemble work previously. I also like that it's on USA, which may give the show more time to grow an audience than a network would (looking at you, ABC).

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I really like this. I also do poverty law (civil not criminal), so this adds to my admiration. They have really have gotten right the injustices faced by our clients. I was very surprised to see in the new issue of People that they called this a must skip.

Edited by GussieK

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This is turning into my second favorite new comedy, behind black-ish. I thought having Nina's rival not try to embarrass her at the event was a nice twist. Most network shows would have gone there.

 

The show does feel sure-footed. I think that's because they have such a talented cast; I've seen most of the actors do really strong ensemble work previously. I also like that it's on USA, which may give the show more time to grow an audience than a network would (looking at you, ABC).

My two favorite new comedies of the season as well. I always thought the two Elizas were the funniest of the Happy Endings crew. It's nice to see Eliza Coupe on a show where I don't also have to watch the annoying Casey Wilson and that annoying actor who is on the Mindy Project now.

I hope USA doesn't cancel this show at the end of the season, but I haven't been having much luck with USA lately.

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My two favorite new comedies of the season as well. I always thought the two Elizas were the funniest of the Happy Endings crew. It's nice to see Eliza Coupe on a show where I don't also have to watch the annoying Casey Wilson and that annoying actor who is on the Mindy Project now.

I hope USA doesn't cancel this show at the end of the season, but I haven't been having much luck with USA lately.

I liked the whole Happy Endings crew, so I'm glad to see they're all working on other shows, although I miss having them all together.

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I feel like Nina would have known Phil & company were obviously lying, but other than that, it was a fine episode.

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I feel like Nina would have known Phil & company were obviously lying, but other than that, it was a fine episode.

My thoughts exactly. Nina may be a little flighty, but she's not dumb. I had a hard time believing she'd fall for this prank. 

 

I thought Carlos and Boring Larry were the real stars of this episode. Boring Larry dancing in the bar was really funny to me.

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I feel like Nina would have known Phil & company were obviously lying, but other than that, it was a fine episode.

I think it's one of those things where they want to make sure the audience knows it's a prank, so they overdo making it obvious. I like the show, but they play everything pretty broadly, that may just be the USA network aesthetic.

 

I wonder though, if they had been super smooth and the reveal had been saved to the end, would that work better? How important is it that we know Nina's being pranked throughout her ordeal vs a much bigger reveal at the end?

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I wonder though, if they had been super smooth and the reveal had been saved to the end, would that work better? How important is it that we know Nina's being pranked throughout her ordeal vs a much bigger reveal at the end?

I don't think that matters as much as the damage it does to Nina's character to get that fooled in the first place. I'm not sure, off the top of my head I don't know how to write a jail "field trip" for Nina that's any better.

I liked all the stuff that happened once Nina got to jail. That was great. I just wish the premise had been a bit more solid.

The Phil/Carlos story was less problematic. There's something inherently pathetic about a guy his age aiming to "rage his face off", so the turn was a little surprising but definitely felt real. He also plays a pretty funny drunk. (And a pretty high functioning alcoholic, I guess, between Boring Larry offering him drinks at the office and how not hungover he was the next day.) Carlos's wish to be back with Rosa on their couch was lovely and specific.

I wish they'd just roped Maria Bamford's character into Carlos's night out instead of creating Boring Larry, who so far just makes me think someone cloned Toby from The Office.

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I don't think that matters as much as the damage it does to Nina's character to get that fooled in the first place. I'm not sure, off the top of my head I don't know how to write a jail "field trip" for Nina that's any better.

I liked all the stuff that happened once Nina got to jail. That was great. I just wish the premise had been a bit more solid.

 

Prank the newbie is something that happens in workplaces all the time. But to be successful, it has to be worked out in advance, and play out over days, not cooked up spur of the moment and signaled to others with obvious "play along with me" gestures and dialog. That part of it is for the audience's benefit, IMHO. That said, Nina should have been tipped off when the officer said arresting her for no reason would cost him his job.

 

The other way to get Nina in jail would be a contempt citation. But she's not incompetent, so she wouldn't stumble into that, and she's not (yet) idealistic, so she wouldn't go to jail on principle (yet).

Edited by Latverian Diplomat

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As someone who went to law school with the intention of practicing public interest law (civil rights) and stuck to that path despite being at the top of her class and thus being recruited by big firms, I initially dismissed this show based on the promos; I’m tired of TV’s notion that a public defender is something one becomes as a punishment or when there are no other options.

 

But I caught a marathon of the first few episodes recently, and I’ve come around.  I don’t recognize the main cast members from anything, but I’m liking them so far.

If this is somehow taking the place of Playing House, I’m bummed, as I was enjoying that and looking forward to more despite the presence of a baby, but it’s a nice bit of light entertainment that sneaks in some nice social commentary.

 

Plus, “piss up a rope” is a favorite of mine, so it was nice to hear her say it.

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Her meltdown upon doing the math on her ex's new relationship was a big disappointment, but I appreciated that the show avoided the usual nonsense with the former colleague, so I’ll keep with it.

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Even with the allowances I'll make for a sitcom, and the additional ones I'll make for a frothy one on cable, this show is testing me.  I laughed out loud at Corporate Nina having never been in court prior to this job, but she can't be that inept.  Lack of the specific trial skills honed only through experience doesn't translate to stupidity.  I thought the opening was a dream sequence.

 

And speaking of ridiculous, why is the older blonde PD so ignorant -- asking if the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is a real thing.  A good number of non-lawyers know that. 

 

I do like the lack of wardrobe changes showing how many cases, in their various stages, a PD handles in one day.

 

The judge favoring one attorney was over-done and yet frustratingly real at the same time.  So I laughed out loud at the stroke-induced mistrial.

 

I also chuckled at Nina's strategy in faking an injury to show the defendant's chivalry, but jeez, learn how to do it correctly.  She almost never moved the correct leg with the cane.

Edited by Bastet
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I'm 99% sure this was originally written to go earlier in the airing order. It's the fourth episode before her first jury trial?  Boring Larry is introduced in this episode instead of episode 3, where he first appeared?  The paralegal (?) from the pilot re-appears despite not being in eps 2 & 3?

 

Sure, I get that juries convict or not based on factors like the defendant's "scariness", but... I kinda hoped Nina could win on the facts of the case too.  The entire A-plot felt just a little more cartoonish than the other episodes so far in how it treats Nina's skills and esp her inability to read the jury and see if she's got them or lost them.

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I'm 99% sure this was originally written to go earlier in the airing order. It's the fourth episode before her first jury trial?  Boring Larry is introduced in this episode instead of episode 3, where he first appeared?  The paralegal (?) from the pilot re-appears despite not being in eps 2 & 3?

 

All good points, but not that many cases actually go to trial, plea bargains are very common, and negotiating them is a big part of PD's do. Also there's a fair amount of process before the jury is empaneled, so as the new kid, it could take a while before one of her cases got that far.

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Lot of stuff happening in this episode, but I liked it all. Didn't really miss the boss public defender (Burt?). Did kinda miss Maria Bamford, though.

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This one seemed like it was really out of order, like it was supposed to be the 2nd one or something. 

 

I don't why they moved it, it seemed like a strong episode to me.

 

I did like that they made quite a thing about the difference in funding between PDs and the DAs office.

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I finally caught this last night, and was also distracted by the obvious reordering.  Which I find particularly odd since I think this episode was better than the one they moved up into the second slot.

 

Nina's wardrobe is very hit and miss, as some of these designer duds are not things she'd have been wearing in a corporate law office.

 

And the other blonde PD (I haven't learned anyone else's names yet) is annoying.  I like the curly-haired "true believer" guy, though.

 

It's a more broad comedy than I prefer, but it has nice little moments.  And I like that they're showing both sides of the frustration -- the clients up on drug charges who show up in a pot t-shirt (or high), and the funding discrepancies that have PDs diving into a pile of office supplies pilfered from the DAs office.

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Another good episode. I like the work Oscar Nuñez is doing. and I liked Gary Anthony Williams as guest boss.

 

I know work is work, but I would think the PDs would be OK with a lot of forensics being thrown out. The acquittals won't be retried, and the convictions have lost significant evidence, presumably for the prosecution.

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What is the real-world win-loss rate for PDs?

 

This was a great episode, but hoo boy, what a series of downers in the first act. This truly does feel like a John Enbom show.

 

Also, wow, Phil is a mess.  I think they've hinted at the gambling before, but his life is a disaster.

Edited by arc
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