You know Pedro Almodovar’s movie “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown?” Well, the original titles goes something like “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” and that “ataque de nervios” isn’t exactly nervous breakdown. It’s something more sophisticated.
It’s just a state of complete desperation caused by bad news, accompanied by large hands movements, dramatic posture, vase throwing fits and some fainting (Thank you, Wikipedia, I couldn’t have explained it better). Well, if you are in for a treat of something good to watch in the form of a 30 minute episode, Benched is the perfect choice. Sit back and enjoy watching a “woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown”. I haven’t had much luck with comedies lately, either because the lacked the premise, or the beat, but USA Network’s first attempt to produce comedy feels like a hit. With one mention though: after the first episode, I wouldn’t call it 100% comedy, more like dramedy.
Benched has a good premise: “a high-powered corporate lawyer’s fall from grace into the rough and tumble world of a public defender”, the stress being here on the words ‘public defender”. As we all know, the court of justice is a medium so diverse and complex that is guaranteed to bring out the worst and funniest in all people – colleagues and criminals alike. And at this moment I’m more worried about those running free than about those who are behind bars.
What I liked about this series, above all, is the fact that Nina Whitley isn’t ashamed of being “just as she is” ( to quote the master of all “I like you just the way you are” Mark Darcy). She’s emotional, but not repressed, she’s kicked in the …, but walks with grace. She’s just an adorable contrast of everything that is makes a woman great and stupid at the same time.
Definitely, this series has a lot of potential. And it doesn’t feel network material, which is about the best thing that could happen to any series these days. So let the crazy public defenders run free and amok! Let the serious situations be funny while being true. I know I’ll be here to watch it.
Benched is broadcast every Tuesday on USA NETWORK at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.