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Benched – 1x03 – Hooked & Booked – Review: "Rage our faces off"

Raise your hand if you’re pumped to talk about this week’s episode of Benched! I know I am. Last week’s installment was a little rocky and had me wondering if the pilot episode was a fluke or not. But this week saw the charm and funny come back with a vengeance. Nothing to it but to it but to do it so let’s get jump right into the review…

This week’s episode was written by Lindsey Shockley. In the director’s chair this week was Clair Scanlon who also directed last week’s episode as well. I found the writing to be pretty solid though some of the jokes were flat at times and at other times unnecessarily over the top. The male bonding was also a nice touch but I’ll be honest I find the ladies of the show to be much more funny so hopefully we get a ‘Ladies Night Out’ episode eventually (and by eventually I mean pretty freaking soon).

I love a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I also love that the writers of Benched seem to revel in harpooning Nina at every turn. I’m not sure if I’d even like Nina if any other actress besides Eliza Coupe played the character. I know it’s only the third episodes but Nina needs to get it together and realize it’s time to buckle down and let go of the past. This isn’t money law and after last week she’d be lucky to live down her infamy in ten years at this point.

I don’t know if it was just me as I’m not a shipper but I didn’t like the whole Nina and Phil situation. It felt like it was getting shoved down my throat. The key to a great TV romance (especially one billed as comedy) is the slow burn and above all else SUBTLY.

Now let’s move on to something that I really did enjoy this week and that was the boys’ night out. It was great getting to see Phil and Oscar (and Larry) hang out get together outside of work. I swear, I’m going to make ‘Let’s rage our faces off’ a thing if it kills me. I liked the insight into to the character of Oscar. He’s another character that, like Nina is in transitional phase of life and is also dealing with the loss of a significant other.

I think the message of the episode got lost in translation. It is a fact that a lot of women in end up in jail and/or prison because they took the wrap for their significant other or just plain snapped and killed them after many years of abuse. But this week, unlike the pilot and last week the message didn’t resonate very well and Nina came off looking like a cold heartless witch at every turn. Or maybe that is the point of the show, I’m just not sure yet.

The theme however which was how you perceive yourself versus how others see you was spot on. While it should be no surprise to Nina how she comes off to others, it is to her and I think by going through with the ‘hooked and booked’ thing she was trying to fit in and combat her image issue as well as trying to impress Phil so let’s not make the whole thing about her mooning over a guy (even though she admitted as much).

In closing, I thought that this was a good episode but something was off and I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not sure which direction this show is going in. I do hope it keeps that savvy social commentary in tack as well as making Nina more likeable and less oblivious to her clients woes.
By, the way, I don’t know if it’s just me but I’d love to see more of Larry. Please and thank you.

Grade: B-

Final Thoughts: While this episode wasn’t as great as the pilot, it was leaps and bounds better than last week’s episode. I am eager to see the heart and the funny from the pilot return. I’m also not keen on having the romantic crap shoved down my throat. The writers need to learn how to be more subtle on that front. All in all, I’m still enjoying this show but Eliza Coupe is definitely still the only reason I’m around. I want to be here for everyone so hopefully the writers step their game up and let an ensemble cast be an ensemble cast.

Episode Awards

Character of the Night
• Carlos

Best Character Interactions
• Baby Jones and Nina

Scene of the Night
• Baby Jones and Nina bond over being in jail because of a guy.

Line of the Night
• Nina: As your lawyer, I need to advise you not to bust my white meat.

Most Memorable Moment
• Nina getting shocked by the Taser

Benched airs every Tuesday night at 10:30/9:30 central

The show’s hashtag is: #BenchedUSA

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