Tonight is the series premiere of Bent, a new romantic comedy on NBC about a womanizing, surfer dude contractor and his beautiful, no-nonsense, type-A client, who work together to remodel each other’s lives as they renovate her Venice, California home.
On the surface, Alex (Amanda Peet, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) and Pete (David Walton, Perfect Couples) could not be more different. The recently divorced Alex is a hard-working, high-strung lawyer who is raising her 10-year-old daughter, Charlie (Joey King, Ramona and Beezus), as a single mom following her husband’s incarceration for insider trading.
Jump with me to read more about the show and see the great questions & answers with stars Amanda Peet & David Walton, as well as Executive Producer Tad Quill.
Unwilling to let anything get in her way, she downsizes into a smaller house and hires the charismatic Pete, a free-spirited ladies man and recovering gambling addict who desperately needs this gig with Alex to jumpstart his life – and prove that he is no longer a screw-up. Upon hiring him, Alex quickly realizes that she has met her match in Pete, who – along with his motley construction crew – will not only tear apart her kitchen, but also transform her worldview in the process.
Adding to the charm of Alex’s family life is her wild younger sister, Screwsie (Margo Harshman, Sorority Row), who unfortunately for Alex, seems to be cut from the same reckless cloth as Pete. Meanwhile, Pete’s home life includes his narcissistic, live-in father, Walt (Jeffrey Tambor, Arrested Development), a perpetually unemployed actor who still yearns to get back in the game.
On what sets Bent apart from other romantic comedies
Amanda Peet: You know, when I read the script, I felt like it was sort of uniquely charming, and there are a lot of kind of super quirky (gross) out comedies, and you know, there a lot of sort of softer comedies that aren’t really grown up.
I just felt like it was really charming and very real, and I think that, you know, it’s hard to find something that’s romantic on TV that’s also sort of sexy and – I don’t know – suspenseful in a love story way.
David Walton: I think it’s really hard in television. I think what a lot of TV shows I watch do is they’ll try to push for a lot of jokes, and then it’s almost like the writers are like, uh oh, we gotta put some heart in here, and in the end, they kind of jam it in there and try to get, you know, the audience somewhat moved as well.
And Tad has this incredible ability to kind of infuse touching engaging heartfelt moments throughout an episode so by the end you never have to shift into like oh, this is the sappy moment but you are touched and you are moved in a way and tired of laughing. And I think it’s super-unique.
Tad Quill: I just might add, you know, Amanda and David have such incredible chemistry. I think that alone makes it unique I think and we also have just a really remarkable ensemble around them.
I mean, we have Jeff Tambor who’s, you know, done so many things and is so talented but he also brings sort of an emotional depth to it. You have J.B. Smoove, who’s just laugh out loud funny, and Jessie Clements, who I have not seen in a straight up comedy before but he’s from Friday Night Lights and he was hilarious. And we have Margo Harshman, who is wonderful, and Joey King. So it’s just – it’s just a wonderful cast.
On how the idea for the show came about
Tad: I had the idea – I had wanted to do a romantic comedy, and I wanted to do something set in Los Angeles, and I wanted to do something with people sort of at a crossroads in their life where they’re all starting over.
And I feel like hopefully the town of Venice in L.A. comes through as kind of a character in the show. I feel it’s like a place people go – a lot of people I know are at a crossroads and starting over either divorced, you know, or sort of searching for something.
So that’s sort of the – and I also wanted to do an ensemble in addition to the romantic comedy. So that’s sort of where the idea came from.
On what their characters bring to the show that isn’t on other shows
Amanda: I think we’re pretty – I don’t know. I think that first of all I feel like David Walton is just a revelation. I mean, he’s so brilliant and funny and I don’t think there’s anybody like him and, you know, I think it’s a really kind of – it’s a really unique and very real sort of depiction of somebody who’s (unintelligible) a little bit in a state of arrested development but he has a really good heart and he has really good instincts.
And as Tad was saying with he’s just at this crossroad and meets this very very serious woman who has a lot of responsibility. So I think what’s fun about it is the sort of how different their lifestyles are and whether or not they can overcome that.
On the chemistry between their characters
David: I think, you know, the chemistry is just sort of – I don’t know – maybe a lightning in the bottle type thing where you have this – Tad’s writing is very easy to – it’s very naturalistic and funny and I wish I was as witty as my character is.
So, you know, when you have that kind of rapid fire machine gun talking chemistry things start to come alive. And then, I don’t know… I think Amanda – I’m not sure she’s ever not had chemistry with her co-stars. I just feel honored to be able to act with her.
She’s an amazing actress. So funny and so charming and vulnerable. She can play like five different things at once and it all comes through. There’s not a person I’ve met, you know, when I say I’m in the show with Amanda Peet it’s not like oh my god I love her.
So I think a lot of that just because she’s just very generous. And that’s a lot of what chemistry has to do with.
Amanda: I don’t know. I always think it’s an opposites attract kind of thing. I feel it was definitely really well-portrayed in the writing and so David and I just kind of followed what was there.
And I think it’s always exciting to see two people who kind of can’t stand each other or can’t stand the way the other one lives and throw in some attraction and see what happens.
On what she thinks makes a good romantic comedy work
Amanda: Yes, I mean, if you – it’s all about your partner. So, you know, once we found David Walton it became very exciting and, you know, I think that it’s sort of an ineffable quality when you strike gold with a romantic comedy and I guess I attribute it to being partners with David Walton primarily.
And, you know, I think Tad’s a very smart and a very funny guy and, you know, I think while these two people are very very different they definitely have that kind of witty repartee that I always love seeing in a romantic comedy where you have a really formidable opponent who is equally saucy and who can really give you a run for your money.
I always find that to be really sexy so hopefully we achieve that. I don’t’ know how badly were focused on achieving that very thing but hopefully that’s the by-product.
Thanks to all three for taking the time to speak with the press. Don’t miss the series premiere tonight on NBC at 9/8c, followed by a 2nd new episode at 9:30/8:30c.