USA Network's Benched: EP Previews Eliza Coupe's Unfiltered Legal Comedy

Season 1, Episode 2

Nina Whitley, the main lawyer on USA Network’s new legal sitcom Benched — premiering Tuesday at 10:30/9:30c — isn’t someone you’d necessarily choose to have in your corner. Then again, she probably wouldn’t want to help you, either.

RELATED Benched First Look: Eliza Coupe Breaks Down Her Twisted New Legal Comedy

“She’s not a crusader,” Benched creator/executive producer Michaela Watkins admits to TVLine. “She’s not someone who’s out to help the disenfranchised.”

In fact, Nina — played by Happy EndingsEliza Coupe — is a former corporate lawyer who finds herself slumming it with the public defenders when a stress-induced breakdown makes her an instant pariah at her old firm. And within the first five minutes of the pilot, you realize that Nina is unquestionably her own worst enemy.

“She’s like a lot of people I know, including myself,” Watkins explains. “If she would just take a beat, be a little more filtered and gauge the room first, she would actually do very well. And that’s what I love about the character. She’s so consumed with passion and enthusiasm and that’s really what drives her.”

RELATED TVLine Items: Under the Dome Actress Benched

Outside the courtroom, Nina gets her kicks by trading jabs with fellow public defender Phil (Better Off Ted‘s Jay Harrington). Watkins believes Nina and Phil have that “Sam and Diane” factor, complete with “undeniably good” chemistry — so get ready to root, ship, etc.

Happy Endings JaneAnd here’s a fun fact for all you former Happy Endings fans: While many viewers fondly remember Coupe as Jane Kerkovich on ABC’s short-lived comedy, Watkins doesn’t count herself as one of them.

“I’m so scared to say this, but I never really watched Happy Endings,” she confesses. “I’d heard about how great it was, though. And this is really a testament to Eliza; she’s just that funny. Plus, you look at her and she looks like a supermodel. She’s everything in one being!”

Will you be checking out Benched when it premieres tonight on USA Network? Drop a comment with your thoughts on the new comedy below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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10 Comments
  1. les says:

    I watched the pilot because I liked her “character” on Happy Endings, but to be honest, it wasn’t funny and her character was far from likeable. Buh bye.

  2. Babygate says:

    I watched the pilot and I really enjoyed it. A couple of times the delivery was over the top but overall I actually laughed out loud. Looking forward to more.

  3. Yoki says:

    Watched the pilot. I liked it.

  4. jo jo jo says:

    Funny show.. made me laugh out loud. especially in the beginning. Will be watching

  5. Phil says:

    Definitely enjoyed the pilot, including the look and tone. From the footage of future episodes it looks like they “TV” it up and I hope that’s not the case. The pilot had a lived-in, dirty look to it that fit both Nina and that new world.

    That said, it’s also extremely funny. Props to everyone involved, I hope you have a winner. I’ll be watching whenever USA allows people without cable to actually keep up with their programs.

  6. keylimepie78 says:

    I’ll give it a shot for sure.

  7. HAP says:

    The mention of Michaela Watkins just reminded me that Trophy Wife should not have been cancelled.

  8. Sheila says:

    I liked the pilot. Eliza Coupe was good and Maria Bamford is adorable. We’ll see how it goes!

  9. Debbie says:

    Bring this show back to USA! Please renew this show like you did Playing House!

  10. Debbie says:

    I really enjoyed this show. Quite humorous and I enjoyed the antics of “Nina”! I liked Phil. Even though some things were”over the top” it still worked and was funny.