Elevators. Relationships. Conversations with other human beings in general. As evidenced by Tuesday’s series premiere of USA Network’s Benched, none of these things are lawyer Nina Whitley’s strengths.
Fortunately — for the viewers, at least — her failures are spectacularly entertaining.
After being passed over for partner at her corporate firm — by a less-qualified, larger-breasted friend, no less — Nina (Happy Endings‘ Eliza Coupe) unleashes the proverbial Kraken, telling off every single one of her co-workers with the kind of speech most hard-working, under-appreciated Americans only dream of. Unfortunately, there’s a reason most people don’t deliver such speeches: Nina’s epic freak-out gets her bounced down — like, way down — to legal aid.
(Oh, and did I forget to mention she just found out her ex-fiancé is engaged to someone else, and that he’d only broken up with her three months prior? That’s some pretty important context right there.)
Despite a few upsides — like her cute, though occasionally skeevy, new co-worker Phil (Better Off Ted‘s Jay Harrington) — Nina hates everything about being a public defender, going so far as to openly declare the whole system to be “a slow-motion hate crime.” And s—t really hits the fan when she finds herself up against the new deputy district attorney, who just so happens to be her ex-fiancé Trent (Drop Dead Diva‘s Carter MacIntyre).
But all it takes is one good win — after a series of colossal failures, of course — for Nina to feel that fire in her belly once again. Could she actually be coming around to the idea of working in legal aid?
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Benched creator/executive producer Michaela Watkins tells TVLine, “but we do see her settle in. As her material world starts to decline, her personal evolution will incline.”
So, will you be sticking with Benched to see Nina “settle in,” or are you already dismissing yourself from the case? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your thoughts.