Feed the Beast Recap

Feed the Beast Premiere: Did David Schwimmer's AMC Drama Satisfy?

A coke addicted ex-con with a brutally mangled pinkie finger and an alcoholic widower with a son who refuses to speak decide to open a restaurant in the Bronx. Only one of ’em knows the business will be a front for a mobster with a penchant for forcibly removing people’s teeth with a pair of pliers.

Welcome to Feed the Beast — David Schwimmer‘s new AMC drama that couldn’t be farther from Central Perk if Ross Geller had lived in a run-down studio on the outskirts of Queens and never uttered a single zinger in his tragedy-strewn life.

Before you grade the pilot in our poll below, let’s do a quick recap of the action.

Schwimmer’s character Tommy is reeling from his wife’s hit-and-run death, trying to get through to his beautiful tween son TJ (who hasn’t uttered a word since the accident), and sampling way too much of the wine he’s distributes for a living.

His life gets a much needed jolt of chaos when his pal Dion (Cloud Atlas‘ Jim Sturgess) gets released from prison — not before having sex with his attorney and snorting a line up his nose — and shows up at Tommy’s door looking for a place to crash from a mob boss with revenge on his mind.

Turns out, Dion and Tommy and his late wife Rie had dreams of opening a Greek restaurant in the Bronx, but their plan disintegrated like baguette crumbs in a burner after Rie was killed, Dion got convicted of arson for burning down the eatery where all three were toiling, and Tommy found himself without a wife or his job as a sommelier.

But that’s just a hint of the overarching story. Dion’s stint as an arsonist came at the request of thuggish mobster Woichik (Extant‘s Michael Gladis, bringing several seasons’ worth of ham to the banquet) — but since he got caught, Woichik was unable to collect insurance, and he’s looking for payback. With his life hanging in the balance — and surrounded by the killer stove and brass espresso machine that Tommy’s allowed to lie dormant — Dion proposes to Woichik that a Greek restaurant in Tommy’s warehouse-y home could be a moneymaker, not to mention a great venue for laundering ill-gotten money.

Like spicy seafood broth over black orzo — the tastiest-looking of Dion’s premiere-episode dishes — the idea is all too tempting for Woichik to resist. But Dion never tells Tommy about the dark underbelly of their enterprise, instead convincing his friend that he can keep Rie’s memory alive and help TJ out of his isolation by recommitting to their culinary dream.

A few portions of the pilot are a little difficult to digest: We get a stereotypical Asian brothel worker who refers to her pimp as “uncle” and eyes Dion like a carnivore to a New York strip. (Memo to producers: It’s 2016, not 1916, K?) That scene where Dion (who snuffs and snorts like an anteater through the entire hour, even when there’s no coke in sight) uses nondescript household objects as stand-in for cooking implements is 1-800-too-much (and not in a good way). And Tommy’s glumness is so unrelenting that TJ’s vow of silence seems a little too understandable.

But maybe that’s just me and my finicky palate?

What did you think of the Feed the Beast premiere? Grade it in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

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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16 Comments
  1. Suso says:

    Really left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  2. flowerduh says:

    Can’t write off the show just yet. You gotta give it at least two episodes before you pass done harsh judgment.

    This show has some good bones. We gotta see where the b storyline will take us. I thought the show was pretty good!

    • wrstlgirl says:

      In this new world of instant gratification people have no patience. And if they don’t get exactly what they want they’ll complain about it endlessly, LOL!!!

    • The Beach says:

      Yep, I sure can. There are too many other good shows on Sunday night to waste my time with this depressing drivel. I gave it a shot. It failed.

  3. wrstlgirl says:

    I thought it was okay. I’ll continue watching to see how it goes.

  4. Tracy288 says:

    I’ll give it a couple more airings. The only thing I was a bit disappointed in was having the clearly corrupt police officer coming into the mix – I thought that was an unnecessary story piece.

  5. The Beach says:

    Sorry, AMC, I usually really like your original programming. Preacher is terrific. This is majorly depressing .Not how I want to spend my Sunday evening. I usually give a new show a chance but this one shot itself in the foot with me out of the gate. Maybe if they had treated it as a dark comedy that AMC does so well it might have worked but playing it straight with a druggie ex – con, an alcoholic father and his traumatized son? Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.

  6. MMD says:

    Just watched it. Not as bad as I thought it would be but the bar was set pretty low. I’ll give it a couple more episodes depending on what it is up against once it moves to its regular slot on Tuesdays tomorrow.

  7. Jenna says:

    I actually loved it. Granted I think Schwimmer is great (as I felt in Amercan Crime Story) and I thought Jim Sturgess was good as well, though I think they need to make his character less of a caricature and more of a person, but that’s not really his fault in terms of his performance. Like the sex scene with the lawyer…that was just absurd and silly. Overall though I enjoyed it a lot. Excited to see what they do with it, though I do think that AMC needs to branch out beyond tortured brooding white dudes.

  8. christopher bee says:

    Was there no food consultant available?

    The Pasta Dish at Tommys Flat was called “Malfatti”. A real Malfatti is more a Gnocchi with spinaci, Riccotta, Eggs, Flower, Sage, Onions, brown butter and Parmigiano.

    That Pasta Dish was losely a Pappardelle with a Tomatosauce.

    I like Schwimmer and Sturges a lot, but the staging is sloppy.

  9. julie smith says:

    Had high hopes for this show. During the opening sequence of sex interspersed with animals being butchered, decided to give it a pass. This is not intriguing.

  10. Kayte CookWatts says:

    We liked it! The cast is great, and the characters hooked me. I’ll agree that the crooked cop bit was not needed and I thought it was a bit soon to set up the potential romance in the grief group. I thought there was something weird about the lady. Like she came into the room cheery and looking for dates.

  11. Dan Codby says:

    I liked the 2ND episode better. The 1St. Was too much jumping around.