Continuing a passive-aggressive programming strategy akin to a bitter high-school wallflower declaring that they’re not even going to the dance because everyone is a bunch of jerks and no one’s going to ask them anyway, NBC began burning off its long-delayed comedy Bent in one of its most consistently under-performing time slots last night with next-to-no promotion, knowing that, whatever, you guys already hate it and aren’t going to watch it, so they may as well save you the trouble, and that way they won’t get their feelings hurt. And so the prophecy became self-fulfilled: Bent’s debut pulled in a 1.0 rating among adults 18 to 49, then dropped to a 0.9 rating for its second episode—numbers that no one could be too happy with save for Paul Reiser, whose own dismally received The Paul Reiser Show no longer holds the record for lowest-rated comedy debut in the history of the network. Finally, an accolade to put on the cover of The Paul Reiser Show: Complete Series DVD.
Bent’s situation isn’t likely to improve with word of mouth, given that it’s scheduled to wrap up its paltry six-episode run a mere two weeks from now—provided NBC doesn’t take its preemptive wallowing in alienation one step further and just replace it with a static shot of a flickering candle, soundtracked by the distant strains of The Cure. Of course, Bent’s poor performance was matched by a fairly positive critical reception, but who cares if the nerds like it, Mom?