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Thread: Starved on FX

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    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    Starved on FX

    Aug. 03, 2005

    Starved
    What the Hollywood reporter has to say:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr..._id=1001002113
    By Ray Richmond



    Bottom line: A superb comedy about people with eating disorders that leaves us with plenty of food for thought.
    10-10:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 4
    FX

    So imagine if Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine of "Seinfeld" were really, really screwed up. No, wait, they were screwed up. Scratch that. OK, so what if they all had eating disorders? They would probably look something like the characters on "Starved," FX's bold, brash, wrenchingly personal and divertingly clever new original series that signals that the lean times are over for the network in terms of comedy (pun intended). I use the "Seinfeld" reference not to indicate that the show is derivative, merely to imply that it's impossible to avoid comparisons when your show centers on three guys and a gal in their 30s who pal around Manhattan and also features a single-word title that begins with an "s" and ends with a "d." That said, the "Starved" characters out-neurotic that other quartet by a fairly comfortable margin, though that doesn't necessarily make them any less real. Probably more so, actually.

    If "Seinfeld" was a show about nothing, "Starved" is a show about eating nothing. It's exceptionally dark and occasionally outrageous. But the groundswell of protest against the program from eating disorder organizations is misguided. This comedy neither denigrates nor satirizes the anti-food-abuse movement so much as it examines -- sometimes poignantly, often hilariously -- the heartache and despair of flawed human beings struggling to right their listing emotional ship. Eating issues are merely the means into the heads of our foodsome foursome who work hard to get a grip on something more tangible than a cheeseburger.

    Created, written, executive produced (in tandem with Dan Pasternack) and directed by Eric Schaeffer, "Starved" also finds Schaeffer as one of the four primary stars. He's Sam, your basic neurotic commitment-phobe fighting to recover from anorexia and compulsive overeating. He's the kind of guy who gets on the bathroom scale four times in a two-minute period. He hangs around with fellow "Belt-tighteners" support members Billie (Laura Benanti), a bisexual recovering anorexic-bulimic; Adam (Sterling K. Brown), a bulimic NYPD cop who uses his position to intercept free food from delivery men; and Dan (Del Pentecost), an overweight compulsive overeater and novelist. They're all addicts, slaves to their palates as much as a junkie is to his heroin fix.

    The pilot is easily the darkest of the three episodes supplied for review, making it something of an early chore to embrace the four leads in particular. Sam busies himself romancing a sweet young woman he met on a subway whom he uses to indulge a secret shoe fetish. That's when he isn't pulling mini chocolate cakes that he's coated in cleanser from the trash and eating them, Ajax residue and all. Billie is hard-edged and embittered, Adam intense and tortured, Dan weak-willed and consumed with instant gratification. Their demons will continue to rear their ugly heads in Episodes 2 and 3, but we'll see their fragile psyches on clearer display as well, helping involve us more in their lives.

    Schaeffer, as the show's sole writer and director, does a brilliant job of capturing the self-hate, emptiness and despair that drive the need to abuse something (booze, drugs, sex, food or whatever). The fact that the obsessive behavior those feelings inspire goes hand in hand with broad comedy is a no-brainer. That Schaeffer wrote for himself the show's most outwardly contemptible jerk of a character speaks no doubt to his own issues, and indeed, he and his three primary co-stars are all said to have had past problems themselves dealing with food. But again, black as the material can be, it's packed with comedic flair relatable to the masses far beyond 12-step programs. Indeed, there is a scene at the end of Episode 2 involving Sam and colon cleansing that's nothing short of classic.

    "Starved" is the kind of brave comedy rarely seen in TV or anyplace else. It's less about eating disorders than it is the people who battle them, never going in for gimmickry at the expense of its characters and the uniformly superb performances of the actors who portray them. As such, the show pushes FX further forward in its ongoing quest to out-HBO HBO in the quality arena.
    Wow, I loved this show. It was witty and daring. As someone who has dealt with food and body issues I found it pretty true to life as well.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

  2. #2
    FORT Fan syd18's Avatar
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    I liked this show, too. Did you see the new one that came on after this one, something about Philedelphia?

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    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    "It's Always Sunny in Philadeplia"

    Yes, I liked it too, but it might have just been because of all the gay humour, I'll reserve my desicion until I've see another episode.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

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    FORT Fan annimal's Avatar
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    I thought it was a good show also. Everythink FX does is great, especially lately. I am looking forward to Over There tonight.

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    when i saw the commercial for this show (and "its always sunny in philadelphia") they both looked rather stupid.

    They came on the other night (repeats) and I decided to watch, and wow, i was totalyl wrong.

    They are both friggin hilarious! FX has a lot of good shows now

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    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    Okay, this show just rocks. I laughed soooo hard when he was getting the collonic and she wouldn't give him "release". It's such a pleasure to see a smart, adult comedy on TV.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

  7. #7
    FORT Fan syd18's Avatar
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    This episode was a little disturbing. (With the whole collonic thing) But, still a good show. I feel the most for the cop. How sad that he fixes himself a nice dinner everynight, and sets the table for another person. Do we know what the signifigance in that is?

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    FORT Newbie LaDeeDa's Avatar
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    I thought it was funny that the one guy hired a submissive to quietly watch sports with him.

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    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    I was over at the IMDb boards yesterday, and there were some people ragging on this show. They claimed that they were anorexic's and bulimics and that this show was insulting to them. They made claims that people who aren't worst case scenario they have no right to claim an "eating disorder" and if they really had one they surely couldn't make any kind of a joke about it. I wanted to respond it some of their claims, but just let it go, because there really just didn't seem any point it. They really just seemed to want to tell their sad stories, and no one elses was real or mattered.

    I relate to the humor of this show. I've been there, pulling the chocolate cake out of the trash. I can laugh at it now, because as sad as it is, it is funny too.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

  10. #10
    FORT Fan syd18's Avatar
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    Geesh. Everyone is so sensitive these days. Heaven forbid if someone should get their feelings hurt. We had better stop potraying alcoholics, drug addicts and any one else in tv shows who might be offended. I am so sick of everyone having to be so darned politically correct. If you don't like it, turn the channel.

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