NVTV 34: Benched "Downsizing"

Benched built on a strong pilot by turning in easily the strongest second episode of any of the shows I've been covering. While not a network sitcom, it's easily the strongest starter of the season, and assuming it can maintain momentum it will rapidly shoot past Marry MeSelfie, and Bad Judge on my personal power rankings. 

Eliza Coupe has always been one of the funniest women on television, and she's overdue to have a show built explicitly around her; there's not a scene in the second episode that doesn't include her, and the show is stronger for it. Like Kate Walsh over on Bad Judge she's able to play the deplorable sides of her character without losing sympathy, and like Selfie's Karen Gillan she's willing to commit to the jokes just as hard as the emotional stuff and to give each exactly the right pitch. Seriously funny, compelling stuff from her. 

It doesn't hurt that her supporting cast is without a weak link. The villains are excellent (though it will never not be weird to see Marueen Ponderosa as a high-powered attorney), and the good guys- Maria Bamford, Oscar Nunez, and Jay Harrington- are all comedy vets with excellent typing and the elusive ability to bring real human depth to characters that exist largely just for laughs. 

The jokes are still probably the show's weakest link, but the cast is so good that it's hard to tell; Eliza Coupe is basically funny whenever she wants to be, regardless of material, and Jay Harrington's timing is almost Hedberg-esque; not in terms of delivery, but in the ability to make almost anything funny just by *when* he says it. 

Big thumbs up so far.