Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 33° Fog
News >  Features

FX’s ‘Starved’ far from nutritious

The Spokesman-Review

What if the characters on “Seinfeld” were all food addicts in a recovery group run by the soup Nazi? That’s not a bad description of the premise for the new comedy “Starved” (10 p.m., FX).

Sam (Eric Schaeffer) is a neurotic Wall Street type who sprints from commitments and seems helplessly hooked on snack cakes. His pals include Billie (Laura Benanti), a recovering bulimic songwriter who may only be pretending to be gay; Adam (Sterling K. Brown), a tough New York cop who’s known to shake down Chinese-restaurant deliverymen just to eat the food; and Dan (Del Pentecost), an overweight writer who loathes intimacy, particularly with his wife.

This odd quartet meet often in a diner booth (a la “Seinfeld”) and attend recovery meetings that are the funniest part of the show. Actress Jackie Hoffman is brilliant as the drill sergeant head of Belttighteners, an eating support group that’s anything but nurturing.

When members introduce themselves and their problems, the group shouts out “It’s not all right!” as Hoffman’s character berates them in a brutal deadpan manner that all but steals the show. In one scene, Dan is strapped to a chair and buzzed with an electrical current every time he reaches for a donut.

Unfortunately, outside of therapy, all of these characters, particularly Sam, lurch into areas of petty self-absorption that cross the line between quirky and distinctly unlikable. And while any show on FX with a TV-MA rating is expected to “push the envelope,” much of the prurient material on “Starved” seems more juvenile than adult.

From “Up the Down Staircase” to “Boston Public” to “Coach Carter,” movies and shows about high school teachers have emphasized the impact good teachers can have on impressionable students. Forget all that. “Teachers” (7 p.m. BBC America) takes a funny look at the less-than-perfect lives of the young teachers themselves, particularly the show’s immensely likable lead, Simon (Andrew Lincoln), whose recent 27th birthday has served as a brutal reminder of his fleeting youth.

Simon struggles between his urge to be liked by his rowdy students and the need to buckle down to teach the syllabus.

Filled with clever but never intrusive editing effects and a catchy pop-music soundtrack, “Teachers” is a fun and breezy series about 20-somethings who haven’t quite realized they’ve become authority figures.

Other highlights

“Medal of Honor” (8 p.m., Military Channel) includes interviews with some of the 129 living recipients of the most distinguished military award.

Homeowners who have made clever use of small homes are showcased on “Small Space, Big Style” (8 p.m., HGTV).

“Garden Police” (8 p.m., Discovery Home) offer advice and admonition for the crabgrass afflicted.

Four murders share a similar theme on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).

Suits and lawsuits on “The Law Firm” (9 p.m., NBC).

Kristen’s moment of truth on “The O.C.” (9 p.m., Fox).

True tales from the cyber-dating scene on “Hooking Up” (9 p.m., ABC).

A real estate agent with unusual properties goes missing on “Without a Trace” (10 p.m., CBS).

A wounded Iraqi girl needs surgery on “ER” (10 p.m., NBC).

Scheduled on “Primetime” (10 p.m., ABC): juvenile detention centers.

Four friends take on the big issues of the day in the new comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (11:30 p.m., FX).

Cult choice

A gumshoe (Harrison Ford) hunts down stray androids in director Ridley Scott’s influential 1982 sci-fi gem “Blade Runner” (8 p.m., AMC).

Series notes

Julie Chen hosts “Big Brother 6” (8 p.m., CBS) … The one with the personal assistant on “Joey” (8 p.m., NBC) … On back-to-back episodes of “That ‘70s Show” (Fox), Donna’s ploy (8 p.m.), and the big game (8:30 p.m.) … Best friends want to look their best on “Extreme Makeover” (8 p.m., ABC) … Wrestling on “WWE SmackDown!” (8 p.m., UPN) … Clark and Lionel make the big switch on “Smallville” (8 p.m., WB).

Jack the dream crusher on “Will & Grace” (8:30 p.m., NBC) … Matters of intimacy on “Everwood” (9 p.m., WB).

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.