Review: "Feed the Beast" is a semi-entertaining disapointment

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AMC and AMC | The Daily Wildcat Jim Sturgess and David Schwimmer in AMC's Feed The Beast.

The feeling of wanting to look away from something but not being able to is all too familiar, especially for avid TV viewers. AMC’s new series “Feed the Beast” gives audiences a fresh dose of delightfully cringeworthy television.

The series stars David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess as two friends preparing to open up a restaurant together in Bronx, New York . Dion, played by Jim Sturgess recently got out of prison, sent there after burning down the restaurant he previously worked at with his friend, Tommy, played by David Schwimmer whose wife died in a drive-by shooting witnessed by their son, TJ . TJ has refused to speak at all since the shooting occurred. Now that Dion has gotten out of prison, the owners of the restaurant he burned down want money for the damages. To make matters worse, they come from a mob family.

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First and foremost, this is really not by any means a great show. Mediocre writing, obnoxious side characters and often laughable dialogue run rampant throughout the series. Still, it has some elusive qualities that makes it quite entertaining to watch.

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To this day, seeing Schwimmer in any role other than Ross from “Friends” is like seeing a fish out of water. His character in "Feed the Beast" does not have any particularly compelling elements, but he still makes for a fairly convincing grief-stricken dude — he recently lost his wife, his restaurant and now his son refuses to speak to him.

TJ’s refusal to talk after his mom’s death makes him somewhat interesting at first, but the act gets real old real quick and his lack of talking just becomes obnoxious. With Tommy , Schwimmer's character, it’s a bit like watching a sick puppy. You feel so bad for him that you just want to give the guy a hug.

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Sturgess does do a solid job as Dion,a former executive chef whose love and passion for food really comes through with the character. He constantly cooks up interesting and unique food, so if nothing else, this show will most certainly make you hungry. He also remains convinced that opening a restaurant will allow him to pay off the $600,000 debt he apparently owes to the mob. You have to let people dream, I guess.

So, the two lead characters make for decent enough viewing, but everyone else in the show is pretty much awful. Michael Gladis plays the head of the mob family in a role so horribly miscast that every scene of his will make you want to cringe. Not intimidating in the slightest, Gladis's character feels like something out of a terrible cartoon or a campy 80's movie. After all, his nickname is “The Tooth Fairy.” Need I say more?

“Feed the Beast” lacks quality content for various reasons. From strange choices with plot to confusing character motivations, this show commits just about every sin in the book when it comes to poor storytelling. AMC usually delivers solid shows but with "Feed the Beast" you'll have to move past these mistakes that many pilot seasons often struggle with. The show does have its shining moments — just watch for the food, the decent lead performances and wait for the next episode to improve upon the last.

C-


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Updated December 8, 2021