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I have read the other comments and I just want to say that while eating
disorders are a serious issue (I have one myself), being too serious
and cynical is pretty serious also. What's the saying..."Laughter is
the best medicine"? While the show isn't hilarious, I think it takes a
very serious subject and lightens the mood around it a little. I really
feel that people take themselves and their "problems" a little too
seriously most of the time.
That's just my humble opinion...I'm sure someone out there without a sense of humor will take offense. Too bad! I mean really, now. There is famine in, what, 2/3rds of the world, hurricanes and tsunamis are destroying parts of our planet and killing thousands, and there are actually people getting upset over a stupid TV show. Here's an idea: if you don't like what "Starved" has to say, don't watch it, but don't act like it's supposed to be some show like Intervention that is helping people. And, I think that saying that people with eating disorders would be offended or possibly even cause them problems is saying that people with eating disorders are stupid. As I previously said, I have an eating disorder and I am much more offended by people assuming that I am too dumb to realize that this is just a TV show...not real life!
Those anti-Starved posters who criticized the show are apparently very close-minded. I am quite close-minded myself, but feel that Starved is the best show out on television right now. Perhaps it is just not right for you, but don't say it should banned and don't ask for it to not be renewed. That is cruel to us viewers who love the show and take something positive away from it after each episode. No one is forcing you to watch it, so don't if you choose not to and don't like the writing style. I love Starved, and I hope it is here to stay. It's humor is extremely prevalent throughout each episode and it also has some serious tones as well. No one can deny that after seeing the end of the last episode. Kudos to Eric for writing this stuff.
Yes, it can be hard to watch, but it's great. Yes, people do have
eating disorders. Yes, our culture is very messed up in terms of it's
relationships with food. These folks lean on each other to help them
make it day by day while living with their problems, and trying, trying
to get better.
Every character on the show is despicable, and yet entirely sympathetic at the same time. They are written as humans, and humans can be very messed up creatures indeed.
I've struggled with eating issues, and I think this show is right on the money in terms of the self-loathing that comes with trying to attain body perfection. The fact that it's funny as well as touching is just a bonus. Great show.
I have to say that Starved both makes me cry and laugh...each episode I have identified with in some way. I think it is an excellent, smart, and provocative show. The gentleman who created it is "out" about his own struggles and I admire that. He is brilliant! I would be very sad if the show did not return. people need to lighten up and really watch it...its not making fun of anyone..it is reality for millions, and at the very least, these people are trying to change,admitting their problems, and honestly portraying characters that many of us know.or can identify with in some way. What it is saying is that we are a society obsssessed with our weight, and that people of all types, weights, etc. are making themselves sick trying to be something we are brainwashed to believe we are supposed to be. It is a brilliant show that clearly is a commentary on how insane this society is about looks and weight. And yes...most of the carachters are not fat, but you don't have to be fat to be obsessed about your weight!!! I LOVE IT!!!...Is there an official place that we can write to to let the producers and FX know about how committed we are to continuing this show?
To put it simply, this show is amazing. I feel confident saying that
"Starved" is the replacement "Seinfeld" fans have been waiting for.
However where "Seinfeld" was a single episode type of show, "Starved"
is a continuing story from one episode to the next. The characters have
a very similar feel to those from "Seinfeld" in that they frequently
discuss rather inane subject matter in an unconventional manner. This
is the first sitcom style show that I have really found enjoyment
watching in years. Some of the conversations are rather lewd and/or
ridiculous, but I can recall similar conversations with some of my best
friends over the years.
However if you're looking for a lighthearted comedy -- this is not the sitcom for you. This is definitely a black comedy, and when I say black I mean black. I'm not going to say "trust me" use your DVR to record this, why should you trust me? I'm not going to say "give this show a chance, you'll be happy you did", cause you might hate it. I will say that I am very happy I stumbled across this show on FX and highly recommend it to anyone with a dark sense of humor.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Starved is a vile, disgusting, horrible show. That being said, I think
that it's the best thing on TV right now.
I have eaten a box of donuts and hated myself while I was doing it. I know all about being fat and feeling helpless against it. I sometimes wish that someone would be brutally honest with me about my size, and tell me I'm disgusting, so I know 'it's not OK.' This show is hilarious and painful and sometimes it makes me howl in laughter while I am wincing in sympathy. I love that it's totally not PC, I love that Sam can be a jerk and seems to hate women, and that Billie is confused to say the least. I love this show for its' irreverence and its sometimes brutal honesty.
I think that FX is doing a fine job by bringing this type of show to
the airwaves. Of course, the writing is edgy, different, and
awkward--however you want to put it-- just plain good. Just because the
premise is hard to digest for our more conservative viewers doesn't
make it a bad thing.
I liken the show to Will and Grace. That show, as bad as it was, ran entirely on the premise of gay jokes. In fact, when was it acceptable for gay jokes to become funny by the mainstream? I am sure that homosexuals were upset about the portrayals of gay characters at first, but if I'm not mistaken, they have won prestige, awards, and applause from the gay community.
Starved, I believe will follow the same pattern. Yes, the show makes light of eating disorders but it will also bring light to a problem that is rampant. Will and Grace helped open up conversation and made it all right to be openly gay and Starved will make it okay to talk about Eating Disorders.
I love this show, I can't live without the show. I have laughed and
cried at every episode. I feel so close to these characters, and can
empathize with each of them. Mr. Schaeffer has picked the perfect
people for the parts, and Kudos to him for making it real. If you open
your mind to being an adult, and how life can really be, this show
should appeal to anyone. I wish the season was longer and I hope it
It's really too bad to think that people are offended by this show. I understand that it's contents are sometimes strong, I understand that these are serious issues, but that's what makes it so real. People do have these feelings, these needs, these horrible moments where they just can't handle their life around them. I would hate to live my life through rose colored glasses. The world is harsh, and this only tackles a fraction of what people have to deal with on a daily basis.
Starved had some of the best/complex characters I've seen in along time. And the show focuses on a problem that a lot of Americans ignore. When they might have the problem themselves. Like the main character I used to have an addiction to chocolate till I found a way to kick it. Cause it was not OK! IF anyone wants to talk about boycotts. I say I'm gonna boycott FX for taking the only original and fresh show off the the air. They obviously couldn't take the pressure from people that probably haven't even watched the show and if they did they didn't do it with an open mind. What happened to free expression. It's not like the show didn't have fans! I hope some other network with sense picks it up.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Network: FX; Genre: Dark Comedy, Drama, Content Rating: TV-MA (strong
language, strong crude humor, nudity and simulated sex); Perspective:
Cult Classic (star range: 1 - 5);
Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)
Sam (Eric Schaeffer) is a commodities trader at a top New York firm as well as an anorexic, compulsive overeater. Billie (Laura Benanti) is an aspiring underground singer/songwriter (whose fans "prefer her gay") as well as a recovering anorexic. Dan (Del Pentecost) is a married stay-at-home writer whose wife won't let him watch the game in peace as well as a morbidly obese compulsive overeater. Adam (Sterling K. Brown) is a New York police officer as well as an active bulimic who isn't above shaking down vendors for something to binge on. Boy, you know this will be fun
The brainchild or star/writer/director/creator/executive producer Eric Schaeffer, "Starved" is about the most noble commercial failure to come down the pipe in some time. If it doesn't quite live up to the lofty concept that Schaeffer is attempting to get his arms around here (and the flaws are numerous), the show is so bold, so unique, so bravely open, so well made and with such a gung-ho attempt at a level of crude humor you rarely see in live-action TV, that it manages to fling itself in just one season into cult classic territory.
Something that wouldn't see the light of day anywhere except FX, "Starved" is a show for people, like me, who are tired of all their romantic comedy characters being quirky, wacky neurotics and want to see some people who are genuinely mentally disturbed. And the show isn't just a dark comedy about a group of friends with eating disorders (which itself would be enough to raise the ire of the Hyper-sensitive Special Interest Group of the Week), but it brings a never-before-seen male perspective to the subject. After decades of being told that whining, crying and self pity was the only way to depict a bulimic, "Starved" takes eating disorders like a man. With anger, self-loathing, wicked humor and twisted sex. You'd never see a character like the sadistically mean-spirited group leader (Jackie Hoffman) in a Lifetime Original Movie, that's for sure. Then again this show probably wasn't relevant decades ago, as Schaeffer's endearingly effeminate Sam can also be seen as a comment on the feminization of the modern man that has brought them to this point. With "Starved" Schaeffer exorcises his own frustration with compulsive overeating, shaping it into a dark, bittersweet comedy.
While largely uneven in the department of actual laughs, the show succeeds be being an nakedly intimate exploration of it's characters. But "Starved" can be divided evenly down the half of it that works - Sam and Billie - and the half that doesn't - Dan and Adam. Schaeffer has put so much heart and texture into his own story lines that he leaves the rest of the cast underwritten. He is aided from the very beginning here by Benanti who (in one of the funniest female lead performances since Paget Brewster in "Andy Richter Controls the Universe") can take any scrap Schaeffer throws her and make it a laugh riot. Watch her take a lame bit in the pilot involving a scale and turn it around and into a laugh at the last second. Shaeffer himself is also great in the show. His deliveries, his expressions - the guy could about have carried the entire thing himself.
Then there are the gross-out gags, which reach a level of surreal outrageousness that top the Farrelly brothers in their prime. This eye-popping assault includes stuff like TV's first colonic backfire, massive testicular swelling and a mysterious man (Darrell Hammond) who can purge at will. Few shows have made me squirm in nauseous discomfort like this one.
Interlaced parallel with all this, like a "Sex and the City" for the sick and miserable, is the ironically more successful romantic comedy elements: Sam's obsession with the women in a British shoe commercial, Sam's unrequited affection for his bisexual friend, and a late season arc with a Yoga instructor (Robyn Cohen, a dead-ringer for Jennifer Westfeldt) whose new-age lifestyle tests him.
The show finds a rhythm in the final episodes, where our group meet their fate - and disappointing it is only the women who seems happy. Everything about "Starved" was bittersweet. It defied convention and challenged an audience that is used to happy endings and laugh lines - exactly as you would expect from FX's first venture into comedy. "Starved" was flawed, uneven and underwritten but it had a foothold into a potentially robust, untapped, universe and deserved an audience. It's cancellation leaves us with the open-ended desire to know what happens next to these characters - always the sign of a good series.
* * * / 5
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