Have you been missing a mixture of fine dining, sad, middle-aged white dudes, and former Mad Men actors as mob bosses in your life? Well, AMC’s got you covered this summer with Feed The Beast, a strange little show (which our TV critic Jeff Jensen gave a C review) that blends high and low art, like having a filet mignon with a side of Doritos. Let’s get to it!
The series premiere of Feed The Beast immediately familiarizes us with the two main characters, the two down-and-out friends who we’ll be following for 10 episodes. First there’s Dion (Jim Sturgess), who’s locked up in prison but having a pretty good time considering he’s the head chef and all the guards seem to like him. Then there’s Tommy, who seems to be struggling to hold his life together. His kid, TJ, needs to wake him up just to get to school on time.
It isn’t long before Dion isn’t in the prison kitchen anymore. Instead, he’s being let out on parole, and after he enjoys a hit of coke and a quick sexual rendezvous with his lawyer in a private interrogation room, he finds his way back into the world, the sunlight beating down on him.
Things aren’t sunny for long though. As soon as he steps out of prison, he sees a black van parked across the street. It starts coming for him before a garbage truck allows Dion to sneak into the sewer and evade his potential captors. Just another part of Dion’s story that’s revealed, but who are these people exactly? Whoever they are, they don’t seem friendly, and they don’t seem to like Dion.
Meanwhile, there’s so much blues slide guitar in the score of this show that it continually overpowers the more emotional moments. For instance, we learn that Tommy had a wife once, but that she died sometime in the past. He stands by her grave, replacing her flowers with a fresh batch. It’s a solid character moment that sets up a lot of what comes later, but that damn slide guitar keeps wailing away. It’s so out of place.
Anyway, Dion makes his way to a man named Uncle Stavros, who’s secured a getaway package for him; a passport, a plane ticket to Paris, and a little spending money. And why does he need this? Well, that man in the truck at the beginning of the episode is some sort of mob boss named Mr. Woichik (played by Mad Men alum Michael Gladis), but he’s better know as, and I’m not kidding here, the Tooth Fairy, and he’s coming for Dion. The Tooth Fairy shows up at Uncle Stavros’ place, but Dion gets away just in time.
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With that bit of backstory filled in, Feed The Beast shifts back to Tommy. It turns out that he’s a sommelier, but right now he’s repping wines to a number of restaurants. Oh, and he’s an alcoholic. Oh, and his wife Rie was killed in a car accident and his son TJ watched her die and hasn’t spoken a word since. That’s contributing to TJ being bullied at school and his grades plummeting. Safe to say things aren’t going so well for Tommy Moran and his offspring.
NEXT: I’m always getting into trouble