“Benders” is what happens when Denis Leary watches “The League” and says that he can make it manlier. The end result is a loose clone with promise of better things, but still can’t shake its producer’s voice. I was a huge “Rescue Me” fan and I stuck with the show after The Chief shot himself. How many of you can say that? Unfortunately, “Benders” plays like those last few seasons. The stories rely on cliches, everything is telegraphed and women are treated like NPCs.

The lead’s wife constantly nags him and only exists to have one female in the main cast. Sure, the team eventually gets a goalie, but every team decision in terms of interaction hinges on the fact that she has a vagina. There’s some stuff with a Christian team that remained the funniest out of the three episodes I covered. Still, this show suffers from the first season comedy yips that have killed far better shows on IFC.

What’s so terrible about the show is that I’m not sure who gets the blame here. The cast is workable, but they are only strong as the material. The script and general direction needs to break out before it dies in the crib. But, why watch this when you’ve got “The League” on the ol’ DVR? Plus, it’s a bizarre addition to IFC. After spending a bit of time with the three review episodes, I’ve yet to see anything that connects it to the channel’s brand. It’s frustrating to see anything hockey-oriented stumble out of the gates. But, I watched “Slap Shot” and forgot all about this mess.

Release Date: 10/1/15

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