With household-name actors, a big-budget look and the full support of the network behind “Mad Men,” the restaurant drama “Feed the Beast” seemed to have all the ingredients of a hit. Now, as Season 1 wrapped up Tuesday (August 2), low ratings and faded buzz seems to raise a question as difficult as whether to order dessert: Has the show earned itself a second season?
Overall, the story of Tommy Moran (David Schwimmer) and Dion Patras (Jim Sturgess) always seemed to read better on the menu than when “Dexter” mastermind Clyde Phillips would actually dish it up.
Down on their luck and desperate, the boys’ dream of opening a restaurant in their Bronx hometown was a delicate one. Gangsters, lovers and corrupt officials were all lining up to stand in their way. Supporting veterans like Michael Rispoli and David Patrick Kelly offered their sizable talents, while young Elijah Jacob stole the show with fine work as Tommy’s mute, gifted son.
But Schwimmer was reminiscent of Ray Romano’s recent turn on “Vinyl,” punching too hard against his perceived type-castings. Sturgess was more solid, but also frequently somnambulant. The show had a difficult time finding the proper tone, and even its imagery of the food that drove these men fell far short of something like “Big Night,” “Mostly Martha” or even “Chef.”
So, does “Feed the Beast” deserve a Season 2? If the network wanted to recast most of the roles and give the recipe a little more spice … who knows? Maybe it could be reheated into a better dish.