“Yeah, I can’t tell where the homeless stops and artist begins.”
– Screwsie, to Walt, in the drum circle

“HD” is about expanding Bent beyond its initial boundaries. It sketches in the details of its secondary characters by giving Walt, Screwsie, and Charlie a plot of their own.

Screwsie and Walt play similar roles: family members and confidants of the lead characters – Screwsie for Alex, and Walt for Pete. However, their personalities as compared to their respective family members are very different. Screwsie is Alex’s opposite, free-spirited and irresponsible. Her role is to bring Alex out of her shell. Walt, on the other hand, could be considered an extreme version of Pete – a cautionary tale for what happens when you spend too much time with your head in the clouds. This creates an interesting dynamic where Screwsie pulls Alex, while Pete pushes away from Walt.

Because of their positions relative to their family members, Screwsie and Walt have similar personalities; however, Screwsie is more of a realist. That makes them an interesting match-up for a subplot. Initially, it seems like their Artists’ Day is going to bring their differences to the fore. But when Charlie shows up while playing hooky, “HD” plays up their similarities. It turns out that Charlie is being tormented by a classmate named Nicole, who continually mocks her for having a father who is in prison. Screwsie and Walt both advocate underhanded means of dealing with Charlie’s bully, a contrast to what the viewer knows Alex will prescribe.

“Whoa, way to kill the music. You’re like Buddy Holly’s plane.”
– Pete, to Alex, after she unplugs his boombox

And true to form, Alex does tell Charlie to take the high road, even if taking the low road would be more fun. It’s clear that “HD” placed Screwsie and Walt together to show the advantages of letting loose a little, which the boombox-unplugging Alex could really stand to do. Eventually, she does find herself pushed onto the low road when she eggs Nicole’s house, and it turns out that it’s something she enjoys.

Thus, “HD” uses a subplot to illustrate something about one of its main characters, all the while giving us more insight into the secondary characters’ lives and personalities.

For more information on the Bent rewatch project, please click here.