Archive | 1:00 pm

Spring 2012 Review: Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23

19 Apr

Non-B and B

Perennial rom-com bitchy best friend Krysten Ritter plays the title bitch (assuming I’m correctly positing that “B” stands for “bitch”).  Ritter is also known for her recurring TV roles on Veronica Mars, Breaking Bad, as Jesse’s one-time girlfriend Jane, and her unforgettable role as Brad Garrett’s daughter on ‘Til Death.

One note before I get to the meat of the episode:  The episode uses the single most overused television episode storytelling gimmick, which is showing the end of the episode, chronologically, at the beginning, and then having the rest of the episode show us how we got there.  Just quickly thinking, there are enough examples that I should save this for an entire entry, but suffice it to say, that while I do think the gimmick can be used in a really interesting way, it’s usually merely used as a lazy storytelling device to develop cheap suspense or interest.  Moving on.

In this particular beginning, the roommate of the B in Apartment 23 opens the show by telling us that she found her roommate, said B, hooking up with her fiancé on her birthday cake, and that that was the best thing to ever to happen to her (whaaaaat?  but these are all horrible things – how could they be good?).  This woman, June, our narrator, is a nice, mild-mannered midwesterner come to big NYC with a life plan:  She’s got a job for some big corporation, which is providing her with housing, and soon her scientist fiancé will join her, and they’ll get married and make babies.  Only, when she gets to work, it turns out the Feds have raided the place, and well, work doesn’t exist anymore.  She’s thus, in one shot, out a job and an apartment.  After a montage of following roommate wanted ads to weird apartments and people, she finds a seemingly nice roommate in Ritter’s Chloe, who shows her around, seems normal and asks for a couple of months rent.  Chloe then confides her plan to act crazy/irritating enough to drive her new roomie out, while keeping her already paid rent money, to her best friend James Van Der Beek, playing a self-obsessed Entourage cameo-esque version of himself.

June fights back, however, when Chloe tries to screw her, and Chloe starts to actually, well, not hate her.  June’s fiance shows up, and Chloe learns that he’s been cheating on June, but still naive June refuses to believe it.  Thus, Chloe sees as her only option showing June in person that her boyfriend is a cheat by having June walk on herself with June’s boyfriend.  June walks in, is outraged, but then the truth comes out, and although she’s depressed, she thanks Chloe, and thinks maybe, well, she does have a friend in big NYC after all.

Wacky side character alert:  It’s a fairly wacky show, so we have a couple.  First, neighbor Eli, who creepily spies on the girls but also offers friendly advice from time to time.  Next, we have Robin, another creepy neighbor, this time a female who is obsessed with Chloe.  Third, less wacky than the other two, we have Mark, June’s old boss briefly at her corporate job, and her new boss at the coffee shop at which she now works.

I didn’t laugh a whole lot.  I like the idea, and I think Krysten Ritter is well cast in the role, and I could see where the show was going with some of the jokes and gags.  But it wasn’t really funny.  ABC comedies seem to have developed a reputation for mediocre first couple of episodes, with the potential to develop into something still inconsistent, yet, significantly better.  Suburgatory and Happy Endings are two shows that have followed this model, and Don’t Trust The B seems like it could certainly fall in here.  It’s an okay show, with the potential to be better, and with comedies it takes at least a few episodes to see if a show can deliver on that potential.  Very few comedies are hilarious or fantastic right out of the rate, so while not being funny certainly isn’t a compliment, it’s not a definitive judgment.

Will I watch it again?  Yes, I think I’m going to.  It’s certainly easier to watch half hour comedies than hour long dramas, and while it’s certainly not great right now, I’ll see if the writers can find their footing with some good building blocks to work with.