April 11, 2012 at 10:47 am #242547
The series premiere of “Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23” airs on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 9:30 PM ET on ABC following “Modern Family.”
Stars: Krysten Ritter, Dreama Walker, James Van Der Beek, Liza Lapira, Eric Andre, Michael Blaiklock
The pilot episode is wonky and overstuffed, but the second episode does a better job of showing what a gem this show has the potential of becoming. Krysten Ritter is a stunning lead, and Dreama Walker (Becca!) is a strong counter to her. And James Van Der Beek FTW!April 11, 2012 at 10:58 am #242549
LA Times’ review:
TV review: You can trust roomies of “Apartment 23” to be funny
“Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23” starring Dreama Walker and Krysten Ritter is one of the funniest of the new batch of female-centric comedies, with a fine supporting cast that includes James Van Der Beek.
by Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
April 11, 2012
Despite its rather tiresome and typographically unwieldy title, ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23” is among the least raunchy of this year’s super-sized batch of female-centric comedies. It is also one of the funniest, which should make a point about the tantalizing though too often abusive relationship between shock and humor, and also the comedic value of the word “vagina,” which will never be as high as the various slang terms for the word “penis.” (It may just be a syllable thing.)
Not that “Apartment 23″is by any means G-rated; created by Nahnatchka Khan, it follows the adventures of two single and wildly different young women sharing an apartment in New York. So, this being television and all, plots are devoted to sex way more than they are to, say, political activism or even the establishment of careers. Conveniently, neither of these young women have careers because, presumably, that might interfere with odd-couple bonding and their sex lives.
In fact, the very idea of a career is treated with something like disdain. After a brief, voice-over-enhanced sex scene setting up the show’s twist, we meet June (Dreama Walker), a Midwestern MBA with Big Dreams and a life plan that includes a high-powered job on Wall Street. Which is quickly derailed by the financial crisis, dumping her on the sidewalk, as aimless and friendless as any young wannabe actress who ever took a bus in from the sticks. Searching for a roommate, she falls under the spell of Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a hard-as-nails party girl-con woman who sees June as the latest of a string of callow girls whom Chloe will strip of first, last, and security deposit and send back home.
Ah, but June has more spine than one would expect, and Chloe more heart, and soon they are just two gals with super-big eyes engaged in the push-me/pull-you dynamics that have fueled so many successful roommate comedies. Ritter’s Chloe is the big draw here, unapologetic in her dismissal of those who can’t put up or shut up. She is a modern-day, eye-rolling, punch-line-nailing Holly Golightly, down to the bangs and the admiring male friend. That he is James Van Der Beek, played by the real James Van Der Beek, who adds an unexpectedly delicious crunch to the classic good girl/bad girl swirl.
Following in the footsteps of Matt LeBlanc in Showtime’s “Episodes,” Van Der Beek plays a semi-reprehensible version of himself, fully prepared to don flannel and hum his former theme song if the girl is hot enough, while still attempting to escape his “Dawson’s Creek” fame. Even for those inexplicably unaware of the spell cast over millions of young women by the Beek, he is a fabulous addition to the cast, providing odd moments of insight along with a nicely layered running joke.
The rest of the supporting cast is just as fine. Liza Lapira (who will, at some point, need to get her own show) plays Robin, the former roommate turned neighbor who still stalks Chloe; Eric Andre is Mark, June’s new barista boss and fellow victim of the crash; and Michael Blaiklock is Eli, the voyeuristic neighbor who shows up for an early and unfortunate masturbation joke and, fortunately, stays to become a rather clever Greek chorus. The show mines the long-standing tension between those who believe in fate and those who believe in control while holding all strains of outrageous behavior up for both mockery and scrutiny. Let the madcap urban scrapes begin!April 11, 2012 at 11:07 am #242551
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23
(Series—ABC, Wed., April 11, 9:30 p.m.)
by Brian Lowry
Credits: Filmed in New York by Fierce Baby Prods. and Hemingson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producers, Nahnatchka Khan, David Hemingson, Jeff Morton, Jason Winer; producer, Chris Smirnoff; director, Winer; writer, Khan.
Chloe – Krysten Ritter
June – Dreama Walker
Robin – Liza Lapira
Eli – Michael Blaiklock
Mark – Eric Andre
James Van Der Beek – James Van Der Beek
Beyond its provocative title (and even that trails “GCB” by five weeks), “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” has a familiar feel, down to the device of an actor, James Van Der Beek, playing a jaundiced version of himself. That isn’t to say the show lacks charm, only that its irreverence and madcap energy disguises a conventional mismatched buddy comedy, which turned out pretty well for CBS’ “2 Broke Girls.” ABC has obligingly given the show its best timeslot, behind “Modern Family,” though as “Happy Endings” can testify, retaining those viewers can be a real bitch.
“B—-” is hardly the first live-action series to attempt to replicate the zany qualities of Fox’s animated comedies, but after a lot of teeth-gnashing exercises, it’s among the more successful. Perhaps that’s because series creator Nahnatchka Khan worked on “American Dad,” and the show exhibits a similar rapid-fire, almost scatter-gun approach to comedy.
Of three episodes previewed, the pilot is the least satisfying, perhaps because it has to go about setting up the series. Wide-eyed Indiana native June (Dreama Walker) arrives in New York to start an exciting new job at a brokerage house, only to have the firm implode (yes, another Madoff-inspired gimmick) on her first day. Desperate to find an apartment, and after meeting a number of freaks and losers, she meets Chloe (Krysten Ritter), who says all the right things.
As played by Ritter, Chloe is part psychopath, part Holly Golightly—a free spirit with a slightly sadistic streak. Her best pal, it turns out, is Van Der Beek, who is certainly game in portraying himself as an egomaniacal star clinging to past glory, both weary of “Dawson’s Creek” chatter and more than willing to exploit its fans’ adulation. In terms of amusing non sequiturs, the closest parallel would be Jennifer Grey’s turn as herself in an ABC comedy of yesteryear, “It’s Like, You Know . . . ”
Khan also punctuates the show with lots of little touches and pop-culture references, some funnier than others. In a subsequent episode, Van Der Beek teaches an adoring acting class using a subtle riff on Indiana Jones, while June refers to 11 years as equating to “600 Nicolas Cage movies.” On the flip side, a peeping-tom neighbor (Michael Blaiklock) in the adjoining building is one of those “Only in New York” cliches this “B—-” could probably do without.
All told, though, there’s a lot to like here, and even an evolution to the Chloe-June relationship that—the former’s eccentricity notwithstanding—borders on a budding friendship.
Although both employ a single-camera format, “B—-” and “Modern Family” don’t necessarily seem all that compatible, but funny is funny. And after a stretch where ABC’s signature half-hour hit has often appeared to be surrounded by Lilliputians, credit the network with putting “The B—- in Apartment 23” where it should have a better than fighting chance of finding a home.
Camera, James R. Bagdonas; production designer, Richard Berg; editor, Ryan Case; music, Daniel Licht, Erica Weis, Michael Cassady; casting, Lisa Miller Katz. 30 MIN.April 11, 2012 at 11:14 am #242552
Been looking forward to this all season!April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm #242553
Hollywood Reporter’s review:
”Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23”: TV Review
4/10/2012 by Tim Goodman
Airdate: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 (ABC)
Cast: Krysten Ritter, Dreama Walker, James Van Der Beek, Eric Andre, Michael Blaiklock
The Bottom Line: Strong ensemble, wit. and James Van Der Beek as BFF make this one to watch.
Krysten Ritter wreaks emotional (and sometimes even physical) havoc in this fast-paced and funny sitcom from creator Nahnatchka Khan.
A perception persists—dwindling but still lingering in a 52-week television season—that a broadcast series launched by a network in late March or especially April is being burned off. Not so with ABC’s surprisingly strong new sitcom “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23,” which premieres April 11. Yes, like ABC’s “GCB,” that B-word was originally “bitch.” The name may be clunky (what is it with ABC and bad show titles?), but the show from creator Nahnatchka Khan is fresh and funny, with fast-paced jokes and witty cynicism in abundance.
The b—- is the apparently evil Chloe (wonderfully portrayed by Krysten Ritter, who was so good as Jane on “Breaking Bad”), a New Yorker with uncontained confidence and an impressive ability to wreak havoc—emotional and sometimes even physical. Her new roommate is June (Dreama Walker), just arrived from Indiana for the perfect job only to have the company go down in a Madoff-like scandal. Chloe’s best friend is James Van Der Beek (playing himself), who is pretty damn awesome in this role, spoofing himself as well as the craft of acting. But if you’ve never seen “Dawson’s Creek,” a whole lot of jokes will go over your head.
Of course, one mean girl toughening up a city newbie isn’t enough to sustain a sitcom, even with an assist from Van Der Beek. That’s why “Don’t Trust the B—-”’s supporting cast is essential. Chloe’s world—which June finds “weird”—revolves around a coffee joint, the wonderfully named It’s Just Beans. June’s would-be boss is barista Mark (Eric Andre). Eli (Michael Blaiklock) first appears as Chloe’s pervy neighbor, seen only through her kitchen window, but by episode four—yes, you should get there—he becomes a favorite character with a full-on cult of personality. Slowly being developed are Liza Lapira as Chloe’s stalker/devoted ex-roommate, Robin, who lives down the hall and Ray Ford as Van Der Beek’s dedicated assistant, Luther.
Khan’s writing is strong, and the tone is loose but confident, though some lines come preciously close to “2 Broke Girls” (shudder). It helps that Ritter is magnetic, “JVDB” gets it, and Walker’s innocence cuts down on the snark. More often than not, the lines are clever and reflect the characters’ personalities, as when June asks how Chloe’s mom ended up in a wheelchair and Chloe replies: “I don’t know. I always thought she wanted me to ask, so I never did.”
Meanwhile, Van Der Beek nails his part, especially in one episode in which he laments that everyone sees him only as Dawson and not as an actor with range. He tweets that he’ll be performing at It’s Just Beans, and loads of people show up. After he reads some Shakespeare, a member of the crowd yells, “The Creeeeeeek.”
Van Der Beek complains in private to barista Mark: “What’s wrong with people? Why won’t they see me as something else?”
Mark: “So let me get this straight. All these people dropped everything to come see you. All these girls and that dude in the mesh tank top would clearly have sex with you. You’re rich, famous, and adored, but you’re upset that you’re adored for the wrong reasons?”
Van Der Beek: “Exactly. I walk a lonely road.”
Mark: “I made four dollars today.”
Van Der Beek: “Yeah, you’re right, I’ll figure it out.”
“Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” will no doubt surprise people put off by the title and others who are just looking for an excellent comedy. Let’s hope that ABC is smart enough to keep this one around.April 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm #242554
Review: ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23”
Odd couple comedy has appealing center, but needs some work.
by Alan Sepinwall Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012
ABC’s new “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23” feels familiar in many strange ways. It’s an odd-couple comedy, in which Dreama Walker’s sunny June is paired with Krysten Ritter as the wicked title character Chloe, but odd couples in comedy is a tradition that long, long precedes even “The Odd Couple” itself. What’s strange is how many incredibly specific ways it invokes some past comedies.
First you have that title, which, like ABC’s “GCB” this spring and CBS’ “$#*! My Dad Says” last season, tries to use the currency of a curse word in the title without actually using that word. (Though it’s used in dialogue in the pilot.)
For that matter, there’s the sense that this is another one of those occasional attempts (FOX’s “Action” being the best of those) to make a network sitcom that has the kind of edgy content—Chloe is fully nude (albeit pixelated) in one scene, and her across-the-window neighbor is usually masturbating just out of frame—that suggests a cable comedy.
Then there’s the presence of “Dawson’s Creek” alum James Van Der Beek in the part he was born to play, baby: “Dawson’s Creek” alum James Van Der Beek, who’s best friends with the B—- in Apt. 23. ABC had another Wednesday sitcom in the late ’90s, “It’s Like, You Know . . .” where Jennifer Grey played herself as the wacky neighbor, Neil Patrick Harris jump-started his career playing a debauched version of himself in the “Harold & Kumar” films, and Matt LeBlanc just got an Emmy nomination for doing the same on Showtime’s “Episodes.” (And the Beek, like LeBlanc, is beneficiary of a joke about how well-endowed he is.)
And because of its late premiere date, “Don’t Trust the B” becomes the last of many, many new shows this season to have its main character’s life ruined by some kind of Bernie Madoff figure (see also “2 Broke Girls,” “Revenge,” and, again, “GCB”).
So you have this odd couple body that’s been stitched together, Frankenstein-style, with a lot of quirky yet familiar pieces. And having seen three episodes of “Don’t Trust the B” (two of which ABC already made available online), some of it works, while other pieces either need to be dropped or improved going forward.
Fortunately, there’s a solid foundation in Walker and Ritter as the uneasy roommates. Each nicely embodies their respective stereotype even as they’re transcending it, where Walker’s just as capable of being crazy and ruthless as Ritter is of being vulnerable, even if it’s incredibly brief before Chloe goes back to a character who has, in the words of The Beek from the Creek, “the morals of a pirate.”
And speaking of Dawson, every time I worried that that particular gag was about to wear thin, the show’s writers (headed by creator Nahnatchka Khan) find a new way to tweak it, so it’s not just about Beek being propositioned by women who want him to sleep with them while wearing Dawson’s red flannel shirt. In one episode, he teaches an acting class at NYU just to prove he’s better than James Franco; in another, we learn that he’s the latest C-list addition to “Dancing with the Stars.” Van Der Beek has been a good sport about the nature of his celebrity for a while, and he proves a graceful partner for both Ritter and Walker.
But there are a lot of weird tonal issues with the rest of the show, which mostly aspires to be a live-action cartoon but doesn’t always pull it off. So most of the supporting characters—including aforementioned pervert neighbor Eli (Michael Blaiklock) and Chloe’s stalker ex-roommate Robin (Liza Lapira)—exist in two dimensions, if that, and it’s never clear whether Chloe is meant to get away with everything in a world operating by recognizable logic or one closer to Khan’s previous gig writing for “American Dad.”
There’s also the matter of how long the show can live up to different parts of its title. Chloe, it turns out, has been hustling prospective roommates out of rent money for years before scaring them away, and June is the first one to actually stand up to her. But after they reach a détente at the end of the pilot, the mistrust returns in the second episode, before a later one tries to flip things around by having June learn too much from hanging around Chloe. There’s a push-pull to this kind of duo, but it’s also tricky to have them stay friends without defanging Chloe and requiring a name change to “Trust, But Verify the Vamp in Apt. 23.”
I also found that, no matter what stage the friendship was in, I didn’t laugh out loud all that much at any of the episodes, though I was pleased overall by the leads and surreal worldview. With good raw material at the center, I’ll give a comedy time to find itself, and the third episode I watched was the best of the three. I just wonder about the viability on ABC for something this off-brand. I imagine this will be an even worse match for “Modern Family” than either “Cougar Town” or “Happy Endings” (even “Mr. Sunshine (Yay)” was a better fit tonally). In an ideal world, this is a big hit and becomes the anchor of a new comedy night featuring “Cougar Town,” “Happy Endings” and something else. In the actual world, I can see the average “Modern Family” fan turning this thing off less than 30 seconds after we meet the masturbating neighbor.April 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm #242555
Episode Title: “Pilot”
Synopsls: June, an optimistic girl from the heartland, moves to New York City and is forced to live with party girl Chloe after a string of unexpected life disappointments, including losing her new financial job, finding out that her boyfriend is cheating on her, and realizing that her new roommate has “the morals of a pirate.”
Discuss.April 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm #242556
A smarter version of 2 Broke Girls! Liked this a lot.April 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm #242557
Caught the pilot a week ago. Pretty fantastic. I think I’ll be in for future viewings.April 12, 2012 at 6:27 am #242558
This has definitely great potential. Krysten Ritter just needs the right role to get herself in the spotlight, and this might be it.April 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm #242559
I didn`t think the pilot was good or bad. It was just pretty mediocre overall. Van Der Beek was the standout in the pilot for me. I did like the “Varsity Blues” reference with the girl in the whipped cream bikini. I do like the cast, especially Ritter, and it would be nice to see the show succeed.
“Pilot”: C+April 13, 2012 at 2:41 am #242560
There was a bit too much going on with the pilot, and the randomness of Khan’s setups and so much exposition made the pacing wonky at times. But the cast sells this material so well, so I’m looking forward to seeing where they take things in the future. Krysten Ritter is great here as the “B.” This could be the role that takes her to the next level, career wise. She was Emmy-worthy on “Breaking Bad,” so I’m rooting for her to succeed the most. Dreama Walker is an effective counter to her. It’s nice range on her part that she’s as convincing in this role as she was as Becca on “The Good Wife” (miss her interactions there with Alan Cumming greatly). It’s a real 180 from June. And what can I say about the awesomeness of James Van Der Beek? He’s worthy of a nod to me, and he truly rocks it in the second episode. He’s already better than most of what Matt LeBlanc did in “Episodes,” even though the Beek is supporting in this role. I’ve become more and more interested in this self-parodying phase of his career that he seems to be in lately. Those hilarious “Funny or Die” videos, that Ke$ha video, and now this. I hope they work in that jeans commercial in here sometime soon (“Everyone loves a BJ”). LoL. Not sure what I think about Liza Lapira’s character yet and the extreme quirk surrounding the masturbating pervy neighbor guy. But with a dream team of Ritter, Walker, and Beek, this should be a fun one to watch.
Grade for “Pilot”: BApril 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm #242561
REally enjoyed this pilot. Krysten Ritter finally found her breakout role, hopefully this does well following Modern Family. Looking forward to future episodes.April 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm #242562
While I liked the pilot, the second episode is awesome. The level of narcissism and cruelty BUT with intelligence, charm and even empathy of Chloe’s has no bounds. She just became one of favorite comedic female characters on tv right now.
The writing for this has a lot of guts and and the writers has lot of confidence in the show’s voice (very impressive this early on), but still keeps it light enough for you to enjoy it and sympathize with the characters (even when they are as messed up as Chloe is on the second episode). And seriously, give Krysten Ritter an Emmy nomination already. That is such a great submission.
However, this was my particular impression from this, and I’ve seen people who absolutely HATED the second episode (just goes to show how they go for broke with that one), so no need to put your expectations very high up, because this could prove to be a very divisive comedy (at least for big network parameters). In fact, I’m a little surprised this show is paired with “Modern Family”. Who the fuck thinks something with characters this mean and so self-absorbed will find an audience after a show so safe and predictable?
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