I Didn’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 And Was Surprised When She Was Hilarious
By Alex Cranz
Raise your hand if you saw promos for Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 and saw the reliance on the Van Der Beek and the shying away from the word “bitch” and the whole “crazy whacky 20 something women” plot and immediately wrote the show off as a mix of 2 Broke Girls and that show It’s Like, You Know… where Jennifer Grey played herself and made fun of her nose job in every episode.
So Apartment 23–which is getting shortened to that because the real title is overlong and awful? Not like that! One. Not super racist like 2 Broke Girls. Two. Fewer sapphic jokes where they wink at the audience about lesbians but then talk about penis because they’re totally straight guys. GOSH. Three. Van Der Beek hasn’t had a nose job they can mock for every episode. In fact Van Der Beek is just playing an asshole actor, but I suspect they didn’t want to bother making a whole back story for their asshole actor so they just asked him if they could use his background and Van Der Beek, wanting a job, said yes.
The character is so loosely based on the actual guy you have to squint to see a resemblance which is fantastic. Less fantastic is how after the two episodes I’ve seen they’re still using his background as Dawson for 85% of his jokes. Bummer dudes. When they play up his other, and more fictional, traits he’s a fun character. When they have him quote Dawson’s Creek while college coeds swoon? Less fun!
Van Der Beek is just a supporting character in this farce though (and yeah it’s a farce and yeah that’s absolutely okay. Frasier was a farce too!). The actual stars are Dreama Walker and Krysten Ritter. Walker is June, a naive Midwest woman who takes a job in the financial sector in New York. Her first day there the business liquidates the entire staff and she’s stuck broke and homeless in New York City. Until an ad leads her to Ritter’s Chloe who is one of the most sociopathic leads that a show has ever been centered around. Seriously. I’m factoring X-Files and Dexter in when I make that claim.
She’s selfish, bizarre and more than a little mad and nothing delights her more than fucking with new roommates after stealing their money. Very little is off limits to her. She’ll bone a roommate’s fiance on the roommate’s birthday cake or set her up on the most ill advised blind date ever just because in her own worldview it seems like a good idea. She’s willingly oblivious to societal norms and lives so outside the real world that you’re sometimes amazed she’s lived as long as she has.
Walker’s June tethers her. She’s the straight woman to Ritter’s crazy act. That’s not always an easy feat. The straight man has the potential to quickly turn into the boring man. Especially in this show which rounds out its cast with the crazy lady stalker who lives down the hall and masturbates over Chloe’s furniture and the peeping tom who stares at them through the window and likes to offer dating advice. June is stuck at the center of this storm of madness but Walker’s a little quirky herself and never drowns under all the wackiness.
It is really rare to see a 30 minute comedy come out of the gate as strongly as Apartment 23 does. It’s clever, just crazy enough, and very, very funny. Between it and Girls April is looking to be a great month for women in comedy on television…at least white relatively privileged women (though Apartment 23 does have a fairly diverse and funny supporting cast which gives it a leg up on the lily white wonderment of Girls).