Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TV Tuesday: Don't Trust the B --- in Apt. 23 Moves In

When I heard that ABC was yanking "Happy Endings" from its Wednesday night 9:30 slot in favor of something called "Don't Trust the B --- in Apt. 23"  I was anything but happy.  But I watched the new sitcom anyway, as I'm wont to do (truth be told, I'll watch just about anything that would have once been accompanied by a laugh track).  And begrudgingly, I liked it.  Which was doubly vexing considering it took at least half a dozen episodes of "Happy Endings" to hook me.

"Don't Trust the B --- in Apt. 23" opens with June's (Dreama Walker) idealized entree to New York city.  Fresh from the Midwest, she eagerly tells us that she's turning 26 next week, and that her "life plan is right on track."  But all of that changes when June loses her self-described "Friends"-worthy apartment, her job, and, eventually, her fiance within a matter of days (or maybe it's hours; I don't remember the exact breakdown, just that it was quick and appropriately traumatic.)  Destitute and desperate, June interviews with a string of nightmarish prospective roommates.  So, she's ripe for the picking when she wanders into Chloe's (Krysten Ritter) spider parlor of an apartment.  All smiles and chicken satay, Chloe exudes the kind of gal pal charm for which June has been starving.  No sooner does June hand over her first (grossly inflated) rent check then does Chloe embark upon a flurry of escapades designed to make sheltered June squirm.  But Chloe shrugs off the shenanigans, rationalizing to confidante James Van Der Beek that she's "part of the great digestive system that is New York city." Yes, James Van Der Beek, a guy best remembered for wearing a blazer and a soulful expression on a boat in a creek that bore his name, is a character on this show.  "The Beek from the Creek," as Chloe calls him, plays a jaded, washed-up, womanizing version of himself that's light years away from sensitive, Stephen Spielberg-worshipping Dawson Leery.  Which is right on the mark for a show all about exposing the worst in people.

Or is it?  The punchline of this plucky pilot is delivered when we discover that Chloe attempted to bed June's fiance -- but only as a means of revealing that he's a philandering creep.  June and Chloe then go out for consolation-slash-celebratory drinks (it is, after all, still June's birthday) for which they don't pay, cleverly capturing the catch-22 that is Chloe's con artist-meets-crusader personality.  It's an old premise with a new edge, a formula that almost always equals crowd pleaser.  I can't wait to tune in tomorrow night to see what Chloe cooks up next!

Be sure to drop by next Tuesday, when I dish about TV b---s (hint hint) of a different breed.

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