Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Trust the B-- in Apt. 23 - review

A lot of the comedy pilots I've been watching lately have had a rather demented, break-neck pace. The writers and actors just hurl jokes and exposition at the audience, either in an effort to dazzle everyone with their comedic pyrotechnics or to shake loose the people who prefer a more relaxed show. Don't Trust the B-- in Apt. 23 absolutely fits in with that trend, and the results are both kind of endearing and a little exhausting, frankly. I like my fast-paced comedies as much as the next person, but at times this episode reached a kind of desperate pitch.

In the first 4 minutes, we're given riffs on the naive Midwestern go-getter (Dreama Walker as June), over-the-top sex scenes, attentive and self-effacing black doormen, the perilous instability of the financial market, and the unsuitable suitors montage. It's all funny enough (eh, except for the montage - I'm really tapped out on that trope at this point), but it's a lot.

At the center of this maelstrom is Krysten Ritter, a woman who you can tell has spent a lot of time playing the Sardonic Best Friend. As Chloe, she's very funny and almost fearless (I always love a woman who's willing to do anything and go anywhere for a laugh), but so far there's not a lot of "character" there. She's just a handful of diabolical lunacy at this point, and I sincerely hope Apt. 23 will take the time to flash her out into a real person sooner rather than later.

I cannot wait for the story behind this picture, though.

Somehow, it feels like there are already too many recurring characters. For what it's worth, Community didn't introduce people like Star-Burns and Professor/Student/Officer Chang until the second episode - the pilot focused on the core characters that comprised our favourite study group. Apt. 23 has already shown us the crazy woman down the hall who's obsessed with Chloe, the perverted restaurant inspector who seems to masturbate to everything Chloe and June do (hilarious...?), and June's would-be mentor-turned-barista in the local coffee shop. It's all very breathless and busy, and not necessarily inviting.

Diving into all of this with the relish he brought to James Van Der Memes is one James Van Der Beek. The Beek is all too ready to satirize himself, but while that's the bulk of his performance so far, it isn't all of it (thank god). There's a character behind all of the Dawson's Creek-and-subsequent-drop-off jokes, and weirdly enough that character rather grounds the whole episode. He's the amused voice of reason for both Chloe and June, steering them away from their more madcap sitcommery and towards something resembling a real female friendship. I'm interested I see how this will play out, since I imagine I'll tire quickly of Chloe being fiendish and untrustworthy. Actually, I'm not ruling out that I'll tire quickly of the whole show regardless, unless they calm down a touch and stop trying so hard. But I guess we'll see!

Also, I'm awarding myself 10 points for going this long without even commenting on that title. 


1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, the pilot was a little break-neck and breathless for my taste but I really enjoyed the show; I’ve been a fan of Krysten Ritter since her days as Rory Gilmore’s college roommate. As for the Beek, I never really liked him until I saw him making fun of himself in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and since then he’s just shown himself to have an amazing sense of humor. I think this is his finest work so far. I know I’m a few weeks behind but I finally had a chance to watch the finale. As a dad of two, a husband, and with a full-time job at Dish it’s tough to find time for TV. I loved being able to use Auto Hop though, which is one of the upsides of having to watch stuff off my DVR. It’s just so much more enjoyable without the constant interruptions of blaring commercials every eight minutes. Best news is I just read the show got picked up for a second season. Can’t wait!