One of the most underappreciated comedies in recent memory, "Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23" only lasted for a couple of seasons before the series exited (and didn't even finish the second season - unaired episodes were aired online and are available on the DVD set.)
The series follows June (Dreama Walker), an idealistic young woman from Indiana who has recently graduated from college and is looking to work on Wall Street. Shortly after arriving, she finds that the office she was going to work at has been shut down to a scandal. With no where else to turn, she moves in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter), who is effectively a, well, B.
Still, what makes the series as funny as it is is Ritter's performance as Chloe. The character could have been played as a straight-up B in the traditional sense, but Ritter and the show's writers really take it to another level. I think the character is not mean as much as bored and entirely self-centered. She's the cat and everyone else are just mice to bat around when she's looking for entertainment. She's pretty much a sociopath. She's caused plenty of other roommates to move out after a few months, but is rather fascinated by June when she shows she can handle the mind games.
Chloe is not being mean as much as she is finding entertainment for herself, whether it be a con, going to AA meetings to share her stories about wild partying or just walking into June's work and talking about events like they're at the apartment. Ritter's character has some nice moments at times and both the scheming side and sweet side feel genuine.
Chloe is joined by James Van Der Beek, playing James Van Der Beek. This may sound like a terrible concept, but the actor does a terrific job playing a version of himself that, despite a career that's wound down, he still thinks of himself as at the "Dawson's Creek" peak. Van Der Beek gets upset when Dean Cain gets a bigger trailer when the two compete on "Dancing with the Stars" and finds out that his "Creek" cast members don't really want a reunion - as for the latter, he gets advice from a rather fitting person.
Van Der Beek and Ritter are terrific together - while not as funny as "Absolutely Fabulous", "Don't Trust the B" does a nice job playing with the same dynamic - two spoiled, narcissistic adults are amused by a sweet, intelligent idealist. However, unlike most shows, the two spoiled adults never really learn anything or change their ways. It's too bad that the series didn't move to a channel like FX after it ended its run on ABC - on cable, the series could have really taken the concept further.
The series was created by Nahnatchka Khan ("Family Guy", "American Dad") and it's refreshing that, while the series has some sweet moments, it doesn't pull its punches. The second episode has Chloe introducing June to a new guy after she recently broke up with her long-time boyfriend (who Chloe cheated with in the pilot.) The only issue: the guy Chloe introduces her to turns out to be Chloe's father, and her wheelchair-bound mother arrives, suspicious.
Walker is terrific as June, creating a dynamic, likable character who is more than just the naive Midwestern girl. It's saying something that her performance is as memorable as it is - Van Der Beek is very funny and Ritter should have won an Emmy for her effort. Eric Andre offers a solid performance as June's co-worker and eventual interest, but the series doesn't figure out as much to do with Robin (Liza Lapera), one of Chloe's former roommates who still lives in the building and remains obsessed with her.
One of the best recent network comedies that no one watched, "Don't Trust the B" offers great one-liners, amusing plots and a fantastic performance from Krysten Ritter. Hopefully the DVD will see the series get the attention it deserves - and fans can finally see several unaired episodes.
• Season 1
1 1-01 Pilot
2 1-02 Daddy's Girl
3 1-03 The Parent Trap
4 1-04 The Wedding
5 1-05 Making Rent
6 1-06 It's Just Sex
7 1-07 Shitagi Nash
• Season 2
8 2-01 A Reunion
9 2-02 Love & Monsters
10 2-03 Sexy People
11 2-04 It's a Miracle
12 2-05 Whatever It Takes
13 2-06 Bar Lies
14 2-07 A Weekend in the Hamptons
15 2-08 Paris
16 2-09 The Scarlet Neighbor
17 2-10 Mean Girls
18 2-11 Dating Games
19 2-12 UNAIRED The Leak...
20 2-13 UNAIRED Monday June
21 2-14 UNAIRED Teddy Trouble
22 2-15 UNAIRED The D
23 2-16 UNAIRED The Seven Year Bitch
24 2-17 UNAIRED Using People
25 2-18 UNAIRED Ocupado
26 2-19 UNAIRED Original Bitch
Video: 20th Century Fox presents "Don't Trust the B" in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality was just fine, appearing crisp and clean, with nice detail and clarity (especially during the NYC exteriors.) No pixelation or other faults were spotted and colors remained accurate and natural.
Audio: The show's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation sounded satisfactory, with clear dialogue and crisp, well-recorded music.
Extras: Zip. A real bummer as a commentary or two from cast and crew would have been fun.
Final Thoughts: One of the best recent network comedies that no one watched, "Don't Trust the B" offers great one-liners, amusing plots and a fantastic performance from Krysten Ritter. The DVD offers fine audio/video, but no extras. Highly recommended.