Friday, April 13, 2012

Pilot Review: Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23

Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 (ABC)
Premiered April 11 at 9:30pm

Here’s the latest show to have a word in its title that even its network doesn’t want to have spelled out, though it’s considerably more explicit here than it is in the veiled abbreviation “GCB.” This show’s main attraction is its star, Krysten Ritter. After appearing in a dramatic recurring role on “Breaking Bad,” she headlined the short-lived Starz show “Gravity” in which she played an incredibly eccentric suicide survivor. Here, she gets to play just about the most deplorably awful roommate and person ever to grace network television. Yet it’s made clear by the end of the pilot that she does in fact have some redeeming qualities, namely her ability to look out for her friends, even if it’s not done in the nicest of ways. It’s the kind of logic that comes from April on “Parks & Recreation” in relation to her nemesis Ann: the meaner that Ann is, the more April likes her. Dreama Walker, promoted from playing a manipulative high schooler on “The Good Wife” to full-fledged adult moving across the country for a dream job, plays the bubblier, less evil of the roommates, though after some time with June, she’s sure to become similarly depraved, to an extent. Liza Lapira, from “NCIS” and the short-lived “Traffic Light,” has a fun supporting role, and James Van Der Beek seems to be having fun as he becomes just one of the latest actors to play a less wholesome version of himself on television. The show needs some fine-tuning, to be sure, but once its protagonists bond and get to know each other better, this show might well become worth watching on a regular basis.

How will it work as a series? Based on the title, Chloe is going to do something horrendous each episode, which, by its end, should be explained away as a veiled nice act to protect one of the few people she actually likes. It could become tiresome, but I suspect that, like another ABC comedy, “Cougar Town,” this show will grow beyond its title.
How long will it last? The ratings were decent, and aside from the fact that this show isn’t nearly as wholesome as the three comedies that precede it, I think it could just work. ABC has had a comeback recently with its comedic fare, and I think this fits well into that. There’s no reason it would be renewed right away, but I suspect that a second season will get ordered at some point.

Pilot grade: B

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