Trust a bitch? The very idea! The title sounds like sound sassy advice for the modern urbanite but at its heart, Apartment 23 is an old-fashioned odd couple flatshare sitcom. Sparky girl next door June (Dreama Walker) flies in from the American Midwest to start a new life in New York and moves in with the worldly cynical operator Chloe (Krysten Ritter doing a good job playing the titular Bitch). Chloe is smoking hot and habitually uses people for her own ends but you know what? She’s fun to be around. Chloe, on the other hand, is temperately hot, always puts other people first and is dull as shit. So you know where you are with this sitcom. Two very different characters clash, problems arise, problems resolve, laughter flows and they both realise that being a little bit more like the other would do them good. June could be less of a naive rube, Chloe could be less of a trifling ho. It’s is a sitcom formula Apartment 23 reproduces pretty well. Awesome. Let’s go home and pretend focus groups never happened.
“Not content with its odd couple flatshare lot, Apartment 23 attempts to build a Frankenstein’s monster of a comedy from the component parts of other shows.”
Oh would that we could you time wasting semiliterate fucks. Because not content with its odd couple flatshare lot, Apartment 23 attempts to build a Frankenstein’s monster of a comedy from the component parts of other shows. James Van Der Beek (a.k.a. Dawson from Dawson’s Creek, a.k.a. the Beek from the Creek) plays himself as a washed-up version of himself, pals with Chloe and not massively dissimilar to the real-life Van Der Beek. So now we’re in Extras, Curb or Episodes – a post-modern meta com, probing the nature of celebrity and the depths of desperation a faded star will sink to.
But that’s not all. Peeping Tom neighbour, Eli (Michael Blaiklock) initiates conversations with the girls through his open window and theirs and quite apart from all his material being shite it looks and feels like he’s been Photoshopped in from a totally different show: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In to be precise.
“Apartment 23 is about female friendship. But it’s also about a pervert voyeur, James Van Der Beek and the dangers of comedy by committee.”Then it tries to get all edgy with sexual content which inevitably gets bowdlerised by ABC censors (check the bleeped out B**** in the title credits for a demonstration of that prudery). It faces a challenge a show with something of a cable ethic existing on a network will always face. Adult material simply won’t fly as NBC found out when dipshit morality campaigners targeted advertisers on The Playboy Club, a show that had not aired that they had not watched (when do those Philistine stoats watch anything?) ABC thus find themselves trying to fit a slutty party skank into a convent girl’s underwear and tears are showing.
I’m not saying comedy shouldn’t mix in different elements – it would be weird if it didn’t – but the clash between all these ingredients here is violent and there are at least 5 minutes in each episode where anything seems to go and people are not going to stay tuned to a show that feels like it’s channel hopping. Tonally it’s recklessly haphazard and that is anthrax to viewer loyalty. The show does have its moments but it has difficulty sustaining them and the distractions have a habit of overwhelming the comedically solid core.
So, Apartment 23 is about female friendship with all the warmth, fear and betrayal that entails. But it’s also about a pervert voyeur, James Van Der Beek and the dangers of comedy by committee. It’s also about to start on E4. Watch it and let me know what you think!¹
The verdict on Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23: What kind of soulless Hollywood skunk names their child Dreama?
Marks out of 10: 7
¹ If any of you shitbirds think I give a rat’s ass what any of you think about anything much less a TV show then you are even more colossally stupid than I take you for already.
Imagined: Wednesday 23rd May 2012