More of the same.
Watching the season finale’s credits roll only a few months back, I found myself oddly satisfied with ABC’s newest comedy, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. While initially exclusively subversive of the often politically correct genre, ignoring the boundaries of appropriate by incorporating (pixelated) nudity and masturbatory sequences, the series’ pervasive themes actually amused. Some were relatively heartfelt. However, season 2’s premiere had me thinking not-so-happy thoughts.
The show’s first season offered a comically intriguing premise: Small-town girl moves to big city, gets dream job/apartment, promptly loses said luxuries and ends up living with an eccentric “hoe” she finds on Craigslist. Audiences were entertained by the unconventional Chloe (Krysten Ritter). June (Dreama Walker) was relatable, and her highly malleable character was certainly a cause for laughs. But these avenues have already been exploited. June went from confident college grad to self-conscious conformist, including a particularly enjoyable stint as a party-holic. What next?
As a writer, do you go through the same motions… again? Two possible answers were provided in “A Reunion…” Either the B team figured, “Yeah, let’s just put her through the same crap,” as evidenced by the self-loathing “my friends are all more successful than me” cliché, or they could have just as unimpressively decided on a tenfold increase of The Beek, conveyed by the episode’s questionable focus on Dawson’s Creek. And on a not-unrelated note, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to accept Chloe as Don’t Trust the B’s Confucius, especially when she’s raving about explosions and insidiously manipulating her (ahem) “friends.”
Understandably, the outlandish comedy sought to find its form through absurdity as it recalled the ridiculous days of television’s past, but “A Reunion’s” slow progress and few funny instances left this grand opportunity squandered. Thankfully, writer/creator Nahnatchka Khan brought in some familiar faces to lift (some of) the burden, seeing as James Van Der Beek’s charmingly vapid persona can only provide so much comic relief. In fact, the removal of Frankie Muniz and Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s quirky cameos would have rendered the episode totally forgettable. Well, that’s not completely true; Chloe’s tranquilizer gun and successive “trang”-related comments were pretty hilarious. Unfortunately, I found myself wanting to be similarly unconscious halfway through the showing. Anything is better than watching fictional characters, who are actually handsomely paid actors, complain about their lives.
Really, James and June, your life “was better 10 years ago”? Well, so was my outlook on television.