Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 - Premieres April 11; Fox Renews New Girl, Raising Hope and Glee for 2012-13


Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23

Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 - Wednesdays 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 9:30PM ET/PT

By Pavan

After a naïve Midwestern girl's big city dreams are dashed during her first week in New York, she finds herself living with her worst nightmare in this hilarious, contemporary comedy about a female odd couple who are surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters.


Cast Details:

* Krysten Ritter as Chloe
* Dreama Walker as June
* Liza Lapira as Robin
* Michael Blaiklock as Eli
* Eric Andre as Mark
* James Van Der Beek as James Van Der Beek

Krysten Ritter (Chloe) has crossed mediums with an impressive body of work in film, television, writing, producing, music and, recently, fashion design. Ritter is well known for her critically acclaimed turn on AMC's hit series, Breaking Bad, where she played Jane Margolis, a young woman who battles a history of drug addiction. The award-winning television series premiered in January of 2008 and will conclude with its fifth and final season in mid-2012. Ritter stars alongside Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson in the indie-comedy L!fe Happens, which she co-wrote and co-produced with director Kat Coiro. The film follows two best friends who have to maintain normalcy in their lives after one (Ritter) gets pregnant and has a baby. Ritter has also written and co-written several feature and TV scripts which are currently in various stages of development and production. Her film credits include the DreamWorks comedy, She's Out of My League (2010); the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer film Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), opposite Isla Fisher; What Happens in Vegas (2008), with Ashton Kutcher; and 27 Dresses (2008), alongside Katherine Heigl. Other television credits include the Starz dark comedy Gravity, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl. In theatre, this past summer Ritter was seen off-Broadway in Zach Braff's play, All New People, opposite Justin Bartha at the Second Stage Theater.

Dreama Walker (June) is best known for her recurring character, Hazel Williams, on Gossip Girl. Her work in this sitcom represents her first major starring role on a primetime network television series. Walker was most recently seen as a recurring character on the Emmy-nominated CBS drama, The Good Wife. She has also guest-starred on Mercy, Ugly Betty, Royal Pains and Law & Order, and played the lead in the Lifetime miniseries Seven Deadly Sins in 2010. On the big screen, Walker played the granddaughter of Clint Eastwood's character in the critically lauded Gran Torino, directed and produced by the legendary Eastwood. She also appeared in The Invention of Lying, with Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner, and just completed production on two independent films, Chlorine, starring Kyra Sedgwick and Tom Sizemore, and Compliance, opposite Ann Dowd and Pat Healy. Walker will next be seen alongside Jonah Hill in The Sitter, set for release in December.

Liza Lapira (Robin) began her career doing workshops and Off-Broadway plays with various theater companies. Lapira's first television series regular role was as Maggie, Oliver Platt's long-suffering assistant on the cable series Huff. Most recently she played neuroscientist Ivy on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and was a regular on the Fox short-lived comedy Traffic Light. She has also had recurring roles on Dexter, ER, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and NCIS and recently guest starred on Psych. Film credits include Tony Scott's Domino, J.J. Abrams' Cloverfield, 21, Fast & Furious and Repo Men. Lapira was most recently seen in Crazy, Stupid, Love, opposite Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon and Ryan Gosling.

Michael Blaiklock (Eli) was born and raised in Ashland, Massachusetts. A proud graduate of Emerson College in Boston, he began performing improv and sketch comedy. Blaiklock has starred on HBO's comedy Hung, Comedy Central's Secret Girlfriend and FX's hit comedy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He also co-starred in the Sony feature comedy Fired Up.

Eric Andre (Mark) performs live almost every night of the week. He brings a manic energy to the stage, combining autobiographical experience with experimental psychedelic rambling. Andre has traveled the country performing stand-up at clubs, colleges and festivals. His numerous television appearances as a stand-up include The Awkward Kings and Russell Simmons Presents Stand-Up at the El Rey on Comedy Central, and Lopez Tonight on TBS. In addition to his series regular role on this new sitcom, Andre just shot his own pilot, The Eric Andre Show, for Adult Swim/Cartoon Network.

James Van Der Beek (James) burst onto the world scene as the title character in the hit television show Dawson's Creek, a groundbreaking cultural phenomenon that ran for six years, established the fledgling WB Network, and is now syndicated globally. On the feature film front, he anchored the sports classic Varsity Blues, and subverted his teen idol image to great dramatic effect in Oscar winner Roger Avary's The Rules of Attraction, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel. Since the conclusion of Dawson's Creek, Van Der Beek has displayed an impressive dramatic range in numerous TV and film roles, portraying everything from a killer with multiple personality disorder in the two-hour Criminal Minds TV event; an FBI agent with an unshakeable moral compass in the independent film Formosa Betrayed (for which he and the film both won top prizes at the San Diego Film Festival); and an aging, balding former Mr. Teen Winnipeg on How I Met Your Mother. He was seen in the short-lived NBC medical drama Mercy as Dr. Joe Briggs, and completed filming the feature The Big Bang, opposite Antonio Banderas. Up next, Van Der Beek will be seen guest starring on the TNT series Franklin & Bash and of course as a series regular in this new sitcom, where he will be playing himself.


Pilot Plot:

We received three episodes for review! This review will be based on all three episodes that we saw.

#1 "Pilot" (Airs April 11, 2012)
June (Dreama Walker) moves to Manhattan for a dream job and the perfect company apartment, only to have them disappear in a puff of reality, thanks to a CEO from the Bernie Madoff school of embezzlement. Deep in debt and out on the streets, June scrambles to land a job and a place to live. It seems that her luck has turned when she gets hired at a coffee shop and finds Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a charming, vivacious roommate – but with the morals of a pirate. Chloe soon swindles June out of all her savings, but she and her snarky friend, James Van Der Beek (playing himself), come to learn that, just because June's naïve, she isn't stupid. June ingeniously turns the tables on Chloe, who is so shocked about being scammed herself that she decides to pull June into her colorful band of friends. Sure, it's all dysfunctional, bizarre and overwhelming, but so is New York City. And with the help of Chloe and the other oddballs around her, June might just learn the survival secrets she needs to make it there.

Guest starring in "Pilot" are Peter MacKenzie as Mr. Colbern, Eve Gordon as Mrs. Colbern, Tate Ellington as Steven, Adrian Kali Turner as Jeremy, Rob Yang as moving man, Nick Puga as Alan the cat guy, Rebecca Grant as Yolanda the pole dancer, Daniel Berson as T-shirt man, Clement Von Franckenstein as Mr. Buchwald, Gameela Wright as cop, BJ Clinkscales as policeman, Thushari Jayasekera as executive assistant, Dante Bonner as hot dog vendor, Helmar Cooper as doorman, Anoush NeVart as Mrs. Yilmaz, Armaan Juneja as young boy, Zitto Kazann as old man, Katherine Tokarz as Nicole, Tim Trella as stunt coordinator on-camera, Gary Lambert as rapper, Amee McKay as Rhonda and Daniel Hall as tuxedo man.
The episode was written by Nahnatchka Khan, and directed by Jason Winer.

#2 "Daddy's Girl" (Airs April 18, 2012)
Dating is awkward enough, but when you add Chloe into the mix, it grows tenfold, which June learns the hard way when she begrudgingly allows Chloe to set her up. Meanwhile, James decides to teach an acting class but can't seem to escape his Dawson persona.

Guest starring are Eve Gordon as Mrs. Colburn, Peter MacKenzie as Mr. Colburn, Ray Ford as Luther, Michael Landes as Scott, Marin Hinkle as Karen, Amra Silajdzic as Svetlana, Elizabeth Mercer as customer, Brian Konowal as drunk guy, Dante Swain and student no. 1, Foster Wilson as student no. 2, Maisie Pacia as student no. 3.
The episode was written by Nahnatchka Khan and directed by Michael Spiller.

#4 "The Wedding" (Airs May 2, 2012)
Chloe gets jealous when June and James starts doing things that she would usually do with James after she teaches June a thing or two. Kevin Sorbo is tricked into being a wedding date for Chloe, while James starts preparing for his gig on Dancing with the Stars.

Special Guest Star Kevin Sorbo as Kevin Sorbo.


Analysis:

This is the pilot that I was absolutely amazed by last May and it is finally airing! I've watched the pilot about four or five times and every time I laugh. It's sharply written, outrageous and laugh-out-loud funny. The pilot does its job of setting things up and still delivers the laughs. The premise is simple and effective. A nice girl (June) from the mid-west moves to New York City for a job and a company paid apartment...but the job suddenly goes under and June is forced to find another job and more importantly someplace to live until her fiance finishes his thesis. She finds a job at a coffee place, which isn't of course her dream job that she wanted. Then she looks for a place to live and after an extensive search she finds a place and loves her new roommate (Chloe). She eventually finds out her roommate is a... b---. And so the fun begins!

This show is not 2 Broke Girls, just because it has two female leads who move in together. That's about the only thing similar between the two shows. This show is much more clever and better written...and this show has James Van Der Beek as an exaggerated version of himself. James plays Chloe's best friend. There are Dawson's Creek (which James of course starred in) references everywhere. And they are funny. Van Der Beek pokes fun at himself and it really works. The rest of the cast includes Robin, who lives in the apartment and is a former roommate of Chloe's. She is also apparently in "love" with Chloe and that brings some comedic moments. Then there is Eli, another neighbor and has a window where he can see everything inside Chloe and June's apartment. Eli is like the new Pearl from 227, as he is mostly seen sticking his head out the window. Except Pearl wasn't a pervert like Eli. Another supporting character is Mark, who was working at the job where June was supposed to be working for. Now he is a manager of the coffee place where June just applied to. Can't have any gaps on the resume, Mark! Even after just four hours. Hilarious! We also have Steve, who recurs as June's fiance (or at least for now). I won't give anything away about the fiance, but I hope you like birthday cakes!

The pilot is just hilarious and has some risque moments that you'll go and say, "oh no, they didn't!" It's that good. And subsequent episodes are even better, if that's possible. We saw two more episodes (episodes 2 and 4) and they continue the surprises, fun and wackiness. It's like an adult cartoon (think Family Guy, American Dad) without the animation. I mean Van Der Beek does some video bits like a Vietnamese energy commercial and clips from a Guy Ritchie movie he did in England. It's so clever. The second episode airing, "Daddy's Girl," is something you'll get after the reveal. June starts dating again and Chloe sets her up with a nice guy (guest star Michael Landes). But who did she really set her up with? It's genius and has no cliches. Elsewhere in the episode, James is teaching an acting class at a college and all the students just keep thinking about Dawson's Creek. Seriously, Van Der Beek is great for poking fun at himself. The fourth episode airing, "The Wedding," is another great episode. Kevin Sorbo guest stars as himself as he is tricked by Chloe in attending a wedding that June and James go to, after getting jealous that those two are now spending quality time. I guess at some point in episode three, which was not available for review, they mention James will be doing Dancing with the Stars! On this episode, he is prepping for it (but no actual practices) in a funny way. I can't wait until those episodes air as Dean Cain will guest star as himself as a contestant on Dancing and also James' rival. Dancing pro Karina Smirnoff will also guest star as herself.


Conclusion:

This is comedy at its wackiest but even if Chloe is a bitch, you love her. She is very likeable, as is June. Chloe and James have such great chemistry. All their scenes together are comedy gold. Krysten Ritter, who plays Chloe, is the clear standout of this show and deserves many awards for this role. Everyone in this cast has something to work with and it comes out well on screen. There aren't many series regulars in the main cast, so you'll get used to everyone by the end of the pilot. There are many recurring stars or guest stars though. But that's fine since the show is set in New York and they are in many places in each episode, whether it is in the apartment or outside.

I hope no one turns away just because "B----" is in the title. It is a comedy geared for adults, hence why the promos in a hilarious way are saying, put the kids to bed after Modern Family. This show is not for kids, but teens and especially young adults will eat this up. Hopefully it has a broad audience and not a niche audience for shows like Community have. It will get sampled out of TV's highest rated comedy among adults 18-49, Modern Family. The show is getting great buzz and press so that will help for sure. ABC launched Happy Endings this way last year and while the ratings were not that great (it aired at 10PM though), the buzz was. And the show even has a theme song! I'm not perfect, I'm no snitch, but I can tell you she's a b----! Badada bapapa! Anyway, Apartment 23 is outrageously funny, offbeat, daring and strangely relateable! Krysten Ritter is going to be a huge star out of this! Forget Zooey Deschanel, we have a "new girl" in town on TV and she can take Zooey down! Saving the best for last: best new comedy of the 2011-12 TV season.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, April 11 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 Photo Gallery

    Preview:




    Speaking of New Girl, Fox has ordered a second season of the freshman breakout hit, a third installment of the irreverent family comedy Raising Hope and a fourth season of the genre-defying musical sensation Glee. Yes, this means all three series will return for the 2012-13 TV season. Raising Hope is probably the most surprising, but at the same time I am not that surprised. The other two shows were pretty much a given. Fox has not announced any other new early pick-ups for 2012-13 besides X Factor. The animated comedies and Bones will also be back.
    All-new episodes of Glee return to Tuesdays at 8:00 PM ET/PT, beginning tonight, with New Girl remaining at 9:00 PM ET/PT, and Raising Hope returning to its regular time slot at 9:30 PM ET/PT for its two-week season finale.




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