Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23

Lazlo’s Clicker: Don’t Trust The B In Apt. 23, 2 Broke Girls, Covert Affairs Finale

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by •November 24, 2012 •Movies & TVComments (0)364

HIGHLIGHTS

After a very successful 7 episode run in its first season, Don’t Trust The B in Apartment 23 is back for a full season 2.  Specializing in wild, over the top characterizations and plotlines, this show is inventive and always very, VERY funny.

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Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23
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Leading the way, as Chloe (the titular B) is multi-talented and striking Krysten Ritter, who is clearly having a ball.  Chloe is supremely confident, morally bankrupt, and an avowed hedonist, which leads to great sitcom setups like her history of picking a “victim” every Halloween and spending an entire year insinuating herself into their lives, only to prey on their worst fear at the end, or showing up at People magazine and simply pretending to be in charge, and having the entire staff begin following her orders without question.  It’s a dream role, and Ritter is more than up to the task.

Playing Chloe’s foil June is Dreama Walker, who somehow manages to fulfill the herculean task of holding her own in the wake of Chloe’s divine madness.  Walker not only keeps the character from getting swallowed whole, she successfully crafts a nice-girl-on-the-outside/freak-on-the-inside character who sometimes out-Chloes Chloe.  The pair of them are a riot.

James Van Der Beek continues to excel playing fictional James Van Der Beek, a vacuous, egomaniacal attention whore.   I bet playing the douchebag version of yourself is a lot of fun and it certainly looks like Van Der Beek relishes every scene.  Eric Andre also fills in nicely as June’s hipster boss who tries to offer her sage counsel.

Eric Andre and James Van Der Beek

Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23, James Van Der Beek, Eric Andre

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Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 breaks plenty of rules, but always keeps the mayhem campy, over the top and relatively good natured.   The show is consistently funny and seems to have no shortage of new ideas about what kind of trouble its leads can get into next.

I TEND TO think of 2 Broke Girls as the Little Sitcom That Could.  With no big name stars, and no grand design story or agenda, the show contentedly and consistently delivers its own brand of edgy and raunchy hit or miss humor, oblivious to occasional complaints from critics.

The show’s strengths have never changed.  It’s pair of female leads (Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs) are both terrific comedic actresses and have some of the best chemistry of any two sitcom characters on TV.   The writing succeeds in scoring laughs every episode, although the show’s seeming obsession with pushing the envelope results in some clunkers as well.   The show’s most glaring weakness, it’s pathetic underdevelopment of ancillary characters, has improved a bit in Season 2, although it’s still not where it needs to be.

Dennings & Behrs, with Chestnut the horse

2 Broke Girls, Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs, Chestnut

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It turns out, however, that audiences are perfectly happy to watch two terrific comediennes deliver five good jokes for every two bad ones, and aren’t overly concerned if the show is taking a very circuitous route towards any bigger long-term story.  This is a slice-of-life comedy with a relatively high tolerance factor, which, in an era of “serious” comedies (Seriously, comedies?  Serious comedies?), quirky comedies and zany comedies, actually gives it a nice little niche in the sitcom market.   2 Broke Girls’ solid ratings performances are even more impressive considering that its 8:00 lead in is a faltering and fading favorite (How I Met Your Mother) and its 8:30 lead in (Partners) has already been canceled and routinely loses a big chunk of the shrinking HIMYM audience.

I also have to sing the praises of Beth Behrs, who’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite actresses on television.  Kat Dennings is terrific, don’t get me wrong, but Kat has it easy here, playing the prototype mouthy wise-cracking Max.   Behrs, by contrast, has crafted a unique character.  Her rich-fish-out-of-water Caroline is part ditzy blonde, part cockeyed optimist and part straight-man for Max’s zingers but also gives as good as she gets.  Behrs allows Caroline to defy definition by constantly shifting gears, resulting in a character who draws laughs when we weren’t expecting them.

I’ve said it a dozen times:  the first (and perhaps ONLY) measure of a good sitcom is whether it’s funny.  2 Broke Girls is funny a LOT more than it isn’t, and it’s loveable loser lead characters represent a different kind of grin and bear it female empowerment than the preachy, unfunny kind you see on other shows.   And there’s something to be said for a cast that looks like it’s having a lot of fun.  After all, this is COMEDY.  It’s supposed to be fun.

SOMETIME LAST SEASON, Covert Affairs ran a “teaser” for the following week’s episode that made it look as if Annie (Piper Perabo) and Auggie (Chrisopher Gorham) were going to hook up.  Don’t do it, I urged, even though I was fairly certain this was one of those teasers that shows you something that isn’t really going to happen or, at least, that is going to happen in a completely innocuous context, and that was the case.

But that was then, specifically, Season 2, when Auggie and Annie were friends and co-workers, and Annie was still green enough that Augie held a quasi mentor’s position in her life.  It would have seemed and felt wrong.  This is now, now being the season finale of Season 3, a season that has taken Covert Affairs in general, and these two characters in particular, down a very dark and violent path.

This season saw Annie watch the only family she has – her sister and nieces, move away, had Annie transferred out of her unit, thus straining the relationship between she and her mentor Joan (Kari Matchett) and putting some distance between her and Augie.  Annie watched a colleague get blown to bits right in front of her, was betrayed by Lena (Sarah Clarke), a senior agent she trusted, who also murdered Annie’s lover (Richard Coyle) and then shot her.  Annie got revenge, but forfeited a part of her soul in the process, hunting down and killing Lena and winding up in a Russian prison before being sprung by Mossad buddy Eyal (Oded Fehr).  Auggie’s year wasn’t quite as bad, but he did get dumped by his fiance and have a semi-melt down that cost him his promotion at the CIA.

What’s next for Auggie (Gorham) and Annie (Perabo)?

Covert Affairs, Christopher Gorham, Piper Perabo

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Against this backdrop, Annie+Auggie seems right.  These two characters have been through hell, and have been abandoned on many fronts, finding themselves very much alone except for each other.  The one constant both Annie and Auggie have been able to count on has been each other’s friendship and support.  Taking the relationship to the next level is what logically follows.

As for Covert Affairs, Season 3 was a major action rollercoaster that was crammed, perhaps TOO crammed, with constantly building suspenseful storylines.  While Season 3 certainly upped the stakes, I am hopeful that Season 4 trades just a little non-stop action for some carefully planned out dramatic tension.  How about giving Annie a mission that takes a whole season to resolve, or at least more than one or two episodes?  There is certainly a good starting point, as Season 3 concluded with recently released Henry Wilcox getting her to agree to look at a mysterious file that we’ll find out more about in the summer when the show returns.

And what about Annie and Auggie?  Gorham and Perabo have plenty of onscreen chemistry, and like I said, the time for their coupling is right.  Moreover, this storyline will be interesting whether the relationship lasts or whether it doesn’t.  The latter possibility, which would put Annie and Auggie’s friendship and work relationship to the test, might even be more interesting in the long run.  Again, we’ll have to wait for summer, when Season 4 will tell us the answers.

QUICK TAKES

Presumably, you weren’t too fond of 666 Park Avenue, but possibly The Last Resort or Partners were growing on you.  Either way, they’re all gone, as ABC and CBS have already announced that they’ve been canceled.  More shows are sure to follow.  Stay tuned.  Or not.

Parenthood already has a large, talented ensemble cast, but here’s hoping that they keep Matt Lauria, playing troubled combat veteran Ryan, around for a while.  Ryan’s growing relationship with Amber (the sensational Mae Whitman) is one of the more moving storylines on the show, and watching these two flawed and damaged characters reaching for each other is really something to see, especially in the hands of the gifted actors playing them.

Educational TV.  Things we learned from watching TV this week: 1) Reading Dr. Seuss books out loud is really f**king hard (Dexter); 2) You can’t fail on Lifetime Movie Network.  If you’re on Lifetime Movie Network, you’ve already failed (Chelsea Lately); 3) If you’re already a mess, put on a tight dress, ditch your underwear and be a Hot Mess (The Mindy Project).

So many shows have taken dark turns this season, and Boardwalk Empire  is one of them, but Boardwalk Empire has managed to reposition itself as a fairly violent crime drama without losing any of its charm, dramatic power, authenticity and humor.   But don’t doubt the show’s criminal cred at this point.  Said another way, “What’s in the BOX?!”  Holy God!

Is there anything better than when a show meticulously begins to draw all of its many threads together?  This week’s Walking Dead had Merle (Michael Rooker) learning that his brother is still alive and taking Glenn and Maggie (Steven Yuen and Lauren Cohan) prisoner.  Daryl (Norman Reedus) mercifully found Carol (Melissa McBride) still alive and, best of all, Michonne (Danai Gruria) backtracked to the prison where she came face to face with Rick (Andrew Lincoln), thus setting up the clash of storylines the season has been building to.  Can you wait ‘til next week?  I can’t.

It’s hard not to be a fan of Jennifer Lawrence’s acting, as the versatile star has shown tremendous range in a variety of movies, and all at a relatively young age.  But it’s impossible not to be a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, average girl from Louisville, Kentucky.  On numerous talk show appearances, including Letterman this week, Lawrence displays an irresistible mix of self-deprecating humor and earnest middle class everygirl charm that makes you want to root for her.  Let’s hope Hollywood never spoils this fun and engaging actress.

LOOKING AHEAD

The series premiere of Marvin Marvin will air on Teen Nick on November 24.

Liz and Dick airs on Lifetime on November 25.

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas will air on ABC on November 27.

The SNL Christmas Special will air on NBC on November 28.

The season 2 premiere of The Hour will air on BBC America on November 28.

Patton Oswalt guest stars on Burn Notice on USA on November 29.

TV’s a big place and I haven’t been to all of it yet.  Got a favorite show you’d like me to comment on?  Post a comment below, contact me on twitter @RobLazlo. or shoot me an email:  RobNJ564@yahoo.com.  I welcome your input!

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