Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23

Last season was supposedly the year of the female sit com invasion, i.e. women were suddenly no longer relegated to being the wives or girlfriends of the actual stars of television comedies and were now going to be allowed to be funny in their own right. (It's annoying that this even a thing, considering comedy greats like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin, who were all amazing and hilarious decades ago. Why is that in the 21st century we still have a bunch of dingbats insisting that women aren't funny? Why are so many female comics told they can't perform at comedy night because they already have ONE female comedian already? It's maddening and will be a giant contributing factor to my early demise.) Unfortunately many of these shows were the same old tired unfunny fare dressed up in a shiny new bow. And of course when these shows fail then executives can say, "Welp, I guess women really aren't funny. Guess that experiment failed."

One show that debuted last season had such an awful, misogynistic name that I despaired of it before ever seeing it. Called Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 it was billed as good girl has terrible, bitchy, woman hating female roommate and spends her time trying to minimize damage caused by said roommate. Instead it turned out to be a hilarious show that mocks many stereotypes and features a gutsy, freewheeling, sex positive roommate, who helps the protagonist shed much of what is weighing her down and keeping her from her potential.

In the pilot episode we meet June (Dreama Walker), a young college graduate who is off to New York City to work for a mortgage firm, a job that comes with a free apartment. (As someone who used to work for the number one mortgage related publication this made me roll my eyes.) But her first day in the office does not go according to plan. The firm goes belly up in a hilarious, chaotic scene and she finds herself homeless and jobless.

In desperation she answers an ad from Chloe (Krysten Ritter of Breaking Bad Fame), a much more sophisticated woman who appears to have the ideal apartment and personality. But she is actually a con artist who pretends to rent the room out and it's not long before June finds Chloe and June's fiance boffing each other on June's birthday cake. Oh no!

While this sounds terrible, June says it was the best thing that could have happened to her. (This is because June had no idea her fiance was cheating on her every chance he gets.) Now June has to build a new future, one very different from what she imagined.

There is so much I love about this series. I love that women are allowed to be sexual beings and it's accepted as a normal part of life, which is refreshing. In one episode Chloe teaches June that casual sex is okay, something that June hasn't even allowed herself to think about. June is now working in a coffee shop and is attracted to a boy with beautiful abs but not a thought in his head. Every time June feels attracted to him we see him from her perspective, in slow motion, with the song Good Good playing.

In the most recent episode I watched June, who has become friends with Chloe's friend James Van Der Beek, reevaluates their friendship when he is up for People's Sexiest Man Alive issue. Instead of seeing him as her buddy that brings her a peach smoothie every day he's suddenly the hot guy doing pushups in her apartment and giving her blue tubes, an expression that really made me laugh. You can watch that episode here:

I also very much enjoy the secondary characters. In season one (I haven't seen her in season two yet) Liza Lapira (who I have seen recently in Traffic Light, Dollhouse and Dexter) plays Chloe's ex-roommate Robin. She appears to be one of the forces behind the rumors that led to Chloe being called a bitch and longs to be reinstated as the roommate in apartment 23. Ray Ford plays Luther, James' assistant, who is adorable. Eric Andre is Mark, a co-worker of June's from the mortgage company who was canned the same day she was and later gets her work at the same coffee shop he runs. His comedic timing is impeccable.

But my favorite from the show by far is Chloe, who is played with verve and panache by Krysten Ritter. Ms. Ritter never puts a foot wrong. Her portrayal is vibrant and outrageous and she makes me wish Chloe was my friend too. Her corporate takeover of People magazine, which she accomplishes in about two minutes, in order to make sure James becomes the sexiest man alive, is the best thing I saw this week. Ms. Ritter and Ms. Walker are both doing great things with their eyes, much subtler than a lot of theoretically comedic acting that I see. Watching the two of them riff off of each other is one of the joys of watching the show.

The writing is fabulous, with much of the comedy coming from the terrific characterization. Each of the characters are at least somewhat extreme, so their interactions with each other and with the world are bigger than life and twice as funny. You can watch episodes from season two here:

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is both good and bad. It's good because it is super adorable but it's bad because it's hard to tear yourself away from it. (I confess that at one point I was watching it at four in the morning.) It's a kitten cam with four kittens and a mamma kitty who looks a lot like one of my own cats (mine are all fixed however so no fear of real kittens in my house). They have quite a few toys and are addicting to watch.