This week, the second episode of ABC’s new Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 is called “Daddy’s Girl.” June (Dreama Walker, The Good Wife, Gossip Girl) is hesitant to let Chloe (Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad, Veronica Mars) set her up with a guy named Scott (Michael Landes, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, 11-11-11). But Scott turns out to be perfect for June! Except that he’s Chloe’s dad. And he’s still married to Chole’s mom.
It is hard to judge any series by its pilot, and having had the benefit of watching the first two episodes at once, it felt better to review “Daddy’s Girl” instead. Now the characters are pretty firmly established, and getting into the groove of what the show will be.
June is a good girl, a tad naive, but willing to stand up for herself. She arrives in the city full of hope, and the trials that confront her do not tear her down. Instead, she might freak out a bit, but she’s strong enough to rise above and keep going with a sunny spirit. In fact, June may even treasure the obstacles because they help her to grow.
That’s good, because Chloe is going to be June’s constant thorn in her side. It isn’t that Chloe is malicious. Well, she is, but only before she gets to know someone. Now that June has already passed that barrier, she gets to find out what being Chloe’s friend is like. And it’s not pretty. Chloe is self-centered to the point where she misses the obvious if it doesn’t directly concern her. Which doesn’t stop her from meddling with other people anyway.
In the case of “Daddy’s Girl,” Chloe is right that June and Scott will get along great. She would like her mother out of the picture, and has no problem interfering in her parents’ marriage, with the only goal being that it will make Chloe happy to not have to deal with Mom. However, Chloe doesn’t think through the ramifications, such as that June would be her step-mother. So good intentions, though only towards her own interests, go wrong for Chloe. And people hang out around Chloe because when she’s not destroying your life, it can be quite exciting to see the chaos she creates in her wake.
This dynamic is interesting and funny, especially because of the edgy humor. It’s too bad Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 doesn’t air on a network that can handle the content. One gets the impression that everything is toned down. It’s surprising that ABC even allows pixelated nudity! But by flirting with the controversial and not delivering, especially in the title and theme “song,” it actually makes the network seem rather unhip. Either ABC should go for a groundbreaking network series or don’t, but being a tease doesn’t serve anyone as well as it should.
Though watching June and Chloe is fun, the most hilarious character on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 is James Van Der Beek. Playing a version of himself, Van Der Beek sheds any of his remaining Dawson’s Creek image, and shows a maturity as an actor. It’s also awesome to watch him poke fun at himself and his situation in a meta way. Being plagued by his past, unable to escape it on the series, actually does the opposite for him in real life. Not to mention, he adds that special something to what would otherwise be an amusing, but not particularly must-see, show. Van Der Beek will be the fan favorite, and if the series gets a second season, he will deserve more of the credit than anyone.
Watch Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC.