UPDATE: 10/17- All episodes of Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 are now available to stream through Netflix.
I’m not perfect, and I’m no snitch, but the final 8 episodes of Don’t Trust the B- In Apartment 23 have been unceremoniously dumped online by ABC.
Pulled from the schedule 11 episodes into its second season, Don’t Trust the B still had 8 episodes left which went un-aired. Typical protocol in such a situation would be to burn the episodes off on the network over the Summer, as ABC is set to do soon with 666 Park Avenue. In this case, as originally announced by star Krystin Ritter via Twitter a month ago, ABC has instead opted to throw all of the episodes up at once on Hulu.com, ABC.com, and iTunes (click on either of the preceding three to be taken directly to them).
Introduced as a mid-season replacement in 2012, Don’t Trust the B- In Apartment 23 centers on June (Dreama Walker), a Midwestern girl who moves to New York City for a big finance job only to have her new employer raided and shut down by the Feds on her first day. She has to take a job at a Starbucks-like establishment and move into an apartment with a complete stranger, Chloe (Krystin Ritter), whose bitchy exterior hides a further bitchy interior which hides the slightest inkling of a moral compass. Chloe happens to be best friends with James Van Der Beek, fearlessly playing a cartoonish version of himself in a career rejuvenating performance. The fun is seeing both the ways in which Chloe and James corrupt June and, conversely, how June helps them become better people.
Initially ordered for a 13-episode season in 2011, ABC failed to find a spot on its schedule for the show until April/May 2012. Prior to that point, ABC had withstood some criticism for the show’s title, especially since it also picked up the show GCB (Good Christian Bitches) during the 2011 pilot season. However, after tinkering with the title, briefly calling it simply Apartment 23, ABC opted to run with the full title and showcase the show with an abbreviated 7-episode season (even though 13 had been filmed) on Wednesday nights after Modern Family. In that slot, the show performed well enough to earn a renewal for 13 more episodes. ABC’s idea was to combine the 13 new episodes with the 6 unaired episodes remaining from the first season to form a potential 19-episode second season, an efficient method of filling a full season of programming at half the cost.
For its second season, the show was paired with the like-minded Happy Endings and moved to Tuesdays to take on FOX’s New Girl and The Mindy Project, two comedies courting a similar demographic audience. However, ABC blinked first in this head-to-head battle, deciding to hold off the premieres of both shows until late October. The move, the competition, and the delay ultimately killed both shows.
In an effort to gain the highest ratings possible, ABC decided to shuffle the order of the second season episodes and air the ones it felt were the strongest or easiest to promote, regardless of whether or not they were new ones or among the 6 holdovers from the first season. This is a move which works if the show, like most sitcoms, stays roughly the same in both premise and setting. However, Don’t Trust the B was trying to weave big storylines across each of its seasons, with Van Der Beek’s arc during the first season centered around his appearance on Dancing With the Stars, and June’s arc during the second season centered around her new job at a big company and realization that her best friend Mark (Eric Andre) has a crush on her. By intermixing the first and second season episodes, this meant that in a three-week span June could go from working at her new job back to working at the coffee shop back to her new job with the audience receiving no explanation for the discrepancy
This problem persists into the unaired episodes, as one of the first ones involves James having a crisis of confidence when his Dancing With the Stars opponent Dean Cain scores a viral video hit when he is filmed saving puppies from a burning building. Of course, in the episodes that had already aired we had already seen James complete his time on Dancing With the Stars with a hilarious meltdown on live television.
All that being said, I am glad to have the final episodes of what became my favorite comedy on television. In my favorite of the new Don’t Trust the B episodes (appropriately titled “Using People”), Chloe is revealed to be using her long-standing Alcoholics Anonymous group as an audience for her many hilarious drunk girl stories as well as a source for free booze (she helps the alcoholics part with their supply as part of their sobriety effort, but quickly takes the swag home to get drunk herself). Moreover, James has been called out by director Martin Scorcesce as lacking sufficient personal trauma to appear in his newest film. So, he uses Chloe’s AA group as a glorified focus group to help him gather stories of personal anguish to inform his role, clearly taking notes while talking to them with his sycophantic assistant Luther (Ray Ford) just as clearly recording the conversation.
Given the horribly middle-of-the-road new comedies just picked up by the major networks, I will deeply miss Don’t Trust the B and its brilliant flare for absurdist and dark comedy.
As for the main stars of the show, shortly after ABC pulled Don’t Trust the B from its schedule Van Der Beek and Ritter were each cast in pilots for new shows. Van Der Beek’s Friends with Better Lives was picked up by CBS, but Ritter’s Assistance is currently being re-tooled after NBC declined to offer a full series order. It is not immediately clear when we can expect to see Dreama Walker again, although she has steadily worked in both indie film and television throughout her career so she’ll likely pop up again soon.
What say you? Let me know in the comments.
- 5 Cancelled Shows We’ll Miss the Most! (starmagazine.com)
- Why I Trust The B in Apt. 23 (thepatrickk19.wordpress.com)
- Watch Don’t Trust the B – – in Apartment 23 Season 2 Episode 12 Online (tvmuse.wordpress.com)