I’ll write about my other favorite but cancelled sitcom, Happy Endings, at a future date, since its fate was seemingly at least pondered a bit before the axe fell. However, for now, let’s focus on the titular B of this entry, even though both shows probably suffered from the same problem.
That issue – Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 is a stupid name. Yes, it’s appropriate given the show and its content, but it’s a name that doesn’t make it easy to endorse to your friends. “Gimmick” names seldom work for primetime shows – Most of the successful ones are short and not too cute, whether it’s Seinfeld or Friends or Cheers or Modern Family or *shudder* 2 and a Half Men.
So, it’s not surprising to me that the show didn’t catch on, and I’ll lay the primary problem at the feet of its name. Just call it Apartment 23 instead and I bet it gets to a third season. Looking past the name problem, I’m left with two content “problems” that I didn’t really find to be problems, thanks to the demographic I’m in.
Firstly, a lot of the humor is narrow and aimed at people who grew up in the 1990s and 2000s. For example, you weren’t going to get a Journey reference on Don’t Trust The B – you were much more likely to get Natalie Imbruglia. The whole character of James Van Der Beek, while hilarious on its own, does rely a bit on you buying into his past as a famous actor on Dawson’s Creek. While I’m not opposed to that, I also realize that sitcoms pitched at people primarily younger than 40 tend to fail quickly.
Secondly, the most consistent “tone” of the show is biting snark. There weren’t many sweet moments on the show, to the point that two recurring characters had obsessions with stalking and peeping on Chloe (Krysten Ritter) and June (Dreama Walker). To be fair about this, it could have been that they needed to switch from Liza Lapira to Michael Blaiklock for acting reasons, but still, I probably would have been OK without a stalker character in the first place.
I didn’t view any of this as a serious impediment to my watching, but I do understand why other people weren’t big fans of the show. I found the chemistry of Ritter, Walker and Van Der Beek to be quite charming though, and the people in other roles – like Eric Andre as the wet blanket Mark and Ray Ford as James’ assistant Luther – were serviceable enough, if nothing special.
The show unfortunately ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, as James finds out his real father isn’t actually Richard Dean Anderson. Unlike with Happy Endings, there has been absolutely no talk of the show continuing on in some form, so I guess we’ll never find out.
Bizarre tangent – For unknown reason, political blogger Steve Sailer has a weird deep dive on the show, where he notes that Luther and Mark are actually covert commentaries on the sacred cows of the liberal media, Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. He then notes that he’s the only person who’s been able to notice this, and also likens the show to Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. This strikes me as wonderfully insane theories, kind of like the stuff featured in Room 237, but good for him.
For more wonderful Chloe / Ritter GIFs, go here.