Confession: I don’t own a television. Before you start throwing things, I’m not self-righteous about it. (I don’t think anyone with an affinity for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills can be. Camille forever!) I regularly have TV nights with friends (at their apartments, of course) and I think Hulu is one of the greatest inventions known to humanity. In fact, it’s how I discovered Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.
Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And now, in everything-I-love-goes-away news, it’s been canceled.
The plot: June Colburn (Dreama Walker) is a sweet, smart girl from Indiana who’s just landed her dream job on Wall Street. The firm puts her up in a swank apartment, and her fiance will be joining her. Everything’s rosy, until June’s first day of work when the firm shuts down due to a sketchy CEO. Her fiance? A cheater. And June finds herself living with Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a party girl with night owl hours, twisted morals and a best friend named James van der Beek (himself) who’s intent on reviving his career. Adding to the fun are James’ loyal, snarky assistant Luther (Ray Ford), June’s Wall Street colleague turned coffee shop boss Mark (Eric Andre) and nutty neighbors Eli (Michael Blaiklock) and Robin (Liza Lapira). Eli’s a pervert, Robin’s a nurse, and both are obsessed with Chloe.
There was so much I loved about this show. The sharp, quotable dialogue. The twist on the small-town-girl-makes-good-in-the-big-city trope. The fact that Mark is not a Nice Guy, but is truly nice. June’s naive optimism – that alternately served her well and bit her in the derriere – coupled with her Midwestern way of cutting through the BS. Chloe’s surprising complexity as a character. Sometimes she’s a complete terror, others, she’s likable and funny, and you often can’t predict which. For a traditional sitcom to have a multi-layered female character at its center, let alone two, is huge.
Oh, did I mention the creator and showrunner, Nahnatchka Khan, is a woman of color? That the writing staff was half female, which is almost unheard of in Hollywood? That the cast, for a network sitcom, was pretty diverse in race and sexuality but subverted and parodied stereotypes?
Despite Chloe’s outrageous, often consequence-free antics, Don’t Trust the B had a lot of realism too. June wore a dress from Target (that I own) in the season opener. One episode centered around the women possibly not making rent (June works at a coffee shop, while Chloe has no steady income). And in the last aired episode, June and Mark had a weekly ritual of watching a Bachelorette-like reality show while noshing on burritos. They had TV nights too! (For me, this moment was right up there with the season 1 Community episode where the gang got together to eat popcorn and make fun of B-movies.)
Let’s also talk about James van der Beek. This guy is a national treasure. Truth be told, though Dawson’s Creek was a huge part of my late adolescence, I was never a big Beek fan. (Pacey and Jen, however – yes! I still wish they’d get together.) Since Creek was canceled, he’s willing to lampoon his whiny late-’90s self at every opportunity. He’s got excellent comic timing and dry wit. As the Dancing With the Stars plot proved, he is also an excellent hoofer. And wow. Dawson has aged quite well.
So it is with ugly tears that I bid adieu to the B. I wish more people could have witnessed its awesomeness. I want a DVD set that includes the eight unaired episodes. And ABC, you’re on notice. You better not take away Happy Endings.
As of right now, you can still watch several episodes of Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 on Hulu.