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ABC's new 'Don't Trust the B----' is a raunchy, fresh delight

ABC

By Kelly Etz, Daily TV/New Media Editor
Published April 10, 2012

There’s always that one actor: The one stuck playing the best friend or the obnoxious bitch, who never quite manages to pull themselves up to protagonist status. The one who, every time you see them on screen, you invariably shout “Give that girl her own show already!”

Krysten Ritter is that actor. She’s done stints on “Veronica Mars,” “Gossip Girl” and “Breaking Bad.” You probably saw her in the background of a myriad of B-movie romantic comedies — “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” “What Happens in Vegas.” She’s the one who will pop up as a minor character and have you going “Oh, it’s that girl!”

Well, here’s her moment. “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” is all about Ritter, or should we say Chloe, the roommate from hell. The one who sleeps with your fiancé on your birthday cake. Who stashes illicit drugs in her dead nana’s ottoman (“You can love grandma’s ottoman and still want to make money on pills”). Who sets you up with her (still married) father. Who’s somehow best friends with James Van Der Beek — wait, that part is actually pretty stellar. We love you, Dawson!

Ritter was made for this role. She shoots her mouth off with poised charisma, delivering one-liner gems as easily as she downs a tequila shot. Each line of the quippy dialogue has Ritter flashing a mean streak and a sparkling smile — or just plain flashing the audience while eating her yogurt and chatting with the pervert next door. She pulls off Chloe more deftly than James Van Der Beek plays, well, James Van Der Beek. And that’s saying something.

Van Der Beek is the second stunning highlight of the show, simultaneously laughing at himself and giving what might prove to be the most prolific performance of his career, excluding that awkwardly gorgeous, flannel-wearing 15-year-old from Capeside, of course. Van Der Beek has made an art out of monopolizing on the past — both in the show and in real life — and we love him all the more for it.

June (Dreama Walker, “Gran Torino”) pales in comparison to the other stars, though it’s through no fault of her own. She plays the innocuous, peppy innocent with no reason for complaint, but there’ve been way too many “girl from the Midwest trying to make it in the big city” storylines for June to merit much praise. However, June’s a necessary foil for Chloe, and thankfully she’s left much of the “aw, shucks” attitude back home in Indiana, managing to convey the character as more quirky than tired.

With smile-inducing lines at every turn, “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” is the freshest spark in the midseason lineup. ABC picked up the sitcom for 12 episodes so far, two of which have already debuted on Hulu. It may be slow going at first for the breezy comedy, with an awkward mid-April start and the likelihood of an abbreviated first season. But “Don’t Trust the B----” has all the elements of a comedic success, and with Ritter at the helm (finally!), the series can do little wrong.


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