Every young friendship has its struggles in developing a comfortable, almost symbiotic dynamic. Any 20-something that went to college has both horror stories and loving memories of their roommates in the must tumultuous, stressful periods of young adulthood. ’Parent Trap’ is all about these kind of issues, fully embracing the Odd Couple-esque premise of the show in a wildly entertaining – if not completely coherent – third episode.
The tension of the episode revolves around June’s obsessive acceptance of responsibility, and Chloe’s absolute ignorance of the same concept. June’s first unpaid internship requires a ton of attention, and on top of her job and work drama at It’s A Bean, she’s hardly keeping her shit together. It’s a busy week for Chloe as well, when the UN General Assembly comes to town for a yearly three-day conference (and Chloe’s main source of income for the upcoming year). So – like any sane human – she adopts a foster child so she can have a free assistant during her busy time of the year. It’s a manifestation of June’s tendencies to take on too much responsibility, and Chloe’s instincts to be absent-minded, cut corners, and generally give off an aura of ignorance – certainly not an attitude conducive to motherhood.
Obviously, shit hits the fan when Chloe blows off the daughter, and June’s frustrations build until they’re fully absorbed into their fake-lesbian mothering lifestyle. It’s another over-the-top plot for an infant show like this, but save for a few awkward moments and rushed jokes, the episode’s quick wit carries it through some of its weaker moments.
Apt 23 is still on young legs, and is still tweaking the tone of its characters. Trying to balance out Chloe’s super fast-paced, self-centered personality without it becoming unrealistically insensitive is still proving a bit difficult at times, and there are still too many scenes with June’s eyes in full bug-out mode as she speeds through her dialogue. Her character’s type-A ness is a little over-played by Dreama Walker, and both her bug eyes and Krysten Ritter’s deadpan face need to be toned down a little bit, or it’s going to start feeling like its missing a laugh track (not a good thing).
The episode’s B-plot was another comedic showcase for Van Der Beek, who agreed to take a part in a body swap movie with the kid star from Mad Men (who was just awful in her scenes – very flat and practiced). First of all, his scenes with Luther are quickly becoming the funniest on the show. The do-it-all gay assistant isn’t terribly original, but their back-and-forth is hilarious, and gives us great moments like Luther reading scripts line by line to James (and taking off his glasses afterwards).
‘Parent Trap’ has a bit of a rushed ending, although its pretty funny, and fits what we know about Chloe’s craftiness and ability to maneuver delicate situations (when she isn’t too self-occupied to forget about them). I did enjoy that it left its annoying secondary characters in the background (Eli was not to be seen in this episode) taking a fun, quirky approach to its story.
- Notice how they snuck in references to both a Disney movie and an ABC show? Way to be transparent, ABC execs.
- the whole ‘girl stealing stuff at the coffee shop’ plot was a bit random, and didn’t really add much to anything.
- “I got slimed in ’04.” I’m loving the James Van Der Beek is past his prime jokes, but how long can they last? They definitely need to give his character some direction, and bring him into the fold a bit more now that we’ve established he’s an actor trying to outlive an iconic image. We’ve seen it before, let’s keep it to some throwaway jokes instead of continuous plot lines.
- I love their little throwaway jokes, like June’s eyeliner or the running gag of concocting lies from movies. “Sometimes I just need Hollywood to spell things out for me.”