Five episodes in, and Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23 is starting to embrace the wackier aspects of its personality, playing into familiar sitcom situations in the first half of an episode, until veering way off into left field about halfway through, whether its hooking new roommates up with parents, lying to Kevin Sorbo, or setting up fetish websites to pay for rent, the departure from sanity that took place in ‘Making Rent..’. There are still some things the show is struggling to work out, but the weirder it gets with its humor, the more distinct the show’s personality begins to feel.
Things begin fairly tame when June forbids Chloe from running another roommate scam (and dealing with a pissed off German stewardess who thinks she is coming home), and they decide to make homemade jam, montage style, to raise money for rent. Chloe sees this as an opportunity to build a fetish website, which doesn’t bode well for the production values of the jelly, of course. Faced with returning to broke parents in Indiana, she decides to ‘sell’ Chloe into friendship-like situations with Robin in exchange for rent money.
Like I said, about halfway through every episode of the show thus far, plots and characters veer off the traveled path about the halfway point, and ‘Making Rent…’ does so, without forgetting about its two main characters and what these advancements mean for the character. Another one of the strong points – and one not talked about much, thanks to the great performances by the three leads – of this show in its early stage are its finishing scenes, which show thought and care into developing the friendship between these two girls.
That final scene at Van Der Beek’s jeans party (more on that in a minute) was a nice finishing touch to the episode. When Chloe offers to pay for rent, June confesses to what she’s been doing, selling her company to Robin. Chloe’s not offended – she’s impressed, and a little surprised that June’s picking up a little bit of the money-making bug Chloe prides herself on. And that moment of friendship reveals something: June’s actually paying her rent because she doesn’t want to see her move out, which I’d bet is a first for someone like her.
It’s a small, short conversation, but its a nice way to humanize some of the craziness surrounding it, although these strengths do make the weaker surrounding parts a little more obvious. Eli’s still a very hit or miss character, and in some scenes, manages to do both. I don’t need Eli taking a massive jam bath, but the conversation with his grandmother, and his career as a health inspector (perfect for the friendly pervert) are funny touches.
Robin’s also still a very troublesome character, her obsession with Chloe clashing with the other fun aspects of her personality. For all intensive purposes, Robin’s steady career and income makes her a lot more stable in life than Chloe and June, though her mental instabilities at this point have offset this a little bit. We need more scenes like Robin talking in the elevator… you know, up until the point she opens the mailbag with the Chloe mouse pad.
(and Mark, once again left to some bad girlfriend jokes and a racist joke about Asians not being able to identify black people).
But all supporting characters are not bad: James and Luther are a powerful comedic tandem, and the slight tweaks to Luther are making him one of the better background characters on the show. Again, its still about finding the balance: Luther as the go-to man for JVDB is great (especially with finances), but I can do without the whole ‘trying to be a playwright’ career. They removed the overt attraction to JVDB and the overly obnoxious wardrobes, but hey, we’re five episodes in, right?
James himself continues to dominate his simple plots: this week, he turns tight jeans into more than just a hipster joke (although there is one, of course). He’s been impressive with his ability to play a parody of himself in a grounded manner, but not shying away from some physical comedy and great timing with his funny bits of dialogue. His plot is mainly background filler this week, but still more entertaining to watch than the painful conversations with Mark looking awkwardly all over the place.
So far so good (mostly) for Apt 23; ‘Making Rent…’ makes a strong case for the kind of tone the show should try and strike in each half hour, and if they can iron out some of the things on the fringe, this is going to be a fun show to watch throughout the end of spring.
- porn names are always easy jokes, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t funny. I do think How I Met Your Mother is the king of the porn jokes, however.
- “Put your cheeks in a Beek.”
- the montage joke was a bit overdone, but the scene after gave it a little bit of context. Knowing Chloe is playing it up for the camera will probably make it funnier the second time around.
What did you think of ‘Making Rent…’? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below!