“Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23″: the Next Cougar Town?

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The only premiere of note happening on TV tonight is for the extremely awkwardly titled new ABC comedy Don’t Trust B—- In Apartment 23. Despite the ridiculous, annoying title, the show is actually getting pretty strong buzz from TV critics who have seen the first three episodes of the show which were screened for them, two of which are available for the general public to see on ABC’s website and Hulu. In that respect, it’s being likened to ABC’s other surprisingly critically acclaimed comedy, Cougar Town, as being another member of the ridiculous, annoying name/surprisingly good show club.

Despite being in essence yet another young girls trying to make it in the big city sitcom, the show has a number of hooky elements. Foremost among them, at least for “quality TV” nerds like myself, is that the lead is Krysten Ritter, best known for her brilliant, heartbreaking portrayal of Jane Margolis, Jesse Pinkman’s short-lived girlfriend on Breaking Bad. In fact, ABC seems to want to pitch the show directly to Breaking Bad fans.  The main promo for the show ends with an inside joke about her role on the show (wait for the stinger with Bryan Cranston at the end.)

The other hooky element of the show, especially for younger Gen-Xers/older Millennials is that aside from the two female leads played by Ritter and Dreama Walker, the most prominent role is James Van Der Beek playing himself. (Why there hasn’t been anything this meta on a sit-com since Jennifer Grey playing herself on the short-lived “Seinfeld in LA” sitcom It’s Like You Know . . .) Van Der Beek (“the Beek from the Creek”, JVDB etc.) has pretty much been a human meme making fun of his own inability to escape the shadow of Dawson Leery for some time so those jokes could get old fast, but apparently the Van Der Beek/Dawson’s Creek material manages to be pretty funny in the pilot.

ABC is giving tonight’s pilot the coveted post Modern Family spot so apparently they have high hopes for the show. (With this show and GCB maybe juvenile avoidance of “the b word” is a new programming strategy for ABC?) Here’s a link to the very positive AV Club review of the pilot, the most positive review of a new comedy pilot I’ve seen in awhile. I may do a short review/recap after watching the pilot tonight.



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