For only being a thirty minute show, Apartment 23 can sure make us traverse the “loving it” to “eh” [and back again] feelings so rapidly. This show’s primary interest is driven by the “B****” in Don’t Trust the B****. Each episode has me worried that they are going to cross the line and make Chloe go from the show’s resident B to the show’s complacent “seeing-the-error-of-my-ways” roommate to June. Of course, my worries are not unfounded as, each episode, they almost cross that line more than once. Tonight’s episode was no exception.
As the past week has been following ABC’s Halloween line-up, this new episode did Halloween, James Van Der Beek style. For James VDB, this meant hosting his annual “Positivity Party,” as he’s too afraid of Halloween to celebrate it like a normal person. Mark (Eric André) takes personal offense to James’ fear, and tries to convince him that there is an underlying reason that he’s so afraid of Halloween. In the end, Mark reveals that it’s actually himself with the underlying issues – as he hates his girlfriend – and James’ fear is just that: a fear of scary things.
That said, their storyline isn’t the main focus this week. This week, the focus is on June trying to talk Chloe out of one of her many games, this time on guest star Ben Lawson, who plays Benjamin, the man who finally gets one over on Chloe.
Chloe, who selects a person to single-handedly destroy every Halloween – based on who annoys her most at the “Positivity Party” – builds up to the ultimate method of destruction after a year’s worth of prep work. Last year, Chloe targeted Benjamin, which meant that he was primed for destruction this year. Chloe’s game is to spend the year getting to know her target, eventually learning which exact button to push to force the person over the edge. Benjamin‘s “issue” is supposedly the fact that his mother left him when he was a child. Intending to use that against him, Chloe messes up when she – largely thanks to June‘s help – begins to feel bad for torturing Benjamin and trying to ruin him.
In a twist to end all twists, when Chloe admits to him that she has been playing with him the entire time, Benjamin flips the tables on her and reveals that it was actually him who was tricking her. He has no issues with his mother, they’re in fact quite close, but he knew all about Chloe‘s game and so he played along to attempt to beat her at it by forcing her to act out her worst fear. What, you ask, could possibly scare Chloe, the biggest B**** in the NYC? Living out a chick flick in real life.
When she arrives there, the two engage in a little power-struggle as each tries to outdo the other. In the end, neither wins as they realize that neither can tell if the other one actually feels anything for the other – or if they’re just playing their part in the game. The episode culminates in the two being separated [by security guards, who escort Chloe out for being caught with a knife - part of Benjamin's planning], but clearly setting the viewers up for a re-appearance for Benjamin at some point in the future.
In all, it wasn’t too bad of an episode – not quite as strong as last week’s premiere, but still with its moments. I mentioned briefly in the opening that the show is being carried on Chloe’s B**** status, and that’s still the case. I sincerely hope the writers don’t ruin that persona – either by June’s or a love interest’s hand – as that will force the show into a quick downward spiral from which not even James Van Der Beek’s hilariously fictionalized version of himself would be able to get them to recover.
You can catch the next episode, titled “Sexy People…” on Tuesday, November 13th at 9:30/8:30pm on ABC. The official synopsis: June is obsessed with PEOPLE magazine’s annual Sexiest Man Alive issue, though Chloe tells her she shouldn’t be such a sheep by letting others tell her what’s hot and sexy. To prove her point, and in true Chloe fashion, she swoops into the PEOPLE magazine offices in an attempt to put James on the cover this year. James is thrilled by the prospect, and now June suddenly finds him irresistibly attractive.