May 21, 2012

Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23: "The Wedding"


Four episodes in and Apt. 23 finally seems to be finding its groove. “The Wedding” isn’t a great episode of television, it’s not even the best episode yet (that would still be “Daddy’s Girl”). After this half-hour with the characters, though, I’m feeling much more confident with the show, especially where the leads are concerned.

The problem with “The Wedding” is in its formulaic structure. Whereas the last few episodes would close out an act with something terrible that Chloe has done, these acts end with more generic cliffhangers. The plot itself, where Chloe tries to give June more confidence, thus turning her into a monster, has been done numerous times, and Apt. 23 doesn’t really play with the tropes here at all. When June is reminded of her cheating ex, Chloe takes her out and shows her how to exude strength. June and James Van Der Beek end up becoming very good friends because of this, which leaves Chloe jealous. To get back at June, she fails to inform her that Steven, said cheating ex, will be attending a mutual friend’s wedding. Once at the wedding, June almost hooks up with Steven, only to find out that he has a serious girlfriend. Steven claims that he cheated on June because she was boring, which topples the tower of confidence that June has become.

This sets up for yet another “bonding” moment between June and Chloe, but this time it actually rings true. It’s not that the show earned the moment; rather it seems to have found the right dynamic between the characters. They work well coming from a sibling-esque angle, rather than an “odd couple” one. The show emphasizes that these two characters may be different, but they care about one another. Obviously either one can leave at any time, so they aren’t forced together by anything more than the strange bond that they’ve built. They may squabble, but they have each other’s backs in a very sisterly way.

James doesn’t have much to do this week besides assist in the main plot, though I do hope his Dancing With the Stars exploit continues. There’s a lot of material there, and hopefully we’ll soon get an episode fully devoted to the man from Dawson’s Creek. He’s growing into his role more and more every week, and while he hasn’t had to do anything other be funny so far, I feel like he’s capable of quite a bit more.

The episode is sadly missing Mark, whom readers will know I am quite fond of, but we do get to see more of Eli, the pervert neighbor. It turns out that he’s the lead singer for a wedding band, who just so happens to be playing in the titular wedding. Eli’s really growing on me, as he’s given more to do each episode. I do hope the show utilizes its supporting cast in the long run.

“The Wedding” may not be a great episode of television, but it is a big step in the right direction. The characters are becoming slightly more nuanced, and more importantly, so are their relationships. We’re starting to see the world of Apt. 23 colored in, and I’m hoping that trend continues through the end of this short debut season.

Grade: B-

Miscellaneous:

  • I didn’t have room to mention it above, but Kevin Sorbo’s cameo was really pretty great. I hope the show continues to bring on guest stars playing themselves. My ultimate hope is that Bryan Cranston stops by, and the show has some meta-fun with him and Krysten Ritter.
  • Also great: the Guy Ritchie film that James starred in. I watch plenty of British entertainment, but accents in his movies seem especially impossible to understand, and I was happy to see that mocked.
  • Nora Kirkpatrick was also in this episode, as the bride at the wedding, which is only exciting if you recently finished watching ABC Family’s Greek on Netflix, as I did. She gave a great performance on that show, as did the rest of the cast. If you’re looking for a series to blow through this summer, Greek is highly recommended.

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