The new show Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 proves once and for all that James Van Der Beek is a genius when it comes to career comebacks. He’s the breakout star of ABC’s new comedy starring Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker and it’s his character that will make the show a success.
The former Dawson’s Creek heartthrob never quite found his footing as an adult actor and fell off the mainstream radar for a few years. (I know, I know all the Varsity Blues fans out there are like nu-uh, but sorry, it’s true.) Then he reemerged in 2010 with memes and several hilarious Funny or Die videos mocking himself and the Dawson Leery character. Suddenly James Van Der Beek went from the answer to a ’90s trivia night to a somewhat relevant actor with an actual sense of humor — a rare thing in the Hollywood hills.
His new show, Don’t Trust the B—- In Apt 23, capitalizes on his new persona and uses it to turn a mediocre show into something great. The basic premise of the show is that June (Dreama Walker) moves to the city from Smalltown USA and ends up rooming with the slightly psychotic Chloe (Krysten Ritter). Or as ABC would prefer you call her, a b—-. Humdrum show right? Small girl in the big city has been done a million times, how many times can a country girl take the wrong subway to her first day of work as a magazine/advertising assistant?
Throw in James Van Der Beek playing James Van Der Beek as Chloe’s best friend and you have something unique. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other shows that have an actor playing himself. And because it’s James Van Der Beek, it’s believeable that he would have friends like Chloe. He’s famous, but he’s not that famous. He probably has lots of non-famous friends in real life.
Throughout the pilot episode, James V.D.B (I think we’re at the V.D.B stage of this post now), plays an exaggerated version of himself. Or at least we think it’s exaggerated. He makes Dawson jokes and flannel shirt jokes and even James Van Der Beek jokes. The entire experience just makes him seem so real and so relatable that you half expect one of your friends to actually be friends with him in real life.
I finished the episode jealous of Chloe’s friendship with him. Why can’t I have cool B-list celebrity friends who just stop by my apartment and help me harass my roommate? Why doesn’t James Van Der Beek appear at my door and do his infamous crying face just for me?
Well probably because Chloe isn’t real and James Van Der Beek’s paid to be on that set. But for 30 minutes I suspended reality and pretended like this was possible — and that’s what makes the show worth watching. It gives you the hope that you too might one day be friends with a celebrity.
The show premieres tonight on ABC at 9:30 PM. Watch it and let us know what you think!