Saturday, November 17, 2012

Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23

Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23
Episode 2: Love and Monsters
Episode 3: Sexy People
By: Carlos Uribe

Don't Trust the B— in Apt. 23 is about Chloe, a total crazy girl, and June, an almost crazy girl. It also has James Van Der Beek playing himself.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Love and Monsters:

Chloe hates romantic comedies, happy endings, and female stereotypes. The whole character is about having as much fun as possible regardless of sexual norms. Love and Monsters is an episode that explores the possibility that Chloe might be more normal than she thinks she is. It all begins when June is shocked to find out that Chloe has been dating a guy for the entire month of October. The two had met to the tune of “It Had to Be You” and they seemed to be perfect together. June is happy for the two of them until she learns the truth. Every October, Chloe likes to ruin a person's life. She decided that this guy deserved to be destroyed. Her plan was to break up with him right after having sex on his childhood bed while listening to an old theme song. This is to bring up his memories of his mom abandoning him. It seems like a basic and despicable plot up to the point where Chloe decides that she isn't going to through with it. She actually admits her entire scheem to the guy. It seems like June has guilted her out of doing this or it might be because she has developed feelings for him. It's never exactly clear and the episode leaves it ambigious. The guy isn't devestated by this news because he knew that she had been playing him. The episode adds a completely different layer when it reveals that he's been playing with her this entire time.

His plan was to make Chloe's life misreable by forcing her to live out a romantic comedy. He mentions the tropes that he's forced Chloe to live through. He even has a digusting best friend that's supposed to hook up with Chloe's best friend, June. In order to make her scheme work, Chloe fell into his trap quire easily. He tells her that he's going to leave soon but he predicts that she'll run to the airport and profess her feelings for him. This is where it gets complicated. Chloe doesn't fully know whether she has feelings for him. She doesn't know whether going to the airport is a good idea. She doesn't want to fall for this trope but she doesn't want to leave him with the last laugh. She's trapped in her decision but she eventually decides to go. The episode doesn't reveal whether it's because she had the ultimate play or because she has actual feelings for him. It confuses the guy which guarantees his eventual return to the show. This is a genius plot because it takes what you would expect-Chloe doing something terrible-and makes her the real victim. Chloe is all about individuality and control so she's able to take this situation and turn it around. This was simply funny but it was genius in the way that the entire episode was structured.

The sub-plot had to do with James Van Der Beek throwing a positive Halloween party. He doesn't like to be scared so he wants all of his guests to show up with non-scary costumes. When Mark shows up in a devil's costume, James isn't happy with this. He tries his best to make Mark change his costume but Mark tries to figure out why James doesn't like to be scared. Sometimes there doesn't need to be an underlying reason. Sometimes people just don't like to be frightened. It's that case with James. It does lead to Mark getting an epiphany that he needs to break up with his girlfriend. The way the show got there was using the technique of a character realizing that their talking about their own problems when talking about other people. The sub-plot is fun even if it didn't quite pack the same punch as the main one.

Sexy People:

When Sexy People brought up that the People Sexiest Man Magazine cover was coming, it became immediately obvious where the episode was going to go. James was going to be mad that he's not on the cover and Chloe tries to fix this but fails. Once Chloe proclaimed that June is easily manipulated by the media, it's evident that this is going to be proven true. The episode manages to present an episode that is fun but doesn't have any of the fresh quality that this show usually has. It just feels like this is a typical Apartment 23 episode. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It does at least mean that this series has been able to air long enough that it has typical episodes that are consistently funny. It's just difficult to really review this episode when it hits the exact beats that you'd expect and that this series has managed to do in other episodes. As I said, this doesn't make it a bad episode. Just an episode where there isn't a lot to talk about.

So let's start with the main plot. It has three components. The first: Chloe. She wants to prove that she can use the power of magazines to control June. She takes over People maagazine in a great scene and promptly makes James Van Der Beek the sexiest man alive. She comes up with a cover to show June. The second component is June: she believes that she is independent and she claims that James Van Der Beek isn't sexy as a whole package. She's shown the cover and she instantly finds him so attractive that she can't even be in the same room as him. The third component is James who wants to be on the cover for fame and because he wants to feel like he actually is sexy. The components are made up of the traits we know from each character.

Chloe is right up. She doesn't get to win because James ends up not being on the cover. Chloe gets mad but then she learns that someone she never met overruled her. James is disappointed because he's not named sexiest man alive but he's given a spread regardless. This satisfies him. June ends up admitting the power that the media has over her and a kiss from James proves that it's not all-powerful as she feels nothing. The status quo has returned. Sexy People was a funny, if predictable, episode of Apartment 23.

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