Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23
Episode 6: Bar Lies
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.
Bar Lies is the second episode this season to air from the previous and it shows. It's not just in the Dancing with the Stars plot but it also misses the charm that the actual second season episodes have largely been hitting. So what happened this episode? James goes over to Los Angeles for the first live show. You can basically predict what's going to happen. He continues his rivalry with Dean Cain, worries about shallow posessions, and generally acts like a typical narcissist. When he finds out that a Midwestern family is subletting his apartment, he freaks out and June's mom is forced to give him tea. This isn't just any tea but a special Asian kind that messes with your brain. It causes Dawson to have a mental breakdown on his live show rather than the pretty good dance he had practiced earlier. The main plot is largely boring and dull without any spark that can make this show work so well. At least we get to see the full dance at the end when the credits are rolling. A great dance doesn't justify spending the time to watch this episode.
While James is participating on Dancing with the Stars, June and Chloe are having a moral dilemna over honesty. June is bothered by Chloe's need to lie to people. Chloe is basically a compulsive liar. She not only enjoys it but she really can't seem to help it. Her harmless bar lies quickly devolve into a huge deception where she pretends to be a realtor where she rents out James' apartment when he's away for chuncks at a time. For some reason, this is one of the few times where James doesn't like how Chloe abuses their friendship. It feels a bit out-of-place and only added in order to create more conflict. When June does descend into dishonesty, Chloe realizes that June is only happy if she's being honest. Chloe basically makes her feel better by stating that some people need to be honest so that they can be lied to by people like Chloe. It's such a messed up world philosophy that the show seems to actually believe because this advice works. June goes back to be an “Honest Colburn” and Chloe doesn't learn a lesson about honesty.
So why does June descend into deception? She spends the entire episode talking about the value of honesty that her mom had instilled in her. She tries to make Chloe see the error of her ways but she's always willing to back her out by asking people their opinion on Jimmy Fallon. That is until she finds out that her mother lied to her. Instead of coming to visit June in New York City because her husband was sick, June's mom went to Los Angeles to support James. June's mom proceeds to list some other lies she gave June over the years. June's belief in honesty is temporarily shattered until Chloe is able to pull her back into the status quo. The main plot of the episode wasn't that funny and it wasn't very subtle with it's theme. It hurts that there is no real emotional core to build the lies around as everything remains very cartoonish. This show has a cartoon world but it works best when it manages to build around a relationship on the show.
Overall, Bar Lies is a weak episode. I'm not expecting next week's episode, another season one holdout, to be any better. It really does seem like the network is burning them in late December before it gets back to the much improved show in January. Bar Lies might not have been very good but it did make me laugh at certain points. It just fails to have that spark that can make this show very special and funny.