Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23

Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23
Episode 10: Mean Girls
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!

When the series first began airing, the friendship between June and Chloe developed surprisingly fast. They went from being opponents in the pilot to quickly being best friends. It wasn't a huge shift since Chloe's selfless act at the end of the pilot helped to sell the idea that these two liked each other. Mean Girls is a season one episode that was supposed to bridge the gap between the pilot and the rest of the series. It deals with the friendship between June and Chloe by having the latter admit that she's friends with the former. It makes sense that there would have been an episode where the friendship had to actually be affirmed by the characters. What doesn't make sense is just why this episode didn't air in it's intended order. It wasn't the funniest episode of them all but it wasn't bad. The twists that the show had were fresh and it's not like the first season ever really shied away from controversial topics. What's even more confusing is that this is the episode that technically begins the Dancing with the Stars plot although it was just at the very end. This episode was held back all the way until now but it should have definably aired back when it would have made a lot more sense. Considering what the episode deals with, it feels even more out-of-place than the other season one holdouts.

The main plot has to do with the growing friendship between Chloe and June. It's not immediately clear because June just assumes that Chloe is a good friend of hers. The only reason they haven't been able to hang out is because June has been too busy. When she finally gets the time to be with Chloe, her roommate decides to use June in order to score some free tickets to a murder show. It isn't until after Chloe misses a huge clue when June invites “a friend” (Chloe) to dinner that Chloe reveals she doesn't exactly see June as a friend. June is crushed but she's encouraged by Eli to find new friends whom she can share activities with. Chloe doesn't like them because their typical girls but the story takes a seemingly dark turn when one of the friends might have been murdered. To be specific, one of the friends might have been murdered by Chloe. It's a good thing the series is able to back out of this idea by the end because it would have gone to a completely twisted place that I'm not sure the series really wants to go to. Sexual deviancy? Fine. Molestation and masturbation? Acceptable lines to cross. Make Chloe a killer? Not really. It's nice to see that the show actually sets up limits for what the character won't do-and that murder is one of them. This isn't to say I didn't believe Chloe was capable of murder but that the series basically officially established this.

Of course, June doesn't realize this at the beginning. She actually thinks that Chloe might have killed the friend. The audience should realize that of course Chloe never killed her. In fact, all Chloe did was steal the friend's cab. Chloe is annoyed by this suspicion and she decides that she's going to use it as a prank. She's going to pretend to be guilty. This all culminates to a scene where June is willing to help Chloe get away with murder. All of a sudden, Chloe states that June is a really good friend and June reveals that she was playing murder-chicken with her. June's friend wasn't dead but had gone to a vacation somewhere. June had learned this just as Chloe was beginning her prank. It's great that the series didn't actually kill of a character in such a way but it does allow June to earn Chloe's respect in two ways. The first is by playing a game on her and the second is by making Chloe realize that June is a good female friend by stating that she would help Chloe run from the law. All in all, an impeccable main plot that is funny and at least sets some limits on how far the show is willing to take Chloe's sins. Which is good to keep her likeable.

Dawson spends the episode in his own little sub-plot where he's made to mentor a kid in the city. At first, Dawson is only doing this for the publicity because it really sells to be selfless. He is actually motivated to help the kid when he runs away from some mean girls at the subway station after promising to take care of them. This leads to a great scene where they try to make the little kid into a queen bee by making her dress like a forty-year old. This predictably backfires on them but their plan works when the kid beats up Dawson. Since she's not the weakling anymore, the girls stop picking on her. It's a decent sub-plot but it's themes have been explored in other episodes which makes it feel a bit stale. Of course, this is technically the first episode to actually deal with this theme so this stale feeling is a bit ironic.

Mean Girls is a pretty good episode of Apartment 23. The sub-plot might feel a bit stale simply because it aired longer after other episodes have tackled the same theme but the main plot manages to be just as good now as it was then. Sure, it's a bit weird having June talk about how she just moved into the city but once you get to the meat of it then the feeling passes. This is a show that has always been about the friendship between June and Chloe. Mean Girls is an essential episode in that friendship. Once again, it's unknown why such an important episode was left to air until this late in the game.

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