First, some inside baseball/real talk: This show seems pretty much doomed. This won’t be a surprise if you’ve been keeping an eye on its ratings—since it was moved from the launchpad slot after Modern Family, it’s been like watching a hot-air balloon very slowly descending into a lava pit. But last week, ABC announced that both Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23 and Happy Endings are getting benched come March in favor of… Dancing With The Stars. Ouch.
So there are 18 episodes in the second season, five of which are leftovers from the first season that never aired. Last week’s episode was supposed to have been the sixth episode and “It’s Just Sex…” the seventh. (JVDB’s dance partner is briefly in that, and he even makes a comment that made no sense at the time about being glad to be rid of the weird ponytailed lady.)
The season-one leftovers (including this episode) so far have felt like just that: leftovers. Cold pad see-ew with the noodles fused into a big glob that looks like it lives at the bottom of the ocean. It tastes all right, you guess, but not as good as you know it can be.
Here, the premise of “Bar Lies…” is entertaining—it felt familiar in a good way, as my college was a four-year Olympic Games of who could get someone to believe the most absurd, pointless lie, with the gold going to one guy who was able to keep a straight face while recounting how, as a teenager on the never-forget tour of Germany, he had accidentally driven his parents’ rental car into a pit of human ash. Maybe it’s just having experienced the major leagues, but… the bar lies seemed a little unimaginative, especially given how good the writers here usually are at coming up with legit hilarious throwaways. Broke up Johnny Depp’s marriage? Please, even June could do better than that. (I liked how asking opinions on Jimmy Fallon is a Get Out Of Lie Free Card, though it’s a bit dated.)
The return of Naggy Self-Righteous June yelling at Chloe for being a terrible person was also pretty uninspiring, as was the predictability of the JVDB DWTS plot. Did anyone think for a second that there wasn’t going to be something seriously wrong with the Mystery Chinatown Tea? Or that June’s mom was anywhere but in Hollywood? Or that JVDB is usually very blasé about Chloe’s various abuses of their friendship, and his freakout here seemed weird? Everything just lacked the spark and surprise that the show is capable of.
But enough about this episode—honestly, I feel silly harping on about why I don’t like these first-season leftovers when that’s not even what the show is anymore and it’s on the cusp of snapping back to the (much, much stronger so far) second-season episodes.
Let’s look forward at the rest of the season: The first-season episodes that haven’t aired yet: 2, 8, 11 and 12. I had to figure that out through process of elimination, though—ABC just has, literally, “???” as the production numbers for this episode, the next one, and the two DWTS-arc episodes originally scheduled for this week and next week that they replaced; those, along with S01E02, are now unscheduled.
It’s a bit like reading tea leaves, but I believe the gist of all that is that somebody over at ABC did the smart thing and just fast-forwarded the show’s plot right over the remaining first-season episodes. Maybe JVDB was originally going to get the pity/hilarity vote and remain on DWTS another couple episodes? Maybe this was a few episodes spliced together to condense the whole DWTS arc into one half-hour? My guess is that we shan’t find out until the DVD-set extras.
So, my prediction: Next week’s will also not be great. But when Apartment 23 comes back from the holidays, it’ll be a streak of legit season 2—much more likely to go out in a blaze of glory, or maybe, possibly (maybe) gain enough momentum to drift on past the lava pit. But if you’re going to try to get a friend into the show, you should probably wait until January 8.
- So many good freeze-frames of unflattering Juneface today! That never stops being funny.
- Damn, JVDB is a truly excellent, thoughtful wingman! I can see why Chloe hangs out with him all the time.
- “If you’re El Salvadorian, don’t pretend to be Guatemalan, you know?” Aw, Luther. Kind of becoming my favorite, particularly with his demonstration of how to properly hug JVDB.
- I continued to enjoy Dean Cain’s small moments of silliness, like angrily ripping his jacket off to reveal not a Superman suit, but a redneck cutoff dress shirt.
- Also, both those guys would kill it on actual DWTS. I was a bit bummed that we never got to see the full JVDB routine before, but the episode did end on an up note by giving me exactly what I wanted.
- Hee, JVDB as Dawson. I guess this is technically from before they gave Dawson a Viking funeral.
- SAD TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES DISCO BALL. Pull Fred Savage out of makeup NOW!