Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23: “Making Rent...”
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Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23: “Making Rent...”

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Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23

“Making Rent...”

Season 1, Episode 5

This week’s Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23 spent its first half in worryingly “June shouts ‘What is wrong with you?!’ at Chloe” territory. But in a pretty deliberate turn near the end, the characters stated what the previous episode showed: June and Chloe, two people on opposite ends of a spectrum, are pulling each other closer to the middle the more they hang out.

The continuing osmosis is excellent. So far, it seems to mean Chloe will remain about the same, but tack on something that demonstrates she has a soul near the end of each episode. The more June hangs out with Chloe and JVDB, though, the less predictable her character gets. I’d hoped this had progressed far enough that June wouldn’t drop a big boring dramaturd when it was revealed that the jam-making montage was oddly touchy-feely because Chloe was filming it for a jam-making fetish site, but it appears she hasn’t loosened up quite that much. The ending again hints that this is an ongoing process, but I hope that it goes a little more quickly.

I don’t like to make sweeping judgments about the quality of acting, though I do try to recognize specific moments, good and bad, and point those out. It’s uncomfortably easy (particularly, I’d say, if you have no acting experience) to let your opinions about a character and the internet's consensus infuse your opinion of an actor. (For example, see Vincent Kartheiser’s much-loathed turn as Connor in Angel, then see him on Mad Men, where it is objectively clear that he is very good at acting). Much of whether an actor can hit a role out of the park depends on what the writers throw at them. In Game Of Thrones, for example, it’s much easier to appreciate the acting of Peter Dinklage as Tyrion — a fan favorite who so far has done almost exclusively awesome things — than it is to appreciate the acting of Lena Heady as Cersei, probably the most disliked character in the series. Ditto Krysten Ritter as Chloe and Dreama Walker as June in A23.

However. Luther, Eli, and Robin are an interesting study in how much an actor can make a difference. It's almost like someone deliberately set up an experiment: Three actors playing three similarly cartoonish characters have been given roughly the same amount of screentime and lines with wince potential. Yet Ray Ford somehow makes Luther fun to watch—his lovely flowing hand motions?—despite how played out the bitchy-gay-assistant-with-a-bow-tie stereotype is. (Imagine how bad the line “‘The grapes on the vine aren’t having it—’ If you read my play, you’d know what I was talking about,” could have been.)

Michael Blaiklock as Eli is still very uneven (he seems to loosen up when he’s allowed out of his window), but Liza Lapira as Robin, while slightly better here than in previous episodes, is just never enjoyable. To my shame, when Robin fell off the balcony at the end of a Robin-heavy episode I found myself hoping that the writers had preemptively realized this and been ballsy enough to kill off the character. But it was not to be.

Stray observations:

  • “Bitch, please… Bitch.”
  • Whatever, June, you’re not a good person. A good person would have helped Robin up when she was clearly injured. Stop pretending.
  • The Jammin’ June’s Jams website (which does not exist on the real Internet, by the way—yet) has options to click for amateurs, couples, dudes, booty, hot moms, and trannies.
  • “We’ve completely changed our policy regarding the 30-second rule.”
  • Any Dead Like Me fans find the fetishization of something as wholesome as making jam reminiscent of Getting Things Done With Delores?
  • That scene of June worriedly investigating her two non-moles was weirdly great.
  • Hopefully that’s not the last we’ll see of June’s Korean Baptist church.
  • The JVDB subplot about his new line of ultra-tight jeans was funny, but I don't have much to say about it except somebody in the jean-design process should really have noticed that the monogram sewn on each cheek read “BJ.”
  • I went to Oberlin, so the visual of pants so tight you can tell which direction a dude dresses is familiar. Apparently, dick outlines are verboten on network, though.
  • Eli did get one funny line tonight: SLOW JAM.
  • This week’s Thing Not To Trust In Apartment 23: Buick.