Bitch Craft

People use the word "hivemind" in a derogatory way, and rightly so. Usually. While I'm all about taking hiveminds like partisan political websites to task, there is one area where coalescing opinions tend to help me out. On the entertainment websites I frequent, The Wisdom of Crowds Rule frequently applies. Sure, I'll like things that other people hate, and vice versa, but if the bulk of commenters start talking something up, that means it's worth checking out more often than not. So when Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 started getting slathered in praise over at the A.V. Club, my interest was piqued. When Netflix added it to instant streaming, it sealed the deal.

This was not a show that lasted long - only 26 episodes. ABC canceled it in the same purge that took out Happy Endings. I mean, why wouldn't they? Gotta make room for gems like Lucky 7! The name certainly didn't help. Beyond involving a mild swear and then taking it back by referring to it as "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23", it simply takes too long to say. I took to referring to it as "Bitch 23", which saves all sorts of time. If that wasn't enough, ABC decided to jumble the airing order of episodes, causing characters to jump wildly in time. It was a mess.

All that said, it wasn't a bad show. It deals with fresh-faced naif June, who moves to New York and becomes roommates with the drunken, pathological liar Chloe, who's best friends with James Van Der Beek. At the outset, the plotlines deal with a cheery June trying to befriend an evilly selfish Chloe. As the show settled, though, it expanded to embrace fun side characters like Eli, the pervy next door neighbor, and Luther, James' devoted assistant. Naturally, with stories like Chloe intentionally sleeping with June's fiancee on her birthday cake in order to expose his infidelity, the show veered into the cartoonish at times, but that's not a detriment. Despite Chloe's psychotic tendencies, she and June do forge a friendship, of sorts, and it was fun to watch their habits rub off on each other.

Did the show deserve the critical tongue bath it got, though? No. It was a perfectly decent comedy that probably would have developed into something even better had it been given more time. As with all short-lived shows, its legend grows over time until it becomes hailed as a perfect entity. Sometimes, I share in that delusion (Better Off Ted, Dead Like Me), and sometimes I don't (Freaks and Geeks, Terriers). Bitch 23 falls squarely into the latter group; it was a pretty good show that made me laugh out loud a handful of times. Sure, it's kind of a bummer that it got canceled so swiftly, but not to the point that we should be rending our clothes or anything.

Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23: B-


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