So I went home last night with the intention of writing something thought-provoking and borderline academic for y’all. I had an outline in my head and everything….and then I turned on Netflix.
You know what that means.
Almost four hours later, I’d watched ten episodes of Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.
Now, if you’ve been to our blog before, you may have noticed that I feel rather strongly about how the media portrays women. I mourn the lack of quality, diverse women on the big and small screen, and I look forward to the day when someone hires me to pen the world’s next big thing, featuring a female lead that’s kick-ass and womanly.
So why watch a show that is, to quote a friend, “so obviously and disgustingly anti-feminist and shallow?”
Call it morbid curiosity.
Now, I can see why this show would be criticized. The “B—-“, Chloe (played by Krysten Ritter), is rude and obnoxious. She parties hard, has sex with strangers, and generally cares about no one but herself. Her best friend is Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek (played oh so satirically by James Van Der Beek). She’s shallow; she’s selfish; she’s mean. She is the epitome of the entitled white girl who lives the “fabulous life” and cares more about her shoes than world hunger. She’s the kind of person I would never want as a friend.
She’s the kind of woman that we don’t want present on television representing all women, right?
Actually, I think she’s got qualities that more female characters should have. The great thing about Chloe is that she doesn’t easily fit into one of the four boxes that Hollywood producers usually like to cram their female characters into (special thanks to Amber Heard in “Syrup” for pointing this out).
She’s not a mother (well except for that one time she got a foster kid as a personal assistant). She’s definitely not a virgin. And while she may be sexually liberated, she doesn’t quite fit into the “slut” category either.
This leaves her with the box she fits best into: the b***h, which the network and showrunners were more than happy to label her as because, hey, it’s scandalous and a little bit naughty. But you know what? Our first impression of Chloe may be “oh my god, she’s such a b***h!” but by the end of the first episode we learn that even though her methods may not be wholesome (or legal), her intentions–when not self-centered–are in the right place.
This is what I like about Chloe:
- She’s honest.
In the first episode, she learns that her new roommate’s fiance is a cheating, lying bastard. She’s known June (played by Dreama Walker) for only a short period of time (I assume a few weeks or less) but when Chloe discovers that June’s man is sleeping with the nurse he works with and a few other people besides, she tells June the truth. June, of course, doesn’t trust Chloe because why would she trust such a b***h?Let’s look at Chloe’s honesty another way. Have you ever tried to tell a close friend that their significant other was cheating? I have a few times, and each and every time my female friend accused me of “being jealous.” Chloe doesn’t like women, but instead of letting her roommate continue in a bad relationship, she steps up and tells her the truth. I think that’s what we call “integrity.”
- She’s resourceful.
When June doesn’t believe the truth about her fiance, does Chloe stop trying to convince her of the truth? No. She forces June to acknowledge the truth by having sex with June’s fiance. Chloe is smart and knows that June won’t believe the truth until she walks in on her man bumping uglies with someone else. Okay, that’s probably not the most moral way to go about it, but at the end of the first episode, June thanks Chloe for saving her from a lifetime with that scumbag.
- She’s loyal.
So Chloe is egocentric and rude, but she is also capable of keeping up friendships for several years. We’ve all known at least one girl stereotyped as “the b***h” but how many do you know that keep close friends around for more than a few months? Chloe’s best friend, James Van Der Beek, has stuck with her for five years, and she proves throughout the series that she knows him better than anyone. Sure, she steals stuff from him (she tells him what she’s taking though) and she uses his celebrity status to get what she wants, but in the end, she really does care about him.As for her roommate, although Chloe schemes and manipulates June into improbable situations, she proves several times that she’s not going to leave June out to dry because, let’s face it, if she really didn’t like June she could probably get her out of the apartment in a matter of hours.
So, sure, the girl has her faults. She’s got “Chloe” put at the top of her priority list and everything else comes second. She’s sardonic and really doesn’t care if people are offended by what she says.
But she’s also a confident and smart woman who knows what she wants, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s these qualities and her no-nonsense personality that get her labelled as “the b***h.” If they are, maybe I need to embrace my inner bee-yotch a little more.
Disclaimer: I own none of the pictures or clips. If one is your edit, I am happy to give credit. If I were Chloe, I would never have said that.
- Don’t Trust the B – – In Apartment 23 Season One Review (lifeinsitcoms.wordpress.com)
- James Van Der Beek On Playing An Outlandish Version Of Himself In “Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23” (buzzfeed.com)