Don’t trust the b—- in apartment 23

Don’t trust the b—- in apartment 23 is a new sitcom that aired on Thursday night.  “B—-” obviously stands for bitch, but I guess they can’t advertise it like that on TV.  Just like how GCB couldn’t be advertised as Good Christian Bitches.  Maybe one day we’ll all get past the word bitch and they’ll be able to write it as well as say it?  Or not.  At least in this case, b rhymes with 23, so I think they thought their rhyme was super clever.

This show revolves around June, played by Dreama Walker, who’s just moved to New York, landed a great job, is engaged, and right where she feels like she’s supposed to be in her life.  But then the company she’s supposed to work at is shut down before she can even start, and she finds herself with no place to live.  Thus begins her search for a roommate.

And she finds one.  Who seems nice and perfect at first and is great at selling herself.  But then turns out to be a total bitch.  Or should I say b—-.  Turns out Chloe, played by Krysten Ritter is a bit of a con artist, going through roommates fast by scaring them off with her questionable morals and inappropriate behaviour.  She does this so that she can get their deposit for the rent money, only to have them leave right away because they can’t stand to live with her.  Pretty clever actually, however horrible.  Chloe resorts to tactic such as inviting June to join her in a foursome, walking around naked, and walking in on her while she’s in the tub and making inappropriate and awkward conversation.

Thinking her new roommate will soon leave, just like her past roommates have, Chloe is surprised when June, who is super sweet and naive, actually fights back, selling all her furniture to get back at her for stealing from her by taking more money from her than was actually needed to pay the rent.  But then when she says she really needs her ottoman back, June helps her even though she’s been a total bitch.  Chloe has a newfound respect for her after this.

Chloe then discovers that June’s fiance has been cheating on her.  But when she tells her she obviously doesn’t believe her because she knows she can’t trust the bitch.  So naturally, Chloe sets it up so that June walks in on them having sex on her birthday cake.  Because that was the worst case scenario she could come up with to convince her what a cheating bastard he was.

There’s a lot going on here, but the best thing by far about this show is James Van Der Beek playing himself.  He plays Chloe’s friend, who she says is “like her gay bff but straight”.  And he plays himself well.  I never watched Dawson’s Creek, but I love it when actors play themselves and can make fun of themselves which is exactly what he does.  I think I would watch this show just for him.

I’m interested to see what the rest of the series holds, now that the roommates are sort of friends, and Chloe shouldn’t really be conning June or trying to get rid of her anymore.  But I guess she’ll just continue to make her life difficult in order to teach her lessons about the hardships of living in New York.  If I never amount to anything, maybe I’ll end up stooping to something like that, getting rent money off people and then scaring them off.  Although I probably won’t have to try very hard to get a person to not want to live with me.

The Middle

I didn’t really start watching this show until last year.  I’ve watched every episode this season.  I remember when I first saw commercials for it, it didn’t really look like something I’d want to watch.  It basically looked like they’d married off Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond with the Janitor from Scrubs and then given them three weird kids.

Taking an actor from a successful sitcom that is no longer on who played a well known character on said sitcom, and pairing them with another actor who also played a well known character on different successful sitcom often doesn’t work out so well.  Patricia Heaton had already previously tried it.  Does anyone remember the show Back to You that she did with Kelsey Grammer?  No?  Good, it wasn’t worth remembering.

But this time it worked.  Because The Middle has a great concept which is simple and well written.  When I watch it I’m able to disassociate my automatic connections to Everybody Loves Raymond and Scrubs, both of which I used to watch.  I liked Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn both in their previous sitcom roles as well their current roles now.  In one episode, they showed a flashback to their characters Frankie and Mike Heck, going camping for their honeymoon.  Their trip is interrupted by Mike’s old annoying friend, played by Ray Romano.  At one point he asks Frankie if they’ve met before and she says “no, I think I’d remember meeting you”, which I thought was hilarious.

The show consists of Frankie and Mike trying to survive raising their three kids, Axl, Sue, and Brick, who all struggle through their own problems as well.  Axl, played by Charlie McDermott, is your typical lazy slob of a teenager.  He excels in sports but struggles with school and thinks homework is a waste of time.  He’s also full of himself and thinks he’s awesome.  His sister Sue, played by Eden Cher, is sort of the opposite, and is basically the epitome of the super awkward and neurotic teenage girl.  Despite being a total misfit, she’s optimistic and tries out for all the school activities, and more often than not fails at them.  The youngest, Brick, played by Atticus Shaffer, is a quiet kid who always has his nose in a book.  He might go unnoticed if he wasn’t so weird.  He’s pretty smart for a nine-year-old, but has a bit of social awkwardness as well.

Frankie is often saying how tired she is from trying to stay on top of the kids all the time.  In one episode, she describes their parenting style as relaxed.  In the last episode, the kids complained that she’s too much of nag and that Mike just throws out crazy punishments for them when he gets too annoyed to deal with them.  They all struggle together as a bit of dysfunctional family.  I think the reason the show is a success is because they’re a family you can sort of relate to.  Kids go through awkward phases, and think their parents are unreasonable, and parents want to make sure their kids are alright and wish they would get their act together.  And when things don’t go as we’d like, we can turn to shows like this and see characters who may be slightly more dysfunctional than we are.

The Middle

Happy Endings

This show is in its second season.  I never watched the first season.  For some reason it just didn’t really seem like something I’d want to watch.  But at the time I didn’t really know what it was.  I’d see random commercials and scenes and just brush it off as another random show.  But then it would follow shows like Cougar Town and Modern Family, shows that I had pvred, and so at the end of watching those, I would always catch the first few minutes of Happy Endings.  And those first few minutes made me decide to give it a chance.

I’ve been watching this season and I actually really like it.  It focuses on a group of six friends, two of whom were engaged, but then she left him at the altar.  But they stayed friends.  Normally I hate that story line because I think it’s just been so overdone.  Why wait to leave someone at the altar?  You obviously knew at some point before then that this wasn’t what you wanted.  Fortunately, since I didn’t watch the first season, I missed that first episode.  I didn’t even know about the previous engagement leaving at the altar part when I first starting watching it.  Which is probably a good thing.

Six friends who are really close, two are siblings, one couple is married, one used to be a couple and there is still lingering tension, and the remaining two have their own love escapades with people who aren’t part of the group.  Sound familiar?  In today’s episode, Brad gets high from too many drugs at the dentist, and in his doped up state, points to his friends calling them Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, and Joey.  I love that they acknowledged the comparisons between the characters and even pointed it out.

Brad

Brad is played by Damon Wayans Jr., who was my favourite character on New Girl, in that one episode he happened to be in.  Happy Endings having a second season is the reason he couldn’t be on New Girl, which I was initially upset about, but I love that this show is continuing and I think he’s better on Happy Endings than he would have been on New Girl anyway.  He would be the “Chandler” of the group, I guess because of his jokes and personality, and also because he’s married to the “Monica” of the group.

Jane

Jane is Brad’s wife, played by Eliza Coupe, who I also love.  She was one of the few new additions to the last seasons of Scrubs who actually fit with the show.  She is definitely the “Monica” of the group, because she is very anal and a control freak.  Her uptight personality can be overbearing and annoying, but it suits her and she makes it funny.

Alex

Elisha Cuthbert plays Jane’s younger sister Alex, who leaves her fiance at the altar.  I grew up watching her on Popular Mechanics for Kids.  You may also remember her from The Girl Next Door.  She is the “Rachel” of the group, because she leaves a man at the altar.  She is sort of dumb at times and doesn’t always understand jokes.  My favourite thing about her character is when there are scenes in which she loves food, like when she gets drunk and eats ribs, or orders like three different plates when they go out for breakfast.

Dave

Zachary Knighton plays Alex’s ex-fiance Dave.  To be honest, I initially thought this guy had a really weird face.  I don’t know what it is, but something about it just wasn’t working for me.  But I got over it.  Dave owns a food truck and is moving on with his life after being left at the altar, but remains good friends with Alex.  He is the “Ross” of the group, since he dated the “Rachel” and because he’s the most depressed character of the guys.

Max

Adam Pally plays Max, Dave’s friend and roommate.  In today’s episode, Brad calls him “fat Joey”.  He’s the “Joey” of the group because he’s kind of dumb and quirky in his own way.  But unlike Joey, he’s gay.  When I first started watching this show, I found him super annoying and thought “How can the gay guy be my least favourite character on a show?  That never happens”.  But I have since changed my mind.  His character is arrogant and whiny at times but that’s just who he is.

Penny

Penny is played by Casey Wilson.  She was Max’s last girlfriend before he came out.  Yeah, there’s all sorts of love complications within the group.  But they make it work.  She is the “Phoebe” of the group because she’s fun and quirky and always an optimist.  She has her own love problems, as she gets a lot of dates, but can never seem to find the right guy for her.  In real life, I would find someone like her incredibly annoying, but on the show, I love her.

So am I saying it’s the new Friends?  No, not at all.  There are many similarities but it’s still unique in its own way.  The random story lines and the relationships and friendships within the group are just really entertaining and I enjoy watching it.  I just wonder if Dave and Alex will get together again at some point and how much of a “Ross and Rachel” type thing this really is.

I hope there's a third season

I was wrong about Work It

About a month ago, the new sitcom Work It premiered on ABC.  It was supposed to replace Man Up, which had been cancelled.  Work It was about two guys who are so desperate for jobs, that they apply to a pharmaceutical company that only hires women.  This results in them having to dress and pose as women in this job and hilarity ensues.  Or is supposed to anyway.

I have seen every episode.  My mom and I guessed that the show would only last for 3 episodes because it was such a terrible concept.  But we were wrong.  It did not last for 3 episodes.  It only lasted 2.  And yes, I saw all 2 of them.  Even though I had extremely low expectations for it, my expectations were apparently still not low enough.  The second episode was slightly better than the first, but that really wasn’t saying much at all.  I’m glad they put an end to it before airing a third one.  Because I probably would have watched it.  Dodged a bullet there.

I think it was pretty much the epitome of bad TV.  One of those shows where you laugh only because you’re baffled by how dumb it is.  There’s a lot of crap on television these days, but I’d like to think we’ve moved passed the point of thinking a man talking in a high-pitched voice and over exaggerating so-called feminine qualities is entertaining.  It seems my thinking was right, since everyone else hated it too.  I enjoy bad TV as much as the next person, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Monday night at 8pm

I have a dilemma.  Not a real life dilemma.  A dilemma in terms of being able to watch what I want to watch on Monday night at 8pm.  There are 3 shows that I would like to PVR.  Mr. D, House, and How I Met Your Mother.  All new episodes.  I will not be here at that time and so recording them is essential for my viewing pleasure.  We can record up to 3 things at once.  So no problem, right?

Well unfortunately I am not the only one who wants to record things at that time.  My mom and my sister have been watching episodes of She Spies, which is a show from 2003.  I used to watch a few episodes of She Spies with my mom way back when.  Now I guess it’s my sister’s turn.  It’s an okay show I suppose.  Sort of a Charlie’s Angels type thing.  Where the 3 girls are former criminals turned good and are now working for a secret government agency.

It's okay, but I feel like they're Charlie's Angels wannabes

I will watch it in passing if it’s on, if they happen to be watching it and I have nothing better to do.  But not before my shows that I follow that have new episodes.  And certainly not instead of them.  I went into the PVR and set the recordings for my shows.  And then I had to “resolve conflict” so that they would record.  As it stands now, they will tape instead of She Spies.  But since I won’t be home at the time, they will easily go in and change that.

At least we can agree on this.

My mom also watches Mr. D, and so I know she will not delete that one.  So it’s either House or How I Met Your Mother than I will lose.  I am not sure which.  The funny thing is I started watching House because my mom introduced me to the show.  And then she lost interest.  But I didn’t.  Now I follow it alone.  I will admit it’s not quite what it once was, but I still love it.  I have a feeling she may just cancel How I Met Your Mother, out of spite, because she finds it annoying.

It's not annoying, it's awesome!

But maybe, just maybe, they will agree to forgo recording She Spies.  I mean it’s not like they’re watching them in order at all.  You don’t need to watch them in order.  Plus it’s 9 years old.  Even though most of the recordings that day are mine, I think new episodes should trump old ones.  It just makes sense.  It’s not my fault that my TV preferences differ from theirs.  Why should I be punished for that?

How can you not love House?

I know, you’re going to tell me to just go and find episodes online like everyone else.  But then I have to go search for them.  I already use the computer for so many things, I don’t want to add that to the list.  And whenever I try to look up shows online, I somehow find sites where they aren’t free or aren’t accessible.  I don’t know why, but I kind of fail at it.  Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to watch my shows on a TV.  That’s how it was meant to be.

Sometimes teachers just don’t like you

Mr. D is one of the few new TV shows that I actually really enjoy.  Plus it’s Canadian, so double win.  Today’s episode was called “Exam Week”.  I thought this was a fitting time for it, since my brother and sister both just finished their January exams.  Mr. D focuses on the perspective of the teacher, as opposed to that of the students, giving a new take on things.

In this episode, Gerry is unprepared for giving his exam, and things are disrupted due to multiple fire drills.  He ends up making it up on the spot, asking the students the broad question “What was World War II about?” as their one exam question.  Broad questions like this save the time of having to write up specific questions with specific answers.  The difficulty with these broad questions, is that the marking is so subjective.

Instead of reading them and marking each exam, Gerry looks at the mark that each student has going into the exam, and give them a mark a little higher than that.  As for the smartest kid in the class, he marks that one first and uses it as his answer key.  He writes random comments and puts random marks on the exams so it looks as if he’s read through them and then come up with the mark as a result.

The scary thing about this, is it is based on Gerry Dee’s own life experience as a teacher.  If you watch his stand up comedy, he admits that he actually did things like this when he was teaching.  Because he’s so hilarious, I suppose he can be forgiven for this.  But it makes me wonder how many other teachers out there have similar methods.

In this episode, while explaining his marking strategies to his friend, he also mentioned that there was a girl in the class who he didn’t like.  Because he didn’t like her, he would fail her, but then give her just enough to pass his class so that he wouldn’t have to teach her again.  I’m not sure if that part is based on his real life experience as well.  It very well could be.  It makes me think back to when I took History 12.  I got 50.5% on my History exam that the teacher gave and marked in January.  But when it came time for the standardized provincial exams at the end of the year that she had nothing to do with, I got an A.  I think that’s proof right there that she just didn’t like me.

This episode of Mr. D confirmed my belief that sometimes the reason you do badly in school is because the teacher just doesn’t like you.  I know it’s only a TV show.  But it’s based on real life.  Possibly an exaggerated version of real life, but real life nevertheless.  So if you do badly in a class, maybe it’s not your fault.  Maybe your teacher just doesn’t like you.  And I learned this from TV, so it must be true.

Whitney

This sitcom isn’t the greatest one I’ve ever watched.  But I’ve seen every episode.  So there must be something about it that I like.  I’m just not sure what.  This show has had a lot of negative feedback.  Which I understand.  The acting and the jokes aren’t that great.  But they’e watchable.  And still better than some.

The revolves around Whitney, her boyfriend, and their friends, and the random, everyday problems that they all have.  Whitney is wholeheartedly against marriage, but believes in a committed relationship, which she has with her boyfriend.  A lot of the episodes revolve around arguments they get in over trivial matters in their relationship.  In one episode, Whitney is upset because Alex has a password on his phone.  According to her, since they are a couple, they should share everything.  Later in this episode, she accidentally walks in on him masturbating, and he gets embarrassed and upset when she tells her friends about it.  Yeah, now that I write it down. none of that seems funny at all.  But I’m sure that episode had other redeeming qualities?

Another episode features Whitney trying to help her friend Lily with her wedding plans, when she herself hates the idea of weddings.  Naturally, when you’re completely against weddings, you would agree to be the wedding planner for your friend.  I can’t quite remember what was good about that episode either.  But I’m sure there must have been something.

Maybe I like the fact that it’s based in part on Whitney Cummings’ real life experience?  That adds something to a show, right?  Although I think Rob was supposed to be somewhat based on Rob Schneider’s real life experience, and I didn’t care for that at all.  I guess in order for it to work, your life experience has to have some substance or humour in it.  I think what I like is her attitude and some of her opinions.  Like when she asks how buying flowers for a woman is romantic, because you’re basically saying here, I picked these for you so you could watch them slowly die.  In today’s episode, remarks are made about how she has a knack for being mean to people and dissing things that most people love.  Being mean in a way that is at least intended to be humorous is right up my alley.

So it’s not the best sitcom, but it’s not the worst sitcom either.  And I can’t be the only one who’s watching it, or it wouldn’t still be on the air.  I don’t know, I guess I’ve just gotten comfortable with watching not so great sitcoms.  Perhaps I should higher my standards again.  But I can’t be bothered.  I’ll just wait and hope that the sitcoms will just get better.  And if they don’t, I can just write bad reviews about them.  Whitney’s not the only one who can be mean with the intention of being funny.