Checking Out the B—- in Apt 23…

We just completed a weekend of binge viewing: 8 episodes of “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23.”

Apt23_B

Strangely enough, this sitcom aired on network television (ABC). The plug was pulled in January with eight episodes left unseen. The “lost episodes” were available online (ABC.com, Hulu, and iTunes) through June 2 — thus triggering our viewing adventure.

A Takimag.com article by Steve Sailer (The Importance of Being Earnestly Bitchy) is what brought this sitcom to our attention. He said “most brilliant sitcom of the decade is ABC’s almost unknown screwball comedy of 2012” was ABC’s Apt 23. Unknown indeed!

It’s character driven, like “Friends” and “Big Bang Theory.”
You have the fish out of water, June, who moves from Indiana who moves to Manhattan to start her dream job working for Bernie Madoff the day he’s hauled off in handcuffs (oops!). Defeated but undaunted, she gets a waitress job and a roommate, Chloe an ex-model. Also in the mix is Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek, someone June had a childhood crush on who just so happens to be pals with Chloe. June’s coffee shop boss, Mark has a crush on her. To add more levity, the chorus includes Luther, James’s personal assistant and Eli the health inspector who lives in the building next to Chloe and June. Got all that? Check here for more details.

Sailer said Apartment 23, created by Nahnatchka Khan (Malcolm in the Middle, American Dad) treats virtually every sacred cow in current American culture with gleeful contempt. Furthermore:

More fundamentally, Apartment 23 is a show about two women that demonstrates zero respect for feminist dogma. Chloe is as vicious toward June as city girl Gwendolen is to country girl Cecily in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a play that appears to be a model for Apartment 23’s war on sentiment, cliché, and cant.

How to Watch:

So yeah, we were curious. Then came the challenge of how to watch it? Hulu seemed to want a credit card for their “free” trial. Apple’s iTunes was not an option because that certainly involved a financial commitment ($2.99 per episode). So we opted for ABC.com on the iPad which we propped up and put the sound on max. That worked for two episodes on Friday night. With six to go, we figured we needed a better solution. Off to Fry’s Electronics for an iPad to HDMI connector. That ran $39 (ouch!). For good measure, I also got one that would let me stream from my Samsung Note II (merely $14.99).

The Viewing Experience:

The run-time of each episode is 21 minutes (typical for a 30-minute sitcom). The problem is ABC inserts commercials you can’t skip. They politely offer a countdown so you know how long you need to mute your player (iPad). But the commercials, especially in a binge viewing situation, get old fast. They are mostly promos for other ABC shows not even close to being synergistically related (for example: Whodunnit, Mistresses) and then some public service nonsense about being the TV boss. I believe there was a Pixar one for an upcoming release.

Note to ABC, get more relevant advertisers. Actually watch the show and think of your audience.

The Show Itself:

The show was pretty darn, LOL funny. In a way, I felt it fit in with a comedy block on FX (Wilfred, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Which I guess is why ABC pulled the plug. They don’t have a FX-like channel. Owned by Disney, ABC’s cousins are ESPN, The Disney Channel, ABC Family, the SOAP network (as in Soap Operas).

That’s a Wrap!

To me, this limited access to view lost episodes was an opportunity for the producers to sell the program to Netflix, Amazon or maybe Fox to bring it back via a distribution channel that makes sense. Writing this funny shouldn’t be buried.

Overall, I’m glad we broke out of our normal viewing pattern to experiment. I still enjoy directing TV with the DirecTV app on my iPad. Can’t tear me away completely. But it is nice to know that other viewing options are available.

Special thanks to Mr. Sailer for getting us to take a look at something we would have just let sail on by.

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