Photo: Courtesy of Patrick Harbron/ABC; Photo: Courtesy of FOX; Photo: Courtesy of AMC
Hump: James Van Der Beek, who stars as, well, James Van Der Beek on the new ABC sitcom Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23. First, a brief synopsis:
Krysten Ritter stars at the titular “B.” I’m not sure why ABC bothered to censor the title when everything about the show is so daringly inappropriate for the normally tame, Disney-owned network. In the pilot, Chloe, “the bitch,” parades around naked, discusses her ongoing scheme to get starry-eyed ingénues to pay to move into her apartment before doing horrible things to get them to hastily leave.
The “Beek from The Creek” — a moniker that Chloe readily adopts from Will & Grace's Jack — plays her ex-turned-“straight gay BFF.” According to Ritter’s character, they “dated for awhile...but weren’t really compatible, genitally. Imagine trying to fit a cucumber into a coin purse.” Actual lines from the show right there.
I’m a sucker for any actor willing to parody himself and trust the audience to understand the difference between James Van Der Beek and “James Van Der Beek.” Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold & Kumar films is an excellent example of self-parody done right. Unlike Harris, however, Van Der Beek is treading on newly traversed ground here. Actors have played bombastic, egocentric versions of themselves before, but mostly on film. Only a few actors have attempted ongoing self-parody on television before, although the precedent is definitely one to follow: Matt LeBlanc recently won a Golden Globe for playing “Matt LeBlanc” on Episodes.
It will be interesting to see how the writers extend Van Der Beek’s fake persona — think stereotypical ex-teen heartthrob with an extra dash of douche — to be more than a gimmick throughout the series. In this week’s episode alone, a woman he was about to sleep with donned a whipped cream bikini à la Varsity Blues, there was a running gag involving girls asking him to put on a flannel shirt (did he really wear that much flannel on Dawson’s Creek? I was more of a Pacey gal back then), and the final gag was an energy drink commercial he supposedly did in Vietnam. He also reminisces about the time he arm-wrestled Kevin Sorbo, and of course, Chloe calls him "Tiger Beat.”
Despite the horrible “character” he plays on Don’t Trust the B—, Van Der Beek is still Dawson f’in Leery, which means he’s an eternal “hump.” Mostly because I want to see if this is actually his o-face.
P.S.[MINOR SPOILER] I just watched the second episode, which is already on Hulu, and JVDB continues to own it. He tries to out-Franco James Franco by becoming an acting professor at NYU. His students, however, just want to hear him recite monologues from Dawson’s. Which, don’t you worry, he does.
Marry: Cooper Anderson (I see what you did there, Glee writers) is a massive blowhard who describes himself as “an internationally known spokesmodel for the Internet’s fastest-growing free credit score web site.” He claims to have slept with the Progressive Insurance lady — don’t you dare bring Flo into this, Coop — and his idea of forming lasting connections involves telling people to follow him on Twitter. Despite all of this, though — clearly, the man is obnoxious — Cooper is played by Matt Bomer, the present-day lovechild of Adonis and Christopher Reeve, which means everyone at McKinley swoons at his feet.
Well, not everyone. His brother Blaine despises him. And because this is Glee, their massive showdown occurs in the form of Darren Criss singing Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” to a montage of him boxing, gratuitously shirtless, showering, and dancing in front of a wall of TVs with Matt Bomer’s beautiful, beautiful face on them. I may or may not have reached TV-watching nirvana at this point.
In the end, after a duet fraught with Acting 101 stage direction, the brothers obviously make up. We realize Cooper Anderson does have a heart after all, and he’s only being so hard on his baby bro because he thinks Blaine could really be something one day, ya know?
I don’t really care, though. I kind of stopped listening to a word Matt Bomer was saying, not that far into the episode, and focused on his gorgeous visage for the rest of the hour. Seriously, what do you think it’s like to walk around looking like that? Could you imagine being married to that face? I’m doing it right now, and it’s pretty damn awesome.
Kill: Megan Draper — just saying that name makes me shudder. How is she still around? Why did Don not kick her to the curb after the now-infamous “Zou Bisou Bisou” incident? He even lets her boss him around and has vowed to stop his philandering, womanizing ways. Although he did have a fever dream that involved cheating and murder in this week’s episode; perhaps we’re meant to take his burning desires, pun intended, as foreshadowing of future events? Oh, Matt Weiner, stop toying with my emotions.
But seriously, what sort of sorceress is this woman? Surely there’s magic at play for her to have bewitched Don Draper so. Frankly, I’m just looking out for his well-being here. You know what I’d do if I was your 20-something wife, Don? Not throw you a surprise birthday party or invite you to Fire Island with my friends, that’s for sure. Let’s just forget this whole Megan “Draper” thing ever happened, okay? Even your coworkers will thank us.