Don't Trust the B*

The Player is a pretty standard sitcom character trope. Ranging from serial flirt but ultimately good guy Joey Tribbiani to manipulative, selfish, disrespectful Barney Stinson, these guys' plotlines revolve around their endless conquests and the women stupid enough to fall for them.

Unsurprisingly, it's not exactly a trope I'm a fan of. But I can make an exception for Don't Trust the B*, if only because the ridiculous, manipulative schemer character is a woman.

Chloe takes a tired (yet apparently everlasting) sexist sitcom trope and turns it on its head. She is the manipulative, selfish, doesn't-have-a-damn-to-give party person, and she is also an independent, intelligent female character. This is a comedy with an unlikeable, player-esque female character at the forefront, breaking a lot of expectations in the world of sitcoms. And unlike her male counterparts, Chloe does it without innate sexism, without suggesting that other women, as a group, are stupid, or even inverting it and saying that men are all fools. She's an equal opportunity manipulator.

Of course, if Chloe, who has a comic series in Japan, who makes yearly Halloween pledges to make people's worst nightmares come true, and who is willing to manipulate anyone to have party-loving, rule-free advantage, was presented as a vaguely realistic character, she'd be loathsome. But she isn't. Unlike shows like How I Met Your Mother, where other characters are realistic and where we're still expected to feel for the player in a genuine way, this is a sitcom where every character (with the possible exception of straight-man protagonist June) is ridiculous. James Van Der Beek plays himself as an actor who cannot get over Dawson's Creek. One of the supporting characters is the perv who lives in the window across from their apartment. Chloe is likeable precisely because she's so unlikeable, because we're not supposed to see her (or any of the characters) as real people.

Don't Trust the B* In Apartment 23 is a really fun comedy that throws a lot of sitcom standards on their heads. It puts (admittedly unconventional) female friendship front and center. It avoids the typical sexist jokes. And, most importantly, it shows that a female character can be a "bitch" and still be funny and likeable in that ridiculous, sitcommy way.