If you’ve ever had a terrible roommate, you will relate to June. Dreama Walker (The Good Wife, Gossip Girl) plays a career-driven Midwestern girl who moves to New York City for a job that immediately falls through. She has to scramble to find an apartment and ends up with the world’s worst roomie in the form of Chloe (Krysten Ritter). Chloe isn’t just the kind of roommate that leaves you passive aggressive notes about taking out the garbage or being quiet on weeknights — she’ll sleep with your boyfriend, eat the little amount of food you have and charge you extra rent money so that she can upgrade her designer purse collection.
Chloe is the bitch is Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, ABC’s new comedy that also stars James Van Der Beek as a parody of himself. What sounds like a gimmicky plot actually works better than you’d imagine with Nahnatchka Khan at the helm. The out writer/producer created the series when she began thinking of a modern day Breakfast at Tiffanys.
“I always wondered what would happen if Holly Golightly existed in the present day like what that would be like,” Nahnatchka told AfterEllen.com at the Winter TCAs. “That lead me to think about well what if she had like a regular roommate who was just trying to pay bills and watch Shark Week.”
Said Shark Week watcher, June, is just trying to get by in New York by finding a gig at a coffee shop and co-existing with Chloe, which ends up being the bigger job. But their chemistry has viewers craving their interactions, and Nahnatchka says she thinks it’s fun to watch the drama unfold.
“I think [gay women] would really like the women behaving badly thing — doing something at first that doesn’t seem great and certainly not typical,” Nahnatchka said. “Just doing something different and not just the stereotypical way things are seen.”
And because Chloe is anything but conventional, she doesn’t discriminate when it comes to who she sleeps with.
“My character is so free,” Krysten said. “She’s not defined by one sexuality at all so that’s a fun thing to play with. My character has no ties to anything. She doesn’t like to be categorized and she’s totally free and I think that comes out in many story-lines, not just about her sexuality. Dreama and I joke often by the amount that she’s getting groped by me. We have become lesbian lovers and she’s the wife. “
Don’t Trust the B—- seems to have that same kind of 2 Broke Girls vibe in which viewers might like the June/Chloe pairing so much, they might want to see the two together romantically. While Nahnatchka said she could see that happening, she has no current plans for the women to end up in a relationship.
“I think there is definitely a chance,” she said. “Like Laverne and Shirley, right? So I think it’s always a part of it. Trying to read the signs but it’s certainly not anything that conscience. That’s not going to be like a twist that happens at the end of Season 1.”
There is, however, an episode where the girls pretend to be a couple. “I trick [June] into signing some papers so we can adopt a foster child,” Krysten said of the episode. “So I trick her into it and meanwhile she thinks, ‘Oh Chloe likes me. We’re friends’ and I’m trying to sell that we’re lesbian lovers. I’m using her.” (Nahnatchka adds that one of the jokes in that episode is, “We’re in between cats at the moment.”)
Meanwhile, June sticks around because she has no other choice, and that means she has to put up with Chloe’s groping. “It started in a couple episodes where there was a storyline where she was trying to make me uncomfortable and touch me,” Dreama said, “and then it was episode after episode that it was written in that she would touch my butt or touch my boob or whatever! June is totally uncomfortable with the idea of Chloe coping a feel.”
But Dreama, however, thinks it’s both fun and hilarious and loves working on the show with Krysten and Nahnatchka.
“We are so lucky to live in her world,” Dreama said of her producer. “I still just feel absolutely thrilled beyond thrilled that I got this show and that I had this opportunity. She’s immensely talented. She has a great mind.”
Dreama also hopes that viewers will embrace the mature humor of the show, which is likely a sure bet for a network that hosts the similarly-themed ensemble comedy Happy Endings.
“I hope that America loves it despite the fact that it can very to the slightly raunchy side of things,” she said. “I just hope for a place out there as a comedic actress. I hope people will look at this and think, ‘Wow, girls can be pretty funny.'”>
Nahnatchka said that the pilot has tested well with both women and men.
“It tested very well with men and, maybe because I came off American Dad and that’s a very male-driven show — and I think that funny always wins,” she said. “I think like that’s the most important thing, first and foremost. I think if guys give it a chance they will think, ‘This s–t is funny. These girls are genuinely funny.’ I mean they are awesome, they are hot and sexy and they pull it off.”
The show also has an out gay character named Luther who is James’ assistant. “He loves and really supports James,” Nahnatchka said. “There is a line in an episode where he’s encouraging James to do a movie and he basically says, ‘The gay paraplegic kid counselor you played on Party of Five is what made me come out to my father.'”
And as far as Chloe’s sexuality goes, Nahnatchka said it’s pretty fluid. “Whatever is sexy and awesome and fun.” That should be the show’s tagline.
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 premieres on Wednesday, April 11 on ABC but you can watch the first two episodes at ABC.com.