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You can trust ‘the B----’ to deliver laughs

Krysten Ritter (center) stars sitcom with James Van Der Beek as himself DreamWalker as her new roommate.

Krysten Ritter (center) stars on the sitcom with James Van Der Beek as himself and Dreama Walker as her new roommate.

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Updated: May 12, 2012 8:13AM

A twentysomething female odd couple end up rooming together in New York City. One’s a sharp-tongued, street-smart brunette; the other, a more prudish, sheltered blond.

Sound familiar? It’s the premise of CBS’ hit sitcom “2 Broke Girls.”

It’s also the premise of a new ABC show that’s a lot funnier.

“Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” is a deliciously nasty comedy that takes a well-worn formula and whips it to life with clever writing and an engaging cast.

Dreama Walker (“The Good Wife,” “Gossip Girl”) stars as June, a Midwestern girl who moves to New York for work. When the company’s CEO gets nabbed for pulling a Bernie Madoff, June’s dream job goes bye-bye. Same for her sweet company apartment.

Rather than admit defeat and head back home to Indiana, June sets out to find herself a new place to live. She answers an ad and moves in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter, “Breaking Bad”), who’s the best roommate ever. Until she’s not.

Chloe, a sort of sociopathic Audrey Hepburn, has the gall to sleep with June’s visiting fiance. On June’s birthday. And literally on June’s birthday cake.

Chloe’s a con artist. She dupes naive girls like June into moving in with her, gets them to cough up a few months’ rent and then does something horrible to drive them away.

“Eventually these girls realize they don’t belong here and I’m just helping push them out. I’m part of the great digestive system that is New York City,” Chloe nonchalantly explains to a friend on the phone.

That friend, by the way, is James Van Der Beek, former teen heartthrob and star of “Dawson’s Creek.”

The Beek from the Creek plays himself, or what we can only hope is a jerkier version of himself. He’s still haunted by flannel shirts, the theme song “I Don’t Want To Wait” and other detritus from his “Dawson” days.

It’s not a stretch to say that at times, Van Der Beek is hilarious in this role, especially in later episodes. (The pilot, while very good, was my least favorite of the three episodes I watched.)

When June shows Chloe that she can give as good as she gets, the women reach a sort of detente that blooms into a wary friendship. As predicted, each one makes the other one a better person. But that growth doesn’t come at the expense of each one’s true character, which, in Chloe’s case, is still an untrustworthy b----.

“Don’t Trust the B----
in Apartment 23” can be every bit as lewd as “2 Broke Girls.” The big differences are that its jokes are smarter, the sarcasm is less aggressive and the supporting cast turns out to be much more than a collection of stereotypes.

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