Ranking ABC's Wednesday Comedies: Apartment 23 Is My Jam

By Lily Sparks

May 10, 2012

We successfully and proudly vaulted over another hump day to reach the comedy horn o’ plenty laid out by ABC last night. But which episodes of the network's comedy block were soaring over the everyday sitcom tropes like angular pole vaulters arching heaven-ward, and which ones caught their chunky white sneakers on the lowest-slung hurdle and fell, quivering like jelly, in a half-hour nationwide face plant? Let’s get out our speedometers and sip some Gatorade while we get ready to place first, second, third, and LOSER, because it's...


The Middle: “The Clover”

Did I miss something? Why does Brick keep repeating his lines to the ground in a whisper? Also, is he a little person? I mean that seriously, I am not trying to be offensive, little actors are seriously awesome. Just want to give him proper props. I thought the idea of taking the prom episode and giving us the guy’s perspective—the pressure of picking someone to ask, going stag, trying to wrap your head around what it all means—was fairly original and obviously I loved Sue’s prom dress. (It was like Disney Princess meets Welcome to the Dollhouse! Sue, I love you.) I also was impressed with how on-the-nose dealing with an elderly relative was, I was seriously cracking up with P-Heats taking the dog out for number three and trying to get her aunt to understand the phone...though she is the last person who should be making fun of someone wearing an unconvincing wig.

Score: 6.2

Suburgatory: “The Great Compromise”

Alicia Silverstone's Eden continued to be the most disgusting house guest in the world, upping the pleather-clog ante with goji berries for breakfast, a chia seed voice, and a fake meatloaf for dinner. I loved that the show shamed people who shame me for eating whatever the hell I want, and I also loved George telling Eden to shut up almost compulsively—amazing timing with that back-and-forth. Also everything Dahlia and Dallas said last night pertaining to the kangaroo and Carmen wearing medieval armor—you ladies slay me. I would watch Dahlia and Dallas talk for 45 hours straight if I could. (Crossover fantasy: Sue Heck goes on a road trip with Dahlia and Dallas?!) Also worth high-fiving the writers over: The archetypal teen romantic trope of looking back over your shoulder to see if he is looking at you being applied to Tessa looking back over her shoulder to see if her resume is being considered. Very subtle and girl powersy.

Score: 6.7

Modern Family: “Disneyland”

This was my favorite Modern Family ever. Maybe it’s the feel-good vibe that radiates from the center of my brain when I think of Disneyland, and obviously it’s a huge rare big deal for a show to film there (the show's DVD sales must be pretty swell to warrant that kind of permission). But I think it’s also that Disneyland is where families really are at their madcap best, it is a crucible in which people get generous and get real and hug and have breakthroughs and also act like total spazzes, so the show was able to get almost cartoonish yet still feel restrained and real because Disneyland is MAGIC! They used the park fully to its advantage, from unprecedented shots of people on rides and keeping it real about food prices and lines. Hayley’s Dapper Dan ex was hilarious and OMG when Jay brought Gloria those soft slippers, my heart honestly melted. I love the idea she’s cranky most of the time because she’s wearing eff-me pumps. Between that and Jay's surprisingly touching speech about staying together with his wife for his kids and being rewarded by the universe—it was an emotional Splash Mountain.

Score: 7

Don’t Even Tell Me You Trusted That Crusty Skank In Apt. 23: “Making Rent”

This episode charmed my socks off. It started strong with a weird, black-and-white dip into a rich lady’s inner monologue and then just kept taking more chances. The German roommate who’s never shown up before (and Chloe snarking that Germans don’t age well), Luther quoting from his play continually, and the jam cam... OMG the whole weird strawberry montage of the girls throwing strawberries at each other—it honestly blew me away. We already knew this show had the story-bone structure of a narrative supermodel, but for it to get so weirdly tangential and take these meta-editing chances is the equivalent of that gorgeous supermodel putting on her goofy pants and running brilliantly off at the mouth like Jenna Marbles. And yet it still managed to stay cruel—stalker neighbor fell fifty feet and June is getting savvier/corrupted by the city. (LOVED her parent’s homemade hairspray reference as they sat there with greasy, bedraggled locks.) I am thoroughly smitten with Van Der Beek, Ritter, Dreama Walker, and the whole gang. And the jam-filled tub/brilliant improvisation session by one-time “Birthday Boy” Michael “Mookie” Blaiklock was WELL worth sitting through credits.

Score: 7.4

So The Bitch bowled us over again! But there were strong showings across the board:

Modern Family came in second with 7

Suburgatory had 6.7

The Middle earned 6.2

Overall Score: 6.8!!!

So yeah, wow, I think this might be the best rated comedy block since comedy blocks started getting rated by me, myself and you. Am I getting dangerously generous with my marks or was this a stellar block? And most importantly, what did you think?


1. Is prom harder on guys than girls?

2. Is there someone in your life who makes you eat stupid things?

3. Kid-leashes: ridiculous or convenient?

4. Is Don’t Trust That Crusty Beeze YOUR new fave?

5. Should I bring back the Viewer’s Choice Blue Ribbon or are y’all cool just reading each other’s scores?

  • Comments (24)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • spklvr12 May 13, 2012

    1. I wouldn't know. I'm from a country that doesn't have prom. I'd say our senior year traditions are ten times more awesome than that (it consists of 17 days of partying, doing stupid dares and driving around in red vans, then a parade on the final day).

    2. Mom makes me eat health crap all the time. Granted, some of it is good, but now and then I'm like, I want a hotdog please.

    3. As a child raised occasionally on a leash, I am pro-leash. It's impossible to control your children every second, and they only need a second to run off into traffic. And I can only remembering it being really awesome, so I don't get why it's such a problem unless the kid really hates it. I grew out of the running away thing when I was five, and after that I was well behaved.

    4. I can never decide whether B in 23 is awesome or kind of disturbing. Sometimes it goes a bit too far for me to find it funny.

    5. Meh, don't care.

  • DavidJackson8 May 13, 2012

    Suburgatory - 6.5 - Eden was excruciatingly annoying early on, but I guess she finished off the episode as a decent character. But it's almost as if Eden's existence has made every other character on the show more annoying, too. Decent episode.

    Modern Family - 7.0 - Two weeks in a row that I've quite enjoyed Modern Family is very refreshing considering the bore that's been most of season 3. Anyways, better episode than last week. I liked all the storylines. I've always snickered and frowned (or vice versa) at people who had those child-leashes, but after having spent alone time with my niece, I can understand how annoying it is that they keep running off, hehe.

    B in 23 - 7.5 - I'm really starting to love Ritter's over-the-top acting. Dreama was pretty great in this one, too. Van Der Beek, as usual, is still my favorite character. Having more of Robin and a bit more of Mark was fun. However, I didn't care much for Luther, Beek's assistant, in this episode.

    Also, having TWO X-Files references during this comedy-block was fun (Suburgatory and B in 23).

  • SamanthaBryant May 12, 2012

    Hi lily! I hope you will read this even though you posted this yesterday. I've been avoiding tv.com lately because I'm behind on some shows and you guys are really bad about spoilers. I mean some of you even name the article and put a pic of am eliminated person right up to so you see out in the list. (I'm looking at you lily) lol

    Anywho, I just wanted to tell you a few things. Brick has been whispering to himself since the beginning of the show but he's gotten better in the last year. It's one of his personal ticks. He did it constantly in the first season. The actor Atticus Finch (seriously best name ever) has brittle bone disease. It has a more recognize name but I can't remember it. It's what the glass man in Amelie had. It means their bones are very very weak like glass. It causes deformations and sometimes death depending on which form you have. Attic ut s us actually several years older than Brick. I think he's almost in middle school our already in it, I'm not sure. That's why he walks a little funny.

  • LilyRoRoSparks May 13, 2012

    Tis is the season to avoid spoilers, thanks for the reminder about that, I can be a prime offender myself with spoiler headlines. Thank you also for the information on Atticus! He did seem way too articulate and had way too much presence for the age he's supposed to be playing. That's fantastic that he's transcending that kind of adversity on a weekly basis! Thanks for the comment.

  • SamanthaBryant May 13, 2012

    Awesome that you responded! Thanks! I've been following you on Tv.com for some time. I love the way you review stuff, it is just hilarious! It started with Once Upon a Time and now I read all your reviews if I watch the show except Bachelor. I read that even though I don't watch bc it's just so funny.

    He is a pretty awesome kid. Without him and Sue the show would not be as good.

  • JustinJohnson9 May 12, 2012

    I only watch Modern Family and Apt. 23. Out of those two, Modern Family was unbelievably good and funny (as usual) this week, so MF for the win. However, I also loved Apt. 23 as well. The Van der Beek pants had me LMFAO!!

  • pcsjunior002 May 11, 2012

    I don't think you're getting too generous in general, but opinions differ, and my ratings thus differ a little.

    -Prom sucks on everyone. I'm a guy so I don't know what it's like hoping THE guy/A guy/ANY guy/NOT THAT GUY/Doggy in the window asks, but I know what it's like being that guy (all of this does NOT COUNT if you're in a relationship, because that's too guaranteed). But I was single most of high school and you don't know how long of psyching myself up it took to ask the girl I wanted to go with only to have her tell me that she would be out of town for the big day (to her credit, she actually was, so I like to think she would have gone with me). But yeah, emotions at that AWKWARD stage in your life make the entire process a difficult one... but a valuable one, and this show handled it extremely well. From Axel's getting upset that his friend went for his sister to the response right back about wanting to be with a fun girl who's cool. Good stuff, and I do love this show.

    -Yes. Me. I eat stupid things all on my own. Bad me.

    -Kid-leases: Wrong. I was a terror as a young child and my little brother (14 years younger than me) was an even bigger terror (I have verification on that one). Neither of us were leashed and we both learned how to behave just fine and without ever getting lost running away from our parents in a crowded park and without causing any kind of public scene. Parenting is a full time thing, and there are times when it sucks because you have to run and do all kinds of stuff when you're tired and you don't want to. Get used to it.

    -No, I enjoy it, but it's just missing something still in my book before it really gets going. I don't know what, though, so this may sound like a petty complaint.

    -I don't need the viewer's choice blue ribbon. I can do the work on my own.

    Pcsjunior002's Scores:

    The Middle: 7 - In very fine form tonight, all story lines worked well.

    Suburgatory: 6 - 5.9 of it for Dahlia and Dallas and the Kangaroo. Eden needs to die.

    Modern Family: 7.5 - Disney is magic. It just is. And seriously? with the awesome ride shots.

    Don't Trust The B****: 6.5 - strong showing, but the jam thing and the neighbor conning were just too over the top for me. JVDB steals the scenes, though.

  • Aquitar94 May 11, 2012

    "Don't Even Tell Me You Trusted That Crusty Skank In Apartment 23!" LMAO that is by far my favorite alternate name for the show! It was a good episode though. The Middle made me laugh for the first time they've been showing episodes in 2012 so that was refreshing. Was trying to give Eden a chance, but now she bores me. Modern Family was pretty good too!

  • rye06p May 11, 2012

    don't trust the bitch in apartment 23 is so freaking good!

  • sunnysfunny May 11, 2012

    Apt 23 is getting better. Hmm it sounds like I should watch this weeks Modern Family...

  • chas031 May 11, 2012

    MF gets my fav this week. Focused on Jay. And his line at the end when Gloria calls to him from the hottub "....and the universe rewarded me!!" Best episode in 3 seasons.

    The B in 23 is coming up to my surprize hit for newbies.

    Suburgatory was slightly flat mainly due to the Eden arc.

    My daughter has 4 yr old triplet girls. They are NOT LEASHED. They walk and act like human beings(imagine that!). Of course when Grumps is around they ride in the wagon I bought so I don't have to wrangle!! LOL

  • chas031 May 11, 2012


    Not Scary Mary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I just got the bandages off my eyes!!!!!

  • See More Comments (10)