Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 gives roommates a bad name. And that name is Chloe.
The brazen bad girl (Krysten Ritter) and her companions — her once wide-eyed roommate June (Dreama Walker) and her best friend, real-life celeb James Van Der Beek — return Tuesday (ABC, 9:30 ET/PT) after an abbreviated first season of seven episodes.
"We want to have fun with these characters and have people get to know them and just see how outrageous and irreverent and a little bit dangerous they are," creator Nahnatchka Khan says. As the series progresses, "we'll have some fun little growths for June, Chloe (and) James. We have some fun places we're taking them."
But don't expect Chloe's sharp edges to get too softened, Khan says. "You can't have a bad girl and not make her bad."
"Chloe is so outrageous and so over the top," Ritter says of her enthusiastically amoral character, who pushes booze and sex to extremes, fixed up an unsuspecting June with her married father and took in a teenage foster child because she wanted a personal assistant.
"I just love that she's so out there and edgy and marching to her own drum," Ritter says. "She's insane. She's a sociopath."
Apt. 23, a late-season arrival last spring, managed to gather 6.8 million viewers for its short run and ranked 12th in young adults among 58 freshman shows.
Dawson's Creek heartthrob Van Der Beek, who had made some self-spoofing Funny or Die videos, was intrigued that the show was looking for someone to play "a fictional, demented version of themselves," he says. The only thing in common between the two is "a few things on their resumes," he says.
"We worked it out to try to find a recipe where people could laugh at me and not feel sorry for me." he says. "We figured out that as long as the guy is talented, he can have as many blind spots as you want to give him."
In the season premiere, the show torches Van Der Beek's ties to the legendary teen soap. "I feel like we have fun with the Dawson's Creek stuff because it's there. What we have the most fun doing is making up stuff out of thin air," he says, such as his ongoing involvement with Dancing With the Stars, a movie role where he falls in love with a giant pink puppet, and a Belgian dating show that he hosted at one point in his career.
In an art-imitating-life moment, an upcoming episode will link Van Der Beek with People's Sexiest Man Alive, an issue in which he will appear.
Chloe and June, an odd-couple pairing that happened after the latter lost her new job and apartment, have already started rubbing off on each other, with the former experiencing the occasional feeling and the latter gingerly trying out the wild side.
In the Halloween episode, Chloe first realizes that men are for more than just sex, while "the most-wrong Thanksgiving episode ever filmed," as Van Der Beek says, will throw the roommates into an uncomfortable reunion with Chloe's father and disabled mother.
As time goes by, Chloe and June "just affect each other in a very slight way," Khan says. "Two people you think would never have anything in common find they have a little bit of similarity."