The promotional materials for Don’t Trust The B—— In Apartment 23 use the phrase “party girl with the morals of a pirate” with regard to Chloe so often that it started getting irritating—what an oddly specific turn of phrase to keep coming back to. (It’s taken from a JVDB line near the end of the pilot.) But when you think about it a bit more, especially after some of these second-season episodes, that’s actually very accurate. The pop-culture archetype of pirates of the 17th- and 18th-century Caribbean may have sailed around plundering everything in their path, but the Pirate’s Code in the Johnny Depp movies had in fact at least a little basis. Though pirates didn’t acknowledge the laws of any nations, most of them did actually have their own formal, written-out code defining the individual rights of the crew, as if each ship were a tiny floating nation with its own Constitution or Magna Carta. And regardless of whether a new crew member was there voluntarily or had been kidnapped and conscripted, he signed the same contract as everyone else, usually involving some form of pieces-of-eight worker’s comp, a loyalty oath, and—most commonly—the stipulation that loot be divided in equal shares.
So though I’d tuned it out for a while, the whole “morals of a pirate” tagline really came to mind at the end of tonight’s episode as Chloe counted off June’s half of the money she’d extorted from her parents—though June had been press-ganged into the wheelchair, she was still owed her share of the booty.
Chloe’s crew is tiny, seeming to consist only of JVDB and (since “The Wedding…”) June, but especially in season two the writers have done a very good job of contrasting her amorality about almost everyone with her unswerving loyalty to the two people she gives a shit about. Chloe will go to ridiculous lengths just to put a smile on a friend’s face—last week by nearly getting JVDB declared Sexiest Man Alive, tonight by making sure June had the cash to get home to see her family.
Chloe’s also been showing signs of having her own weird code of ethics—she has no problem sleeping with men of any marital status, but only calls the married ones to freak them out with a make-believe pregnancy or STD. In the pilot, her banging of the fiancé is specifically meant to reveal him as a cheat. And in “Love And Monsters…,” the victims of her annual life-ruining weren’t chosen at random—in Chloe’s mind, the people she picked deserved it for being insufferable.
Even after seeing her childhood home (and her awesome teenage-Goth sneer in the family portrait) and more of the family dynamic we got some of in “Daddy’s Girl…,” it’s still not entirely clear how Chloe ended up with her particular us-against-the-world code of ethics, nor why her seemingly sweet mom is so high on the list of “the world.” (Because, as someone who’s been in a wheelchair a few times, the mom’s present of a cupholder put me on her team forever. That shit is essential.)
At first, it seems that June’s been conscripted into going to Thanksgiving to act as a sort of ego to Chloe’s id—as she gets out of the taxi, Chloe even says “You can’t hand me a sledgehammer and expect me not to swing it!” Those roles seem to be working all right, as voice-of-reason June successfully points out to Chloe that, minus intentions of ruining Thanksgiving, the Syracuse fan she’d been hitting on is more cheesy poof than man-meat. (“Good catch! That was a close one!”) And as June reaches the top of the stairs on the automated lift (no idea why the mom would have sent her up there, as the wheelchair was still at the bottom of the stairs, but did enjoy June’s glare at the cat watching her ascent), Chloe yells at June for getting drunk on cupholder booze and not fulfilling her Chloe-containment duties.
But, obviously, it wasn’t that simple. This episode got its surprise-twist groove back after the fun but fairly straightforward previous episode—I knew Chloe’s reasons for making June spend the episode in a wheelchair were bullshit, but was pleased that I didn’t guess what they actually were until she started counting off the money at the curb and it was clear that her motivations were… just to do a nice thing for a friend. (“It is nice! I’m really nice! …June, why aren’t you fanning yourself with your money?”)
Then, though June would probably not have signed up for this crew voluntarily, she proves that she’s a worthy shipmate by putting on an excellent half of a furious faux-fight while actually talking about pies. And in the tag, it’s somehow even sweeter that Chloe’s deferred to June’s preference for apple pie.
- “We should talk to each other like this all the time, because this is really fun!” I agree.
- Another People reference in the JVDB soup-kitchen subplot—guess they have a running deal or something. Didn’t find that one particularly interesting, but it did have a couple funny moments: the tastefully mussed blonde “homeless” family JVDB serves soup to and the jump-cut from JVDB claiming that he and Luther “Forgot… our… hats…” after pulling a ladle-and-leave to a shot of them both wearing ridiculous hats back at the kitchen.
- “I like your sock.”
- Black Friday for Chloe = having sex with black men.
- Though the tampon holder was, uh, less true to my wheelchair experience, the lock was still thoughtful.
- “I’m Sacajawea! I’m on a coin! I’m money, bitch!”
- At least that one elderly lady bought “It’s a miracle!”