TCA: James Van Der Beek steals the spotlight from “The B—- In Apt. 23”

Krysten Ritter, the gleefully titular “B”[*tch] in ABC’s upcoming comedy Don’t Trust The B— In Apt. 23, was present in a strapless red frock that set off her milky skin and crimson lipstick. Dreama Walker, the target for the B—‘s bitchery, was there too, resplendent in blue. But the only Apt. 23 panel member that TCA Press Tour critics wanted to talk to  and about was Dawson. Er, James Van Der Beek. The Beeeeeeeek! In da apartmeeent!

It’s a little understandable. Most of us grew up with Dawsey and Pacey and Joey on the Creek. Plus, Van Der Beek’s new role in Apt. 23 is something of a doozey. He plays James Van Der Beek. Not a guy named James Van Der Beek. He essentially plays himself.

“I auditioned against six other James Van Der Beeks for this role,” the actor cracked about whether he was a shoo-in for the part. “I was lucky that four of them were not actors, and two of them didn’t speak English.”

Van Der Beek serves as the non-judgmental platonic best bud of Chloe (Ritter) — a freewheeling New Yorker with “the morals of a pirate” and a cheerful ability to classify theft and property destruction as “fun” — who takes Walker’s naive June as a roommate and discovers she may not be such a pushover after all.

Asked how long it took after Dawson’s Creek ended for him to embrace his forever association with the title character and embrace the role and the show for the beloved obsession it was, Van Der Beek again displayed his self-deprecating comic chops.

“I think once the residual money ran out is really when it became okay to make fun of it,” he cracked.

And he’s eager to prove that when Apt. 23 premieres come April 11.

“I said to Natch [executive producer Nahnatchka Khan] and David [Hemingson] at the beginning, I said, ‘Don’t ever be afraid of offending me.’” Van Der Beek says. “Let’s just always go for what’s funniest, and we’ll see where it takes us.’”

Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23 premieres April 11 at 9:30pm

Photo: ABC

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Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.