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“My door has a Katie Holmes-shaped lock that she can turn anytime.”
Such are the words of Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 showrunner Nahnatchka Khan of her open invitation to the former Dawson’s Creek star.
The ABC sophomore comedy, which stars James Van Der Beek as a heightened version of himself, brings a bit of Capeside to Tuesday’s second season premiere, which revolves around a Dawson’s Creek reunion.
In typical B—- fashion, not all goes as it should, both on-screen and off as the comedy about a titular bitch Chloe (Krysten Ritter) and her logical roommate June (Dreama Walker) revisit TV JVDB’s early days.
The series initially wanted Van Der Beek’s Dawson’s co-stars — including Holmes, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams — to guest during the episode, fittingly titled “A Reunion…,” but it wasn’t meant to be. At least, not right now.
“It was just timing; It was a crazy summer,” Khan tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“They were all really positive and they all love James and he loves them. Hopefully the idea is in the future … they’re all so crazy and busy but we’ll make it work.”
The reunion attempt kicks off when TV James takes a little too much pleasure in rejecting a “plea” from Holmes, Williams and Jackson for a Creek connection and declines — only to have June ruin Chloe’s ruse. TV JVDB then learns that the annual letter he receives from his former cast mates is a fake, prompting him to plot an actual get-together.
“James is convinced it shouldn’t happen, then he gets talked into it, then he wants it and there’s a lot to consider — there’s the legacy — and has anyone ever had a good reunion show,” Van Der Beek tells THR. “Then there’s the issue of will any of your cast members talk to you again. There’s a lot of questions to be answered.”
While the on-screen reunion doesn’t go according to plan, either, the episode does manage to pull one off — Creek alum Busy Philipps (Audrey), Frankie Munitz (Malcolm in the Middle) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell) guest star — and the series leaves the door open to make the Dawson’s gig an annual one for Apartment 23.
“When those guys weren’t available, we wanted to take it in an unexpected direction and Munitz,Busy and Gosselaarare all so game and they all have such great senses of humor and they all wanted to work with James. James and Mark-Paul are very similar trajectories in their careers and he’s wanted to come do our show since season one so it just worked out.”
While producers have a “never say never” approach to repeating the Dawson’s exercise, Van Der Beek says the experience was a positive one.
“It’s been fun to check in with everybody; they’re all doing really well and it was such a rare, unique experience to go through something like that,” Van Der Beek tells THR. “There are three or four other people who know what that was like and we all had different experiences and have a different perspective on it. It’s been fun to catch up with them this many years out and laugh about what we thought we knew back then.”
Adds Khan: “Katie can come in at any moment and she’ll be welcomed. Same goes for Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson.”
Apartment 23 airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.
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