Most people who stop Krysten Ritter on the street tell her the same grim news: “They say, ‘Oh, my God, I watched you die last night,'” she says. These people are referring to Ritter’s break-out role, on Breaking Bad, as a drug addict – and, more specifically, to the scene where her character chokes to death on her own vomit. But ever since ABC picked up her anarchically funny sitcom, Don’t Trust the B—-— in Apt. 23, strangers have begun yelling something new: “What up, B?”
Ritter portrays Chloe, the scheming B—- in question, with Bugs Bunny-ish glee. “There’s nobody else like her on television – she’s such a fucker!” says Ritter. Chloe lies, steals, sleeps with her roommate’s fiance and bounces around Manhattan hot spots with “her straight-gay BFF” (James Van Der Beek, playing himself). She’s a fucker for sure, but also improbably lovable. “I play her like she’s got a screw loose,” says Ritter. “Everything’s psychotically fun.”
Ritter was raised on a “midsize beef farm” in Pennsylvania, where chores included feeding cattle and picking up roadside litter. A modeling scout spotted her at 15, and a year later she was in New York, “drinking vodka and dancing on tables and getting into trouble with other five-foot-nine waifs.” By the time she turned 20, she’d quit modeling to pursue acting, and for years she agreed to every job she was offered. “The only plan was, don’t run out of money because you’ll be dead on the side of the road,” she says.
Ritter recently wrapped a pilot she’s helping to develop for MTV about “a girl who keeps boys chained up in her basement”; acted in a play written by Zach Braff; and starred in an indie drama called Refuge. And she’s just begun shooting the second season of Don’t Trust the B—-, which returns in October. When asked what she thinks about the stereotype that beautiful people can’t be funny, she bristles. “That’s very closed-minded,” she replies, adding, “But I think I’m a total spaz and that I look like a cartoon character.”