"No, sir, it's very unfair, especially to your wife." - C.C. Baxter
I'm a crusher. I crush on people hard and often. I see someone interesting on the street or out in the world (pre-COVID-19 of course), I've already gone through the courtship, marriage, first fight, makeup, and anniversaries in my head in the 15 seconds of a glance. It's always worse when it's someone I work with because then I have to see them every time I work. If I actually tell them I'm crushing on them, there's a shift, a monumental change in our dynamic. I choose to keep it platonic more often than not because that's the safe bet. Maybe I was meant to be an insurance man like C.C. Baxter.
I feel like Baxter sees Fran, his crush, as the unconquerable woman, who doesn't need a conqueror, but some kindness. He doesn't stop being kind just because he sees her a different way or because she breaks his heart, either. He doesn't stop being charming even after she says a phrase I've heard about myself from crushes, "Why can't I love a nice guy like you." (Pardon me, but fuck you for saying it, Fran. That's a shitty thing to say to someone. Just keep it to yourself.) I wholly identify with that mode of dealing with a crush, the kindness and friendship because it makes me happy to see them happy.
Though, despite my heavily identifying with Baxter, I can also see a big part of myself in Fran. She's a woman who doesn't seek help for her depression, who feels like a certain kind of happiness everyone else has is the only solution to her problems and who lets the darkness too far into her physical self. I see a lot of my own darkness in Fran and I see hope in Fran, too. She may not want to let Baxter in too deeply at the start, but when she let's her own guard down she finds a true friend. When I've let my guard down I've found the most exquisite friends. I sincerely wish the romantic implication at the end was left out because their friendship is so much better for Fran than to just jump into something romantic right away.
The longing I see in The Apartment is that concept. That finding of someone to talk to, someone who's been where you've been, known pain you know. I find myself gravitating toward the idea that Fran and Baxter aren't meant to be romantic partners because of this longing. They're meant to be someone the other person can just talk to, a real friend among all of the people that think they know them. It's a longing for platonic love that will last longer than anything else in their lives.