'Suburgatory' is familiar, but funny
September 29th, 2011
10:53 AM ET

'Suburgatory' is familiar, but funny

If “Mean Girls” and “Easy A” had a network TV baby, it’d probably look something like “Suburgatory.”

ABC’s new comedy follows Manhattanite Tessa and her single dad George as they relocate from their city digs to the 'burbs after George finds an unopened box of condoms in his daughter's room. Tessa, whose own mom left as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, finds the surgically enhanced, Lady Gaga concert attending, mall trolling moms the most foreign.

Cue the oft-played joke of a pink sweater-and-pearls soccer mom rapping along to a song about being a gangsta. You’ve seen it before, but the deadpan delivery is what sells it in “Suburgatory.”

Tessa is another incarnation of the sarcastic teen outsider, but Jane Levy plays it with strong timing in this episode. "Law & Order's" Jeremy Sisto as her dad George wasn’t as impressive. But really, it’s the inhabitants of this caricature of a suburb who really provide the entertainment, such as the woman so engrossed in texting that she walks right into the country club's pool.

The line that followed, delivered by George’s friend Noah (Alan Tudyk) - the guy with the Nerf ball/sunkissed tan - came off more creepy than funny. “You’d be amazed how often that happens. But the good news is, because of the implants, nobody drowns! They’re completely buoyant! All of them!” Indeed, she floated - and was still texting.

The best of this Stepford-ish land are Dalia (Carly Chaikin), her mom Dallas (Cheryl Hines) and Tessa's picked-on classmate Lisa (Allie Grant), she of the well-played girl's bathroom freak-out.

Chaikin clearly studied Tina Fey's "Plastics," and props to her for never breaking her dead-eyed expression. She was enlisted to show Tessa around the high school with a tour that was cribbed from every city vs. suburbs storyline, but still elicited a laugh: "Glee club, bleachers…Nose job, nose job, nose job, nose job…diversity student, Malik.” And remember, kids: "Buddies are not your friends."

A trip to the junior’s section of the mall was like kryptonite for Tessa and her dad, but gave the curiously accented Dallas to give more comedic relief. In one of the best scenes, she takes one look at Tessa’s beige sports bra and immediately asks, “Who did this to you?!”

That scene devolved into Tessa warming up to Dallas just a hint after Dallas buys her a fancy bra, and thankfully the humor in this series isn’t reliant solely on the battle between the urbanites and the suburbanites. In fact, the urbanites have to do little more than stand around aghast as the suburbanites act out their stereotypes for laughs.

“Suburgatory” is a completely rehashed plot, but it’s still a funny one. As iReporters Kathi Cordsen and Marie Sager point out, even with its flaws, it works. Plus, I’m already partial to Lisa, so yes, I think I’ll give this a few more episodes.

What did you think of “Suburgatory”?

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Filed under: Fall TV • television • TV recaps

soundoff (16 Responses)
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    January 19, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Horse N. Buggy

    I caught the BBQ episode of this show. I think it's much, much better than The New Girl. I honestly don't watch many sitcoms because they're so predictable. But with Alan Tudyk and Cheryl Hines, this one has lots of potential. I also really liked the lead teen girl in the one episode I watched. (And who am I kidding, I've loved Jeremy Sisto since Clueless.)

    October 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GeminiGirl

    I didn't care for this show at all! I won't watch it again; the main girl is too whine-y & complains about everything, doesn't appreciate anything and her father is spineless. Our NJ paper gave it a very good review for some reason. A much better show is 2 Broke Girls. Very funny.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Already did...

    @ Mr policeman..lol. whts wrong w/some of yous? u complain about trolling. u complain now about joking around n try to enlighten things up after all the bad thats been on here. tell us..what is the problem now? did u forget how to laugh?

    September 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ~*~

    Happy Cow..sorry to say.but.. they are making you look rather tasty..lmao. Can I have a cold one with my steak? lol (just kidding with you happy cow ..all in good fun..lol).

    September 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ling cho

    Kansas City Masterpiece BBQ sauce. My mouth water arready. mmmmmm.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ling cho

    Prease save me ribs. In China we rove barbecue ribs berry berry much !

    September 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kenneth

    @Happy Cow: Oh I'm coming to visit all right. I'm bringing a truckload of charcoal & a barrel of sauce. We gonna have a barbecue, and y'all are on the menu...... I mean guest list.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cow Killer

      Cheers for Kenneth! I'm right behind ya- time to get rid of this Mad cow infested "Happy Cow"

      September 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ling cho

    Bad to waste kitty kitty. We use in poo poo pratter. Arso make guud chichen ro mein. Kitty kitty berrrry berrrrrrry tasty.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ~*~

    @happy cow..lol. Kenneth..the next serial killer.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Happy Cow

    moooooo that is terrible kenneth. really really sad. kitty kittys are our friends. they are extra nice and dont fuss at us like people do. please try to not come to our happy farm. it is happy here. kitty kittys and lil ducks and chickens and piglettes and even a happy cow like me can all live in peace and happiness. moooooooo : l : )

    September 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. i live in the subarbs,it's not that bad

    LIKE. Is this how it is in the states? it's like watching a national geograpic special.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |

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