Let me be real with ya’ll for a second. I base most of my entertainment consumption decisions on what Entertainment Weekly says is awesome. I don’t always agree, and many things I pretty much ignore (any sci-fi or action movie reviews, not interested. Also, the encouragement to watch Mad Men or Downton Abbey– but that’s just because I’m weird and will only watch dramas called Parenthood), but if it’s something that’s new, and they recommend it, I’m there. They’re right most of the time. Skip Whitney, Two Broke Girls, and Two and Half Men. DVR Happy Endings and Parks and Recreation. So almost 2 years ago when EW hailed this new show Suburgatory as smart and satirical I took notice.
And to be honest, the second season has not been as strong as the first, but I’ll get to that a little later. The point is you should watch it, and if you can I would start with the pilot, and follow that with most of the first season. If you start with the current season you may just think it’s a show about an imaginary ridiculous suburb. And it is. But it’s smart too. And not just ridiculous.
Here’s the premise. George (Jeremy Sisto of Clueless, and I’m not really sure what he’s been up to until now) is a single dad who decides to move his daughter Tessa (Jane Levy) to the suburbs from Manhattan. Tessa is not into it. And to make matters worse, they move to Chatswin, the ultimate of suburbs: perfectly manicured lawns, Stepfordesque soccer moms in huge SUVs, McMansions on every block, and high school students who believe that charity means sending Clarisonic facial cleansers to the people of Florida (this is actually an episode plot, and it’s way better than it sounds).
It’s pretty funny to see the suburbs so highly and masterfully satirized, but that’s not what hooked me. Dallas and Dalia Royce hooked me. Well, actually Dalia hooked me, and Dallas made me keep watching.
Let me explain.
So Dalia is a blonde, vapid, spoiled blond suburban mean girl (but we later learn she has a heart, even though she cries without shedding tears) zombie. Seriously, she’s the most zombie-like character on tv right now, save those dudes on Walking Dead, or so I hear. I think she had a total of 30 words to say for the pilot and ten of them were simply, “no,” but just the way she said it… with the dead eyes of an animatronic.
So I kept watching to see if she could keep this up, and to see the next ridiculous things she would say (here’s some help with that…), and then I realized that Dallas, Dalia’s mom, is also a reason to keep watching. She is also vapid, airbrushed, botoxed and spoiled, but she’s completely irresistible. A recent hilarious quote? “You’re the strongest white woman I know- besides Pink.”
Sure Tessa and George are amusing to watch as they learn the language and attempt to acclimate to the practices of the suburban natives, but the real treat is seeing the natives in action. Like when Dallas okays Dalia getting a pet kangaroo, or prays before dinner that weight gained due to the meal be lost swiftly. Or when Dalia points out all the girls that have had nose jobs at the high school.
But if that’s not enough to get you onboard, let me just point out that Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell also play suburban natives. A recent quote gives you an idea of their relationship as obsessive stay at home mom and pushover working dad: “Are you trying to have it all? Because I thought we agreed that we’d both just have some.”
Suburgatory is wacky, and I’ll admit that now that we’re in season 2, and Tessa seems to be a part of the lifestyle she so hated before, it’s still wacky, but less compelling. But you guys have to start watching, because if they cancel it I’ll never find out if Dalia can blink.
What do you think? Have you watched Suburgatory?