Life can be a drag when you're watching the same old family-centric television program week after week. Always the same issues, the same jokes, the same mundane family, but with different character names. If you're looking for outside of the box, something to break the monotony up of those cookie cutter programs, you're in need of a trip to Chatswin for a hell of a good time with the hit television show Suburgatory. This quaint town is anything, but quiet and the precarious residents never miss a moment to prove just that. Tessa and George Altman most definitely did not assimilate into the community with ease and savoir-faire in season one of this sinfully delightful show, and they still are on shaky ground. But every Wednesday night on ABC viewers get treated to a fun filled journey as if they were a resident of Chatswin as well, and just like resident Dallas -- they are simply tickled pink about it!
Whenever I watch Suburbatory I fall in love with a different character each week. Sometimes I find myself in a tug of war over whom my favorite character is or who I wish I was best friends with! Charismatic and outgoing Dallas, played by the vivacious Cheryl Hines, has a heart of gold and locks of hair to match! She has sweet intentions, but sometimes gives mixed messages with her malapropisms. She's eager to please (in her over-the-top way), but it's all in the pursuit of her happiness. There is her precocious daughter Dahlia, who at times is robotic (both in mannerisms and regurgitating mindless comments) and other times is brash and brazen. What she says is what's important and usually it can be like mother, like daughter. Dahlia seems like your classic popular girl trying to put everyone else down, but the way she delivers these cunning snipes you can feel the chill through the television screen. That credit goes to the phenomenal acting of Carly Chaikin who is on another level. She can be the perfect ice queen or dead pan comic, she's got the best of both worlds! Another queen of screen (and the heart of the show) is the incomparable Jane Levy who has become a magnificent stand out on the show. Quick wit, sarcasm, and charm are all a part of her arsenal which she keeps in her bag of tricks. Levy 's mix of smug and above it all attitude as Chatswin's transplanted Tessa is a recipe for laughs and endearment.
Then, there is the sexy neighborhood boy Ryan Shay (Parker Young) who has rugged good looks, but the brain size of about a pea. He is the most popular guy at school because he excels at everything involving athletics. He's even the favorite child at home and this torments his perpetually overlooked underdog sister, Lisa, played by the beguiling Allie Grant. I originally adored from a similar role she had on the show Weeds where her character Isabelle was tortured by her mother much like her character is on Suburgatory. Only this time it isn't by the fierce Elizabeth Perkins, it's by the remarkable Ana Gasteyer who portrays Sheila Shay. Paired with the cool Chris Parnell as Fred, this parental gruesome twosome seems to delight in putting down poor Lisa and always providing her with the short end of the stick. Luckily, Lisa knows from time to time you have to fight fire with fire.
What's also endearing is the magnificent showcase of the father-daughter relationship that is portrayed between Tessa and George (the seemingly ageless Jeremy Sisto). These two display a bond that is unlike any other currently on television (maybe only likened to that of past hit show Gilmore Girls). There is trust, care, consideration, and encouragement. It's about the two navigating their life together and not at odds with one another. This positive and loving relationship allows viewers to realize that while father may not always know best, their intentions are usually from the best place in their heart. Sisto and Levy have easy chemistry that draws the viewer in and makes them feel like they are part of raising father and daughter. The Altmans are a family you root for and wish were a part of your neighborhood.
A heavy dose of escapism, quirkiness, and phenomenal writing keep this show crisp as well as viewers on their toes and in stitches. A unique mix oddball supporting characters and a dose of lightheartedness make Suburgatory the perfect midweek fixture. The whole family can watch and learn a loving lesson week after week. This show is a "Hump Day" treat that can tickle your funny bone and give you plenty to talk about the next day at school or over the water cooler at work. Make your home in Chatswin and don't be afraid to meet the neighbors! Never miss a moment of this hypnotic show because from start to finish it's a clever look at the suburban perils and jungle.
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