With 2 Broke Girls and New Girl already making a splash in the ratings, it was due time for ABC to debut its own smart-yet-adorable lady-led sitcom. Suburgatory, if you can’t tell by the title, is a classic fish-out-of-water story about a Lower Manhattan teenager who (unwillingly) upends her life to the suburbs. She encounters a disturbing non-variety of identical platinum blonde nympho-moms and pink-wearing, Sugarfree Redbull-drinking teens. The only thing more dead than their eyes is their souls. Or so she thinks.
It’s a very familiar scenario (Hello, Mean Girls!). After he found condoms in her drawer, Tessa’s (Jane Levy) dad George (Jeremy Sisto) panicked and bought a house in a fictional wealthy suburb outside of the city. The neighbors are nosy, the streets are quiet, and the women are an absolute nightmare for the Daria-reincarnate Tessa. “Pretty ironic that a box full of rubbers landed me in a town full of plastic,” she said.
Much of last night’s premiere focused on Tessa’s first day of school, and her eye-roll reactions to the zoo creatures she encountered. Most notable was Dalia (Carly Chaikin), the vapid queen bee bully who showed Tessa around the school as her designated buddy. “Buddies are not your friends,” she explained.
While Tessa struggled at school, George faced some shocking realities of his own. First and foremost, his friend Noah (Alan Tudyk) told the handsome single father that he was already a hot commodity for the lonely moms in town. He also met Dalia’s mom Dallas (Cheryl Hines), who woke him up to the fact that maybe his combat boots-wearing daughter might benefit from a “nice heterosexual dress shoe.” The whole thing ended in a hilarious mall sequence that found Tessa shopping for skimpy pink micro-minis along with Dalia and Dallas. “You know what else that will show off?” Tessa said. “Your vagina.” Oh, Tessa. If only Snooki had your sartorial wisdom.
The “isn’t suburbia crazy?” gags were plentiful last night. There was even a scene where a country club woman fell into a pool (texting) and instantly floated (still texting) because of her silicone-enhanced chest. Some of the jokes hit the mark, but the show won’t last if they focus too much on that ridiculata. We need to see these suburbanites as more than just one-dimensional stereotypes, or the joke will get old really fast. Luckily Hines’ bimbonic, outwardly ridiculous but ultimately charming character gave me hope that it won’t happen. Sisto and Tudyk are also very capable actors, and newcomer Levy seems to have the chops to carry this show.
I’ll certainly be tuning in next week, PopWatchers. What do you think? Will this adequately fill the devastating Cougar Town void? Six seasons and a movie?