Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Welcome to "Suburgatory"

Is there a more enjoyable guide through the modern jungle of suburbia than the snarky teenage girl? I present that there is not, which is probably why I found myself oddly fond of ABC's new sitcom "Suburgatory," premiering 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

In the tradition of such TV shows as "Wonderfalls," "My So-Called Life," and "Veronica Mars," "Suburgatory" features a smart and acerbic leading lady in Jane Levy. Levy plays Tessa, a New York teen who is transplanted to suburbia by her worried single dad (Jeremy Sisto. Yes, that's right. Jeremy "Clueless" Sisto is now old enough to play the dad of a teenager. Let's all feel old together for a second, shall we?).
Once there, she discovers that -- surprise! -- most of the girls her age are superficial nymphos and most of the moms are dead-eyed enablers. It's not new territory, but "Suburgatory" navigates it charmingly.
Levy is perfectly dry-witted and likable in the lead. In fact, even though her comic gifts, auburn locks and freckles make her a dead ringer for Emma Stone, she's unique enough that I will refrain from referring to her as Emma Clone. Well, maybe just that once.
I also liked that the show does allow room for its cartoons of suburban dwellers to develop into human beings. A mom played by Cheryl Hines, for example, is introduced as an indulgent shopaholic who buys her daughter tarty outfits. But we quickly learn that she's also a thoughtful person capable of giving Sisto's character some sound parenting advice.
"Surburgatory" doesn't cover much new ground as suburban satire, but it is witty and enjoyable -- which is more than can be said of most sitcoms. And Levy is a real find.


michael said...

Thanks for the excellent review! I wanted to catch this the other night but I forgot to TIVO it so I will have to put a season pass together on our TIVO and catch it next week. It looks great in the promos I've seen and even though you've mentioned it's not breaking any new ground it's still fun.

Anonymous said...

I liked it too. Watched for Jeremy Sisto. Looking forward to next week