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.