When it comes to television, I am an admirer of shows that can show restraint. Shows that come across fun storylines have a tendency to run it into the ground as fast as possible. In addition, too many television shows have taken interesting concepts and turned them into the most generic form of a television trope. That being said, shows that practice restraint with their storylines see an increased shelf-life for the story and create more interesting angles than they would have created by just jumping in full force. When it comes to the idea of restraint, I really have to applaud what Suburgatory did tonight.
At the moment, the show has two budding romances. Ryan and Tessa are in a different stage than George and Dallas, but they are no less interesting of a couple to explore. With George and Dallas, it would be disappointing to watch them fall into the similar trappings of other pairs that have coupled during a show’s run. I was genuinely concerned when Dallas found her “joint decor” in George’s trash, but I was glad it didn’t materialize as a potential riff between the couple. I don’t expect it to be smooth sailing for the couple for the duration of the series, but I like to think that Suburgatory is a smart enough comedy to avoid the typical moronic arguments that occur between couples on lesser series. It’s almost like they were winking at us by going halfway into the “classic misunderstanding” waters before pulling back smugly.
While I’m hoping George and Dallas can avoid the typical nonsense of a comedy couple, I think Ryan and Tessa’s relationship has the chance to say a lot of interesting things about both characters. If nothing else, it will be quite charming to watch two teenagers in decidedly different circles date each other. Suburgatory has had a lot of fun with different high school moments and how they are different for teenagers at different levels of the social hierarchy. Now, with people from two different levels potentially dating, the show has the opportunity to say some interesting things about the high school experience. Tessa’s high school experience has been mostly used as a joke well, but her first substantial relationship (again, potentially) as a young woman could make the high school a place to say some provocative things. The show has proven it’s not scared of showing heart and making statements about various aspects of teenage and adult life. Ryan and Tessa’s relationship will only provide another opportunity to do it.
*Some quick hits because the show had so many enjoyable little moments
*Jane Levy is a really good sport. She’s game for whatever nonsense the show wants her to do. As a result, scenes that should be just dumb end up being funny because she sells it so hard. Watching Levy play a drugged out Tessa confronting Fred in her kitchen was hilarious. Don’t pay attention to the content, focus on Levy’s expressions. Great work by her in this episode.
*Junior Secretaries know how to party.
*I’m not normally a Sheila Shay fan, but when she’s in menacing busy-body mode instead of manic, overbearing mother, she becomes tolerable.
*Suburgatory‘s Homeland obsession is becoming a thing. The lesson: White people love Homeland.
What did everyone else think of tonight’s episode?