As I mentioned in last week’s review of Suburgatory, I was pretty excited about the possibilities of the Tessa and Ryan relationship. In particular, I was excited because I knew their union meant spending more time at Chatswin High School. Suburgatory has often turned the denizens of Chatswin into caricatures of actual people, but the storylines that ran through the school were always deeper than the actors playing Chatswin’s richest and emptiest. However, the best part of the scenes set at the high school is Jane Levy. She’s exceptional in her ability to carry scenes with these dopes while still allowing those same dopes to teach Tessa a lesson on occasion. Furthermore, Levy continues to demonstrate a mastery in facial expressions. She has a wide range of expressions, but every one is always spot on for the scene.
Her scenes with the football girlfriends in tonight’s show showcased a lot Levy’s comedic abilities, but it also showed the increasing maturity of the show. It’s easy to watch Suburgatory and conclude the dopes that populate Chatswin deserve every snarky comment and eyeroll given by Tessa Altman. However, the show cleverly played with shades of gray tonight by acknowledging Tessa is witty, intelligent, and kind, but she’s also rather smug and negative. Despite possessing these qualities, she is accepted by the football girlfriends. Granted, her acceptance was predicated on coupling with the tender lover himself, Ryan Shay, but all groups have their admission requirements.
It may have seemed innocuous, but it’s an important step in the evolution of the show. Yes, these people are ridiculous and probably shouldn’t huff glitter pens to make the time go by faster, but they are also fairly decent people. It’s good to see Tessa take some shots for behaving as if she is too good for them. Suburgatory is usually good when it is attacking typical high school stereotypes. It may not do it on the level of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it’s not hard to imagine Buffy is Tessa’s spirit animal (whatever that means).
Overall, it was a very humorous, and well done, episode of Suburgatory. It had many wonderful moments, and we didn’t even address Sheila Shay singing “Barracuda”. So much to love tonight.
What did everyone else think of tonight’s episode?