Suburgatory Season 2 Review “How to be a Baby”

Suburgatory Season 2 Episode 15 "How to Be a Baby" (1)

Watching Suburgatory has become a class in television economy. With so many strong pieces to shift around, the show has been forced to pick and choose its spots this season. Entire episodes will pass without the appearance of characters that established a prominent role in the opening season. While some absences have been notable, they’ve been noticeable not because of the weakness of the episode content, but rather the strength of the characters not involved in the episode. Therefore, you may have missed Ryan Shay when he hasn’t been around, but the show typically used the episode to tell stories about other characters equally charming (if it’s possible) as young Ryan. His absence not only made the heart grow fonder, but served the greater good.

Which is why the decision to focus the A story on the Werner-Carmen love triangle is puzzling at best. The show has always struggled to tell compelling stories about the adults in Chatswin, but this story isn’t even one worth telling. Noah and Jill Werner have been nothing but cartoons for the entirety of the series run. Noah may be George’s old friend, but he functions more as an intermediary between George and Chatswin. He real details of friendship are either not present or get lost in the shuffle. Jill Werner has come from the place where all self-involved suburban TV mothers come from. To suddenly ask us to take these people and their relationship seriously is too much. We can’t understand Noah’s obsession, and we will never feel sorry for Jill. There was not enough legwork done before this storyline to make it pay off for viewers. For a show that remains spot on with so many of its cultural representations, Emily Kapnek and the writers of Suburgatory have shown the propensity to misfire badly on occasion (Eve, anyone?).

In addition to the Werners, the show continues to try to make us care about Mr. Wolfe. Watching the school guidance counselor be continually mentored by teenage girls has proven to be exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. Tonight, it was Dalia’s turn to aid Mr. Wolfe in his recovery from his Chef Alan breakup. While I’m sure it will have plenty of fans, Dalia’s “dry cry” missed the mark for me. Dalia typically does great work in her spot duty, but I can’t help but miss the days when she was the yang to Tessa’s yin. Just because their parents are dating doesn’t mean Dalia can’t still make fun of her.

Overall, it was a very sub-par night for Suburgatory. Its drop below its usual standard was not so much a problem of execution, but an issue of story choice. Sometimes, a one-sided romance between a dentist and his former housekeeper doesn’t make for compelling television.