TV on DVD: Suburgatory

marla pachter is stumping for one of her favorite shows…

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Suburgatory-Season1DVD

It all starts with a pack of condoms. George, a single dad finds condoms in his teenage daughter’s dresser, and makes the drastic decision to move them from the wonderful New York City they know and love, to the unknown: a rich, suburban town called Chatswin. Tessa (the teenage daughter) is understandably very upset by this change. She thinks her life is over. Once a cool city girl, in Chatswin Tessa just doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t really want to. Everyone in Chatswin kind of lives in this bubble where the biggest problems they have are not having a sky light installed yet or their neighbor stealing their amazing housekeeper, and they all naturally assume Tessa is a lesbian because of her New York style.

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As someone who grew up in the suburbs and then moved to NYC, I can really understand where Tessa is coming from. Sure, it happened the opposite way for me, but growing up in suburban Jersey I never really felt like I fit in. New York is a place where anyone can fit in, so it must be an extra harsh reality for someone to move away from that. Tessa is astounded by the way the town of Chatswin works, and how nobody seems to care about anything but short skirts, tans, and drinking copious amounts of Red Bull. It’s no picnic for George either, who is still getting used to the gruesome lifestyle of hanging out at the country club. Needless to say, anyone who has ever felt like a misfit in their life will find a way to relate to this show. (Oh hey, that’s everybody reading this? Cool.)

But that’s not the only thing about Suburgatory that will suck you in. This show is charactery to the millionth degree. Tessa Altman is a smart, willful, occasionally pretentious girl living in a world of crazy suburbanites, and Jane Levy is a complete breakout star playing her. Expect big things from this girl in the future. Then there’s Jeremy Cisto playing her dad George Altman. I was a little thrown off by Cisto at first since I’ve only seen him play crazy (Six Feet Under) and abusive (Waitress), but he does a really great job as Tessa’s dad, trying to keep a balance between being a good father and a normal person, while slowly integrating in the world of Chatswin. I also want to give a special shout out to Carly Chalkin, who plays the monotone mean girl Dalia. Despite being dumb, boring, and exactly like everyone else in Chatswin, Dalia believes that she is better and cooler than all others in existence, and delivers some of the most clever lines all without any inclination of emotion. I could honestly rave about five more characters and how great they are, but I’ll leave you with this taste for now.

Basically Suburgatory is an incredible satire of life in suburbia, taking every aspect and revealing it for how ridiculous it is, from the way sports are celebrated above all else, to the way parents buy their kids expensive cars for no good reason, to the way a respected architect can become the resident “skylight king.” And you definitely have to have a weird sense of humor, cause this show gets REAL weird. For instance, recently when Ryan Shay found out he was adopted, he became so incensed by the news that after repeating the word “adopted” more times than I can count on my fingers, he ran away into the wild, was lured into Malik’s car by eating a Starburst directly out of Malik’s hand, and changed his named to what he believed to be the exact opposite of Ryan Shay, “Eugene Goldfarb.” He even had business cards printed up. “Eugene Goldfarb: No longer living a lie.”

So yes, I love the weird humor, I love the characters, and most of all, I love how I never stop laughing. I have a tradition with this show that a friend and I take the best lines from each episode and post them on each others’ Facebook walls. I always, always have a hard time choosing. I’m just constantly amazed by the ridiculously clever lines these writers come up with and the weird situations they put these characters in. Lately every episode of Suburgatory has been complete perfection. As Tessa’s relationship with this town and the people in it evolves, the show just keeps getting better. Emily Kapnek has really created this unique, beautiful monster of a show that I highly recommend you all watch at least one episode of. That’s all it will take to hook you.

After you experience the magic, please direct my thank you letters to MarlaFanMail@notreallyasite.com. I’m very busy and my assistant will read and respond to them in due time.

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You can pick up the first season of Suburgatory on Amazon.com at this link.

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