TV Review: “Suburgatory” Season 3 – Slow and steady wins the race?

Written by Hana Elniwairi March 12, 2014

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Synopsis

“Suburgatory” is an ABC sitcom starring Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto as father-daughter duo, Tessa and George, who move away from New York after George finds a box of condoms in his daughter’s room. Where do they move to? Nice, quiet Chatswin . . . which they find out is not quite so nice.

Revamp Everything …. just kidding!

Season 3 of “Suburgatory” opens with everyone in the show trying to revamp their lives after dealing with break-ups, children and parents leaving, and so on. The first episode of the season was interesting, as George and Tessa nearly decide to move back to New York. Obviously, knowing what the show’s premise is, we realise right away that they’re not going to move. However, the reasoning is interesting: Tessa decides to stay in Chatswin because she doesn’t want to be like her mother, who leaves all the time. The Altmans decide that Chatswin may have changed them, but they would walk among these people without becoming them. There is a hint of Tessa coming to accept that there’s more to Chatswin than meets the eye, and it’s an interesting concept to explore.

……except they don’t.

Tessa pretty much reverts to Season 1 Tessa, grumbling about Chatswin and how fake everyone is, how she’s so much ‘realer’ than everyone there. It feels like there’s not much growth. We’re back where we started. Although last season, a lot was done, and so much changed and blossomed -sometimes too quickly!- this season feels stagnant thus far, and Tessa is a prime example of that.

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Daddy Altman & Dallas

Let’s shift to the next Altman here, one who’s doing better in terms of character development. I’ve always thought George was the stronger and more interesting character, maybe because he’s really funny, but also because his flaws aren’t resolved right away. It takes time, with George. Take his relationship with Dallas. While at first, he seems like he’s doing fine, we learn soon that it was just a front, and now that he’s stuck in Chatswin, George turns into the worst post-break-up wreck ever, but every now and then, he’s fine again. It might be worth it to spend some time with each of those states, and see a more natural progression, but at the moment, we’re just getting glimpses as it suits the episodic plot.

I wish “Suburgatory” would spend more time with any of their storylines in general. It feels like they’re holding out on important plot developments, like how and whether Dallas and George will ever get back to being friends, maybe even rekindle their romance. Or the rivalry between Dalia and Tessa, which comes and goes, and never really boils over. It feels like we’re waiting for something epic to happen, and so far, the show is just simmering. It’s not bad; it’s got the witty humour and whacko jokes about Chatswin’s strange, strange people. But nothing much is happening. It’s almost like “Suburgatory” is hoping to play it safe until the end of the season, but what they want out of it is unclear. A new season? A mild, non-disastrous ending? Possibly, but at this rate, they most definitely won’t avoid a disappointing one.

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Overall, season 3 of “Suburgatory” is not severely misguided, nor is it extremely exciting and full of twists and turns like its predecessor. I wish more would happen, but for what it is, “Suburgatory” delivers some solid laughs and interesting storylines. It might be better if some of those were carried through and explored better; who knows, with seven episodes left, maybe that will happen.

My Rating: 7/10

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About Hana Elniwairi

Hana is a student at UWO, studying Psychology and Creative Writing. She enjoys watching movies and TV, no matter how much she complains about them or claims otherwise.

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