Ladies Be Filmin’: ABC’s Suburgatory

The fall TV season is underway and, despite the ever-lower numbers of women in the writers’ rooms, it’s being hailed as the year of the women: 17 out of the 25 new scripted shows on the Big Five networks are female-centered and many were created by women. In this series, comedian Leila Cohan-Miccio watches the new female-centered shows and evaluates how realistic their portrayals of women actually are. Today, Suburgatory

Is Mean Girls one of your favorite movies? If so, then Suburgatory just might be your new favorite TV show. The show, which follows Manhattan teen Tessa (Jane Levy, doing her best Emma Stone) after her father, George (Jeremy Sisto from Clueless, apparently now old enough to have a teenage daughter, which is information that makes me want to die), moves their two-person family from Manhattan to the suburbs.

The suburbs, of course, are a total nightmare in a very Real Housewives of New Jersey way: the moms are plastic (down to the boobs), the daughters wear garments that probably don’t legally qualify as skirts, and the dudes (both dads and sons) are wholly uninteresting. Jane is determined not to like it, but neighbors like Dallas (Cheryl Hines, killing it!) are set on changing her mind.

There are some quibbles with the show — as anyone who’s ever spent a day shopping on the Upper East Side can attest, Manhattan is also full of plastic people, and though the show purports to depict general suburbia, it’s actually a more specific super-rich fancy town. Despite those nitpicks, however, Suburgatory is one to watch for sure. The relationship between Tessa and George is delightful: though they don’t always get along, they genuinely seem to like each other. The jokes are fast and solid (we especially enjoyed Dallas referring to a neighbor’s “utay-tay” instead of uterus). To be honest, the whole thing is worth watching if for no other reason than Dallas: plastic but extraordinarily well-intentioned and secretly sharp, she is, hopefully, a predictor of the smart, sweet show Suburgatory will become.

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