Suburgatory provides audiences with a comic look at the lives of the suburban upper class through the eyes of single father George Altman (Jeremy Sisto) and his daughter Tessa (Jane Levy). When George discovers a pack of condoms in Tessa’s room, he moves with her out of the city into the suburbs where he hopes she can begin a better life. Tessa, however, struggles to fit in. The girls in her school shun her and label her a lesbian because she fails to adopt their trendy dress code. Because of their treatment, she ends up spending much of her time reading and hiding in the school bathroom. Watch Suburgatory online to see how things develop.
With time, however, she begins to climb the social ladder. She joins the school newspaper and becomes more popular after working with fellow editor Malik (Maestro Harrell) to publish salacious gossip in its pages. She also makes friends with one of her neighbor’s named Lisa (Allie Grant). This friendship is jeopardized when Tessa falls for Lisa’s handsome but rather unintelligent brother Ryan (Parker Young).
Tessa also faces challenges in other areas of her life. Her father begins a flirtation with her neighbor, Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines). Dallas is kind to Tessa, but her insipid daughter Dalia (Carly Chaikin), a vicious pageant queen, stops at nothing to make life difficult for Tessa. Tessa stands up to Dalia and eventually helps a “mini Lena Dunham” to beat Dalia’s prodigies in a beauty pageant, but the two continue to clash through the entire series.
Tessa’s relationship with Ryan is also fraught with problems. Not only does Lisa oppose it, but Tessa herself is unsure of it. She tries to tell herself not to pursue a relationship that is based only on looks and not on an intellectual connection, but she can’t seem to stay away from Ryan. The couple also has a falling out when Tessa accuses Ryan of being dishonest with her. Eventually, Ryan decides to pursue another girl named Julie. Even though he is dating Julie, he remains attracted to Tessa and the two shock much of Suburgatory by engaging in a passionate public make-out session toward the end of the last season.
George also struggles to adjust to life in Suburgatory. He is sought after by many neighborhood women, but some of their attentions are unwelcome. One neighbor, Sheila (Ana Gasteyer), constantly invites George and his family to dinner. They desperately try to avoid her casseroles. George dates several women; however, he keeps coming back to his on-again-off-again relationship with Dallas. At one point, he even pens a song about her and performs it at a bar during open-mic night.
Neighbors and Friends
Many of George and Tessa’s friends and acquaintances go through their own struggles. Her friends Lisa and Malik get married after Lisa proposes to Malik in an awkward way, but their relationship becomes strained when they believe that as a married couple they have to share everything, including the same Monopoly pieces. Meanwhile, George’s best friend Noah (Alan Tudyk) gets into a spat with Dallas after Dallas hires his maid Carmen away from him. He begins hiring staff away from her to get even, including her dog walker despite the fact that Noah does not own a dog.
George, Noah and their neighbor Fred (Chris Parnell) all seem to struggle with maturity. Although they all eventually have children of their own, they spend a great deal of time pursuing teenage fantasies. At one point, they form a band called Fathers of Mass destruction, which produces hilarious results in terms of both music and costumes.
At the end of the series, many of the characters do some growing up. Dalia comes to terms with the fact that her poor grades will not earn her admittance into the one college she has applied for. After trying jobs in food service and a mechanic’s shop, she attempts to become a sugar baby for an old and unappealing man. Dallas saves her from this fate by getting her a job selling belts in a boutique. Tessa grows up more than she ought to by joining a senior’s quilting group in order to get over the pain of losing Ryan. Later, after coming to terms with her feelings for Ryan, Tessa begins looking forward to college.
While investigating one university, she learns to like a college boy she resented at first. George, meanwhile, begins to prepare for life without Tessa, while helping Fred learn to be a better father to his foster son, Victor Ha (Bryson Barretto). Fred grows from a man planning a “mancation” involving paintball and naked women to a father who tries to go camping and who is content to play go fish with Victor and his two friends, George and Noah.
A Happy Ending in Suburgatory?
While at the start of the series, Tessa looked down on Suburgatory and focused on the flaws of its Botox-injected, superficial residents, she comes to value many of them and to appreciate some of their most positive traits. She experiences kindness from Dallas and Sheila, friendship with Lisa and Malik and romance and heartbreak with Ryan. The residents of Suburgatory, who once looked down on Tessa also learn that she is a force to be reckoned with. Dalia, for instance, sees that she is a capable rival after Tessa campaigns to have “go-go juice” taken out of the beauty pageant and leaves all of Dalia’s prodigies too tired to compete. Dalia, in fact, cries for the first time in her life after the loss. Watch Suburgatory online to learn more.