The Mortal Instrements

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Suburgatory [2011] TV Series

When I'm usually bored, I go and surf the net for new TV series, and on September, I found out about Suburgatory, I downloaded the first episode and fell in love.

It's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen! Tessa is priceless! Jane Levy did a great job acting the part of Tessa. I know she's a redhead, but sometimes while she's acting, the way she sets her mouth reminds me a lot of Kristen Stewart.

Actually another actress does as well her name is Tresa Palmer, she starred in The Sorcerer's Apprentice and I Am Number Four.

Back to Suburgatory. Though I HATED Jeremy Sisto as Earl Hunterson in the movie Waitress. But he won me over as Tessa's father George. Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce is hilarious!! She makes me laugh so hard by just standing there with her "sleepy-dead" eyes! I adore her! And her mom Dallas Royce played by Cheryl Hines is adorably fake! I love them both!

Suburgatory is an American television series created by Emily Kapnek. The series premiered on September 28, 2011, airing on Wednesday nights at 8:30/7:30 Central following The Middle. The title is a portmanteau, developed by former CNN Senior Producer Linda Keenan, of the words "suburban" and "purgatory".

After initially ordering 11 episodes, ABC picked up Suburgatory for a full season on October 13, 2011. [YAY!!] which includes 22 episodes.

Main cast
  •     Jane Levy as Tessa Altman
  •     Jeremy Sisto as George Altman
  •     Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce
  •     Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe
  •     Allie Grant as Lisa Marie Shay
  •     Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner
  •     Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce
  •     Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay

Recurring cast
  •     Chris Parnell as Fred Shay
  •     Parker Young as Ryan Shay
  •     Abbie Cobb as Kimantha
  •     Kara Pacitto as Kenzie
  •     Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlin
  •     Maestro Harrell as Malik

The series follows a single father who decides to get away from New York City to the suburbs so he can give his 15 year-old daughter a better life after he finds an unopened box of condoms in her drawer.

However, the move to suburbs has the daughter wondering if they just entered the world of The Stepford Wives after they see how "perfect" their new locale is, right down to the neighbors who welcome them into the cul-de-sac.

Episode 1: "Pilot"
Single dad George (Jeremy Sisto) decides to move himself and and his 15-year old daughter Tessa (Jane Levy) out of New York and into the suburbs, where George hopes that the move will help him get closer with his daughter after finding a box of condoms in her drawer. However, Tessa is too horrified by all the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers, over-manicured lawns and shallow classmates to bond with her father. 

Episode 2:"The Barbecue"
Tessa finds herself attracted to her exact opposite, jock next-door neighbor Ryan Shay (Parker Young), much to the dismay of her new friend and Ryan's sister, Lisa (Allie Grant). Meanwhile, George is pressured into throwing a barbecue. 

Episode 3:"The Chatterer"
When George joins the PTA, he becomes well-liked by all the moms, which has Sheila (Ana Gasteyer) feeling threatened. Meanwhile, Tessa joins the school newspaper and with some help from fellow outcast Malik (Maestro Harrell), turns it into a tabloid-style paper. 

Episode 4: "Don't Call Me Shirley"
When Sheila's precious Shirley Temple doll collection is stolen, Tessa can't help but be amused, until she faces the consequences. Meanwhile, afraid of being burglarized themselves, Dallas (Cheryl Hines) and Dalia (Carly Chaikin) stay at the Altman's house. 

Episode 5: "Halloween"
Tessa believes she has found the perfect costume for Halloween when she channels her inner "suburban girl", but her fellow students get more of a fright when her costume reminds them of their recently "departed" classmate. Lisa and Malik attempt to exorcise Tessa to remove the former friend's spirit. George tries to help Dallas find the fun in Halloween, but receives a shock of his own when Dallas' husband Steven (Jay Mohr) returns home from his business trip. 

Episode 6: "Charity Case"
Tessa attempts to get her fellow students motivated in helping a charity, however the charity they choose to help isn't what Tessa was hoping for. So Tessa decides to introduce her classmates to a transsexual homeless person as a lesson, but the plan backfires. Meanwhile, a huge dental bill from Noah (Alan Tudyk) puts a strain on his and George's friendship. 

Episode 7: "Sweet Sixteen"
When Tessa tells Dallas that she wants a simple get together for her sixteenth birthday, Dallas convinces her to let Dalia plan the ultimate birthday extravaganza at the country club, complete with a live performance by Tessa's favorite indie band, specialty drinks and go-go cages. Noah even uses the over-the-top event to promote his dental business. Meanwhile, George throws out his back and Sheila becomes his obsessive caretaker, even though George is terrified of her. 

Episode 8: "Thanksgiving"
Tessa can't stand the thought of spending Thanksgiving in the 'burbs, so Dallas takes her for a day in the city. While out having fun, the two come across George making out with a woman, even though he said he'd be working. Tessa openly confronts George about his lying at the Royces' Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile, Sheila and Lisa are at odds over a special dress Sheila wants Lisa to wear for dinner. 

Episode 9: "The Nutcracker"
Tessa decides to reunite George and his old flame Zoe (Gloria Votsis), because she blames herself for their breakup. But George is instead captivated by Aimee (Ellen Woglom), Tessa's art teacher. George then throws a tree-trimming party, where he finds himself under the mistletoe with a special someone. 

Suburgatory: Twisted Tales from Darkest Suburbia

Book Description

October 11, 2011
Suburgatory lampoons the absurdities and contradictions that Linda Keenan has witnessed since leaving New York City, where she was a thoroughly urban CNN news producer for seven years, and settling down as a hapless stay-at-home suburban mother. The original proposal for this book was picked by Warner Brothers in 2010, and you can see their imagining of Suburgatory on the ABC show of the same title this fall.

Keenan was forced by the man in her life to leave her beloved New York City for a supposed suburban utopia. Instead she found herself trapped in a place where conformity is king, and where she often felt like she had been taken hostage by an adult Girl Scout troop. So Keenan decided to train her twisted reporter's eye on the strange inhabitants of this new foreign land. Thought of as a local town newspaper or website, Suburgatory includes “news stories” (Mom Plans School Auction During Dreary Sex) that go after the tiger moms, breastfeeding nazis, frustrated swingers, crypto-racists, barely-there dads, and power-mad principals..

In addition to the irreverent news stories, Suburgatory features faux op-ed "Shout Outs" (Let’s Do that Key Party Right the Next Time), witty advertisements (Briarcliff Academy—Educating the Stupid Rich Since 1903), and an over-the-top totally toxic advice columnist: Dr. Drama.

For more info check: 

I copied them from ABC official website for the show, so I don't own them. But I liked to share them here in my blog, Tessa's blog sounds like her! Funny and ironic.

Tessa's Blog - 9/28/2011

Since George doesn't like to hear me complain while he sleeps and I've grown a bit hoarse, I figured I’d gripe online about Chatswin. So, here's the thing about this place -- it turns people into idiots. For example, I'm blogging. I'm fifteen years old and I’m sharing my unfiltered thoughts with the world. It's a bit much, no? It is. And the only reason I feel okay about it is because of the crap my classmates are putting online. I make no pretense of being a wordsmith -- though I did just use the phrase "make no pretense of being a wordsmith" -- but these people's posts are hopeless, both intellectually and grammatically. Below are the greatest violators I could find on short notice. Bad as they are, something tells me we’re nowhere near the bottom of the barrel.

"Tissa’s a lesbian. Check the boots." Boots are not a sign of lesbianism, Dalia. If they were, every cowboy and foot soldier in history faced one hell of an uphill battle. (Aside to the reader: Dalia wrote this while I was within spitting distance. How do I know? Because she showed me the post mid-Tweet to ask if she spelled my name right. And then spelled it wrong anyway.)

"mi dog Thru up in Mi purse!!! no Dog! no! =P" I sit behind this girl in AP English. AP English. Not going to touch the mi’s because I wouldn’t know where to begin. What I will say is that a teenager owning a purse dog worries me more than a kindergartener owning a smartphone.

"Gonna dress you up in my love." I don’t know who the dressee is here, but the dresser is Mr. Wolfe, my high school guidance counselor. So that’s normal.

These took five minutes to track down. I’d dig deeper tonight, but aneurysms scare me. I miss New York.

Tessa's Blog - 10/5/2011

For all its predictability, from time to time Chatswin exhibits a real knack for surprise. And it shouldn't. It really, really shouldn't. People move here to get away from surprises – muggings, frotteurism, flashmobs. They take comfort in knowing the streets will be safe, the lawns will be watered and the housewives will be "real," which is why my encounter with Ryan Shay is so disturbing. On so many levels.

On the surface, Ryan seems like any other idiot suburban teenager -- he calls his muscles "the gun show" without irony, thinks the current president is, quote, "that dude" (he means Morgan Freeman) and has twice choked on chicken bones someone else already picked clean. No surprises yet. But somewhere slightly north of his rock hard abs and due south of his Neanderthal brain lie the lips of a spectacularly good kisser. Ugh! It's terrible!

How I came by this information isn't germane to the conversation, but please believe me when I tell you that it is true. Extremely true. Gut-wrenchingly so. Imagine, if you will, Marilyn Monroe having a child with Dizzy Gillespie (we'll call him Diz-Mon because we can) who then kissed the lips of God and studied that scene in "From Here to Eternity" from cradle to grave. Diz-Mon might -- might -- equal Ryan’s make out skills.
I don't want to obsess, but it does feel as though the suburbs should have protected me from, not ambushed me with, these events. Maybe this is Chatwin's latest attempt to try to win me over, but it only makes me more determined than ever to resist this wasteland. I shall overcome, and when I do, I will be a far stronger person. Nigh invincible. A paragon for all holycrapheswashingthecarIgottago!

Tessa's Blog - 10/12/2011

I was perfectly content spending my elective period reading in the handicapped stall. But apparently they don’t hand out grades for that. And since I didn’t have a burning desire to analyze Celebrity Rehab, I signed up for the school paper, which was its own version of sad. “The Chatswin Chronicle” and its editor Malik had a penchant for breaking stories on the cafeteria menu and other things high school students don’t care about. So I decided to liven things up by turning “The Chronicle” into “The Chatterer,” the school’s premiere gossip rag. Never again.

For a school that loves gossip, Chatswin High has no idea what qualifies. Ashton and Demi on the rocks is gossip (well, to people who care). Pamela Swifty hiding croutons in her salad is not. But this is what my life has become since creating “The Chatterer.” AP English yesterday was a flood of non-stories. Chris Kelso has snow on the mountain because his prescription dandruff shampoo stopped working. Laurel Harvey shops at thrift stores unironically. And Megan McGillicuddy just found out she has a legitimate peanut allergy, not to be confused with her fake chocolate allergy. Thank God she’s been pretending she can’t eat Rocky Road.

I’m going to right this ship before things get out of hand. After that, the school can obsess over Zoe Derr’s muffin top without me. I’ll be in study hall watching Dr. Drew help Amy Fisher make a breakthrough.

Tessa's Blog - 10/19/2011

I don’t know everyone’s feelings on crime.  I doubt most people are pro, and I would agree.  Murder, grand larceny, loitering – there are laws against them for a reason.  But the people of Chatswin really need to scale back their reactions to fit the crime. For instance, Sheila Shay calling out the entire Chatswin police department for a few moon-faced dolls carries some moral baggage of its own. It also does not count as kidnapping, despite the fact that she treats the dolls better than her own daughter.

It’s obvious that Chatswin isn’t a beacon of crime like New York City, and that’s a good thing – at least according to George.  But is there not something more productive our boys in blue can be doing?  Directing traffic, arresting loiterers, enforcing the strict “Two samples per person” rule at “The Gurt Locker.”  On second thought, their crime-solving probably isn’t honed enough to manage any of those tasks.

You see, the dolls were right under the authorities’ noses the entire time.  This wasn’t just a random figurine heist.  This was a crime of passion.  The means, motive and opportunity were all under Sheila’s own roof.  If I hadn’t been so busy trying to pin the crime on myself as a means of getting out of Chatswin, I could have solved it. Probably in twenty-two minutes.  

Tessa's Blog - 10/26/2011

If a place can build an entire festival, nay, several festivals around chowder, you’d think it would go all out for holidays.  And while that may still be true – I’ve heard they throw a wicked Election Day here – what I’ve seen of Halloween in the suburbs doesn’t bode well.

Halloween is, apologies to Kwanzaa, where a town shows its true colors.  I will shake the hand of any citizen who takes this holiday seriously.  Anyone who skins a grape to feel like an eyeball, dons a hook for a hand or jumps out of bushes to scare the hell out of kids -- put ‘er there.  Really, anything short of putting razors in apples is fair game.  But we’re talking about an entire town that puts up unicorns and candy canes.  What does that even mean?  Are we celebrating Christmastime in the Enchanted Forest?  So many mixed messages.

The frustrating thing is there’s so much potential for Halloween here.  But Dallas Royce, whose front yard could fit a haunted corn maze that would be the stuff of legends, doesn’t like to be scared.  And the entire town follows her lead.  So what was her idea of a great Halloween last year?  A dance.  Sound good?  It was called, “Let’s Boogie Man, Not Bogeyman.”  And, while I’m sure a roller-disco can be terrifying, it’s not Halloween.

I understand if Dallas doesn’t like being scared – most overly sheltered individuals don’t – but let that be her problem.  George hates chowder and you don’t see him trying to shut down its blessed festival.  So take a lesson, lady, and let us have our Halloween, or I will do everything in my power to make sure you never have another chowder.  Especially not Manhattan.

Tessa's Blog 11/2/2011

I admit I should have known better than to bring up “giving” in Chatswin when I wasn’t talking about hickeys or Christmas gifts.  But what’s happening here is out of control.  All I proposed was that the student body not dump their untouched lunches into the trash and now… now, it’s a blur of animated videos and Sarah McLachlan ballads.  Oh, and the coup-de-grace: Clarisonic Face Brushes for Floridians, courtesy of Dalia’s bogus trip to Orlando.  Why didn’t I run when she raised her hand at the assembly?  Why did I call on her?  I’m a sucker for a raised hand.

There’s so much more we could be doing.  Credit where credit’s due – at least Dalia didn’t suggest “Red Bull for the Decaffeinated” or “Nose Jobs for the Lower Class.”  But let’s dig a little deeper, people.  How about donating blankets to the homeless or volunteering at a free clinic?  Something – anything – other than cleaning Florida’s pores. Besides, I’m sure the Red Cross already has that under control.

I thought introducing my homeless transsexual friend Gladys would clear things up.  It didn’t and, again, I should have known better.  I should have expected it to make George and me Chatswin’s charity case, precisely because we don’t need to be.  It would be a stretch to say we’re well off, but we’re certainly not hurting.  And we don’t need all the items Dallas has bought on Sky Mall.  Correction: All the duplicate items she bought on Sky Mall. Although the rechargeable salt and pepper mills are quite lovely.

In the end, I figured out what to do.  So, I guess – shudder – thank you, Chatswin. Thank you for teaching me it isn’t what you give, it’s that you give.  Since I wasn’t the ideal candidate for a glow in the dark bocce ball set, I decided to give it to someone who is – Gladys.  She loves it.  And the money pawning it got her.

Tessa's Blog - 11/16/2011

As hard as it is to relate to Chatswin most days, from time to time it’s hard not to get swept up in the town’s insanity. For example, how do you turn down an offer to have your favorite band play your sixteenth birthday party? You don’t is how. It’s impossible to resist because Chatswin’s excess can have its own gravitational pull. I tried to fight the tug once Dalia, go-go dancers and a pony got involved, but – again – favorite band. At my birthday party. My. Birthday. Party. Fortunately I came to my senses once I realized it meant nothing without Lisa, Malik and George by my side, but it was a close call.

I’d like to think history won’t repeat itself next year. But just in case, I’ve drawn up plans for my seventeenth birthday and nothing will shake me from them. Actual friends will be present. Pizza is a definite. Music – there will be no music. Music is what got us here. Also, we will screen two movies. “Twilight: Breaking Dawn,” (because, holy what? That’s how they solve the pregnancy problem?!) and “A Thin Red Line” (Because if it’s good enough for Kimantha, it’s good enough for me.)

It will be a small party. It will be a simple party. And it will be eminently better than this year’s because it will be my party. I will never again choose flash over substance. As much as it’s the Chatswin way, it’s not my way.

Though, I’d still like to take my picture with a pony.

Tessa's Blog 11/23/2011

Since commentary on George’s hypocrisy will only hold so much weight with those of you who haven’t met him, I thought I’d focus instead on Thanksgiving in Chatswin.  Suburban Thanksgivings might be equally difficult to care about, but they do offer some pretty spectacular visuals worth describing.

First off, the invitations.  The tradition of gilded invitations remains alive and well thank God.  I scraped enough gold leaf off ours to buy a car.  It’s the personal reminders, though, that really make the holiday.  We had a six-foot-four Pilgrim struggle through Victorian-era English to invite us to the Royce’s dinner.  Despite the anachronism, or perhaps because of it, that’s a pretty perfect snapshot of a Chatswin Thanksgiving.

Then there’s the actual dinner.  It could be that only the Big Apple doesn’t dress as Indians or Pilgrims for the occasion, but I doubt it.   And now, whenever I think of Thanksgiving, “Founders or Feathers” will be the first thing that comes to mind.  The second will be Dallas in her size-zero Native American princess costume.  I’m not disparaging her – she was kind enough to take me to the city and have us to dinner, so I will be gracious and call her outfit tasteful.  But I would rather not have seen Dalia’s take on Pilgrim call girls.

There is more I could discuss – arguments during Thanksgiving dinner are not unique to Chatswin, passive-aggressive posturing over self-published works on Pennsylvania wine counties is – but the tryptophan is starting to kick in.  It’s worth noting, though, while my first Thanksgiving in Chatswin would have been memorable no matter what, the memories are not wholly terrible. 

Tessa's Blog 12/07/2011

It wouldn’t do anyone any favors to rehash this year’s Christmas party, so let’s not.  Let’s take what we can from the experience and move on.  Below, please find the top five lessons to be learned from the Altman Tree Trimming.

1) Lisa needs to wear more clothes. It seems a bit strange she didn’t latch onto this after Thanksgiving, but people rebel in their own ways and under-dressing/not dressing seems to be her go-to. Hopefully in time she’ll discover less pneumonia-inducing means of rebellion.

2) Don’t make Ms. Ainsley angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. Well, you would. She’s like a corgi in a huff. It’s pretty cute.

3) Juicy buns are a thing, and they’re great. The secret’s in the pork, which should be lean and lightly seared. If you try to make sticky buns, I recommend buying your pork from Joe at Chatswin Meat Market – he has an unbelievable selection – but you can ask the butcher at your local grocery store and he should be able to help you find the right cut.

4) Mistletoe doesn’t belong in the most public room of a house. People think it’s cute putting it where it will get the most foot traffic and visibility, but they’re wrong. No one should have to watch two people kiss because of a random plant. It’s weird.

5) Mr. Wolfe is a less than ideal party guest. Pushing his food on other guests, mocking our wreath, lurking in corners – I was uncomfortable for him. I don’t know how he wound up at the party – it seems entirely possible he invited himself – but he needs to scale back his social calendar until he cools down a bit.
And that’s it. If you were at the party and think I missed any lessons worth learning, please let me know, but I really think I covered just about everything. Happy Holidays!

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