Suburgatory

My apologies for the length of time since my last column. I had some surgery, and then I got an infection and I've been pretty much just working, sleeping or studying since then. But I'm going to squeeze in a little column this week, before getting busy with midterms.

Have you seen a new show called Suburgatory? Did it seem super familiar? Pastel houses in a plastic suburb, filled with weird plastic people, and our protagonists, who don't fit in. The suburbanites are obsessed with sex, poking their noses into each other's businesses and buying and wearing ridiculous clothes. There is a set of ironclad rules that are incomprehensible to the outsiders and to us, the viewers.

What is missing to make this familiar setting complete? A castle on the hill and a boy with scissors for hands.

I've seen two episodes of Suburgatory so far and I feel like they've taken the worst half of Edward Scissorhands and made it onto a sitcom, leaving poor Edward and the castle to molder away on the hill all alone. (Also there isn't any fun topiary in Suburgatory.)

The basic premise of the show doesn’t make sense to me. Dad (named George) freaks out when he finds condoms in his teenage daughter's possession, uproots the entire family, and whisks them off to the pastel foothills of Scissorshandlandia. Does he think there are no boys in the suburbs? Has he never heard all the ridiculous urban legends about the sexual hijinks that suburban teens are supposed to get up to? Pregnancy pacts, rainbow rings, etc, etc. Why not just go whole hog and ship her off to a nunnery? Or how about being sensible, commending her for having protection and then talking about safer sex and whether Tessa (the daughter) is really ready for sex? Logic is entirely missing from this series.

I'm also weirded out by all the gender conformity and homophobia. The jokes about lesbians and a gay couple, none of whom are actually gay, could be straight out of Three's Company, a show that made me grit my teeth when I was a teenager myself. As people fight for basic civil rights in many of our states and queer teens commit suicide after being bullied, do we really need to hear this kind of garbage? I think not.

Why did I watch this show at all? Because I really enjoy Alan Tudyk, who has a fantastic sense of comedic timing as seen in Firefly and Serenity, possibly his two best known roles. Other actors who have been hilarious in various roles are Cheryl Hines, of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, and Ana Gasteyer, an SNL alum. Both of these actresses play caricatures of suburban moms. You can get an idea of what they're like by checking out their twitter feeds. http://twitter.com/#!/mrssheilashay http://twitter.com/#!/DallasRoyce I think it's sad that there's so much talent in this show and so little comedy.

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is from Craig Thompson, who wrote Blankets, one of the most amazing graphic novels I've ever read. He illustrates the Owl and the Pussycat, which has one of my favorite words, runcible, and tells the tale of forbidden love between two predators. The drawings are gorgeous. http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/10/nursery-rhyme-comics-the-owl-and-the-...