What to Binge: Spend Some Time in ‘Suburgatory’

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Jeremy Sisto and Jane Levy in Suburgatory (Photo: ABC)

One of the many important life lessons imparted by Sesame Street is to always ask yourself: “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” It’s a great way to meet and get to know the people around you, from your neighbors to your local grocer peddling kale. That’s also a question that Tessa Altman (Jane Levy) — the main character of the ABC cult comedy Suburgatory, which signed off after three seasons on May 14, 2014  —repeatedly asks herself, though in a far more cynical way.

After her single dad George (Jeremy Sisto) up and moves her from the urban jungle of New York City to the fictional suburban community of Chatswin (modeled after the real Westchester ‘burb New Rochelle), Tessa struggles to adapt to her new surroundings and the various kooks and eccentrics in her immediate vicinity. During its three-season run, Suburgatory built a healthy community of fans amongst critics and audiences, who particularly appreciated the stellar supporting cast surrounding George and Tessa. If you’re looking for something smart and funny to binge, here’s a guide to some of the weirdoes who populate Tessa’s neighborhood, the people that she meets each day.

Sheila and Fred Shay (Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell)
The Saturday Night Live veterans make a great double act as buttinsky Sheila and flibbertigibbet Fred, respectively. When she’s not spying on her neighbors, Sheila tends to her vast collection of Shirley Temple dolls, a pastime that’s cute and creepy in equal measure.

Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines)
From the moment she lays eyes on her new — and newly single — neighbor, it’s clear that Dallas is totally into George, much to Tessa’s initial consternation and despite the fact that she’s married to local tycoon, Steve (Jay Mohr). By the second season, George and Dallas are sitting in the proverbial tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G, but this grounded architect and bubbly blonde might not be a match made to last.

Cheryl Hines and Jeremy Sisto (Photo: ABC)

Dalia (Carly Chaiken)
Dallas’ teen daughter is a girl of few words, or facial expressions, or vocal modulations. Though Dalia can’t be counted on to express interest in you or your life, she does provide Suburgatory with some of its most laugh-out-loud moments, often with a simple blank stare.

Eden (Alicia Silverstone)
Before he hooks up with Dallas, George spends the first season cozying up to healthy eating nut, Eden. Of course, it turns out that the real reason she’s eating so nutritiously is because she’s a surrogate mother for another Chatswin couple.

Noah Werner (Alan Tudyk)
Noah is the husband half of the husband-and-wife that have hired Eden to carry their baby to term. He’s another New York refugee, and soon finds himself leading the bachelor life as well when his wife, Jill, divorces him when he develops a crush on their maid… a leading cause of so many suburban break-ups.

Mr. Wolfe (Rex Lee)
In his first post-Entourage role, Lee starred as Suburgatory‘s high school guidance counselor, who remains perpetually cheerful in the face of Dalia’s disdain and Tessa’s snark. Though he and Tessa do have a bonding moment after she encourages him to come out as gay.

Suburgatory is available to stream on Amazon and YouTube. 

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