‘Suburgatory’ – ‘Entering Eden’: Still clueless after all these years

Senior Television Writer
04.19.12 28 Comments


A review of last night’s “Suburgatory” coming up just as soon as I have joystick-based security…

The hype for “Entering Eden” was about the “Clueless” reunion between Jeremy Sisto and guest star Alicia Silverstone. But even though George used the word “clueless” in a sentence, and even though Silverstone still does that bashful flirty smile thing that’s been part of her repertoire since she was a teen actor, most of my enjoyment wound up coming from other parts of the episode.

Though “Suburgatory” has grown a lot over this season, with last week’s episode feeling like an example of a new show that had figured itself out, the Tessa half of the show still feels stronger and more assured than the George half. That’s not so much about Sisto as about the way that the kids feel more like characters, and fit better with the exaggerated tone of the show. The adults have been more of a mixed bag on that front. George is absolutely human, and the show has managed to find enough recognizable emotion underneath Dallas’ well-maintained exterior, but the grown-up Shays are still cartoons, and outside of the Chinese take-out scene with Dalia last week, Noah’s been pretty two-dimensional. (And not even as funny as Sheila and Fred can be at times.) And too much of the George/Eden story wound up revolving around Noah and his wife. I enjoyed Sisto and Silverstone together again – even as I knew that Cher would never betray Tai (Brittany Murphy, RIP) by dating Elton – but it looks like this story is going to be tied to Noah throughout, and that’s not something I’m looking forward to.

Dalia acting out because Dallas sided with Tessa over her, on the other hand, was terrific. I love the weird, selfish, but entirely understandable logic that Dalia operates under – only Dalia would act like a promise to never sweep again was the ultimate act of selflessness – and the way that Tessa and Dalia can interact, and occasionally help each other out, without liking each other any more than they did when Tessa first moved to Chatswin. And the late ’60s/early ’70s-style cop show chase scene through Mr. Wolfe’s building was very funny, and another example of how Jane Levy absolutely commits to whatever ridiculous thing this show asks her to do. (Just check out the way she ran through that parking garage.) I was also glad that Mr. Wolfe finally got his own subplot, sort of, even though the greatest benefit of that was setting up the following Dallas/Dalia exchange upon Yakult’s return:

“But these are all homosexual boy clothes!”
“Yakult was living as a gay male dog in East Chatswin.”

One larger complaint: ABC requires all its shows to be structured in a different way from the other networks to allow for an extra commercial break. Sometimes, I don’t notice it, but last night, it felt like every segment of the show lasted about three minutes before the act break. Really choppy, really annoying, hard for any story to really get going. (Even if you fast forward through the commercials, there are still frequent breaks where you’re not watching the show itself.)

What did everybody else think?

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