Season finale review – ‘Suburgatory’: ‘The Motherload’

05.17.12 6 years ago 41 Comments


A review of the “Suburgatory” season finale coming up just as soon as I club a stuffed seal…

“The Motherload” featured a bunch of things about the show that have frustrated me throughout the season, but it also featured some of the things that made “Suburgatory” one of the TV’s best new shows. It wasn’t a perfect finale, but it was an excellent summation of what this show has done this year.

I’ve never enjoyed the cartoonish excesses of Chatswin nearly as much as Emily Kapnek does, unfortunately. It’s worked with Dallas, who manages to be simultaneously oblivious and empathetic, but Noah and Jill, and to a lesser extent the adult Shays, tend to come across as sociopaths. So when you add that horror-show nursery to all the over-the-top Mother’s Day celebrations(*), then throw the grating Eden into the mix, you’ve got an episode where I was cringing much more than I should have.

(*) Though the reveal about why Sheila is such a big James Ingram fan was funny.

And yet Jane Levy and Allie Grant were so excellent in their various emotional moments – Tessa getting rejected by the Village Voice, Lisa figuring out that Ryan is the adopted one, and then Tessa finally dealing with her mother’s absence from her life (and contemplating the idea that her mother might also be her ticket out of this stupid town) – that the good ultimately outweighed the bad with this one. “Suburgatory” at its best finds a way to blend honest emotion with smart comedy. “The Motherload” didn’t do a whole lot of that, as most of the jokes were in the far more problematic adult half of the show, but it demonstrated once again how well the show has drawn these kids.

Hopefully, the show returns in the fall with enough of a time jump that Eden will have returned to Montana, and I wouldn’t exactly object to Noah and Jill joining her on that bus out of town. At a minimum, if the show wants to make a creative leap from season one to season two, it has to figure out how to make its adult characters as human as the high schoolers.

What did everybody else think?

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