Review: ‘Suburgatory’ – ‘How to Be a Baby’

A quick review of last night’s “Suburgatory” coming up just as soon as I write to your AOL address…

Somewhere along the way in season 2, “Suburgatory” went from a show I tried to write about every week to one where I let the episodes pile up on my DVR while I focus on other things. I think there have been some miscalculations in this season – notably in the George/Dallas relationship and the impact it’s had on the structure of the show – but mostly it just feels like “Suburgatory” is what it is, and that it will occasionally knock an episode like “The Wishbone” or “Chinese Chicken” out of the park, but will for the most part be a stew of mismatched ingredients, some of them working much better than others.

Fienberg and I discussed the show a bit on this week’s podcast, and one of the issues we’ve both had with the season is the way that George/Dallas has not only stripped away most of Dallas’ likable qualities from the first season (the diva-to-sensible ratio is way out of whack), but has really minimized the number of George/Tessa scenes, when that relationship should always be the heart of the show. “How to Be a Baby” wasn’t a great episode – it would be hard to be, when focusing so much on Noah and Jill, even though Noah is just silly and Jill is briefly humanized at the end – but at least it offered up that scene in the middle where father and daughter sat at the table and talked about what was going on in Tessa’s life. More of that, please.

Beyond that, the only memorable part of “How to Be a Baby” was Dahlia’s dry cry, which was another example (like her “Send in the Clowns” at Marty’s memorial) of Carly Chaikin taking a joke that could have really gone anywhere and doing something really original and creepy and hilarious with it. Dalia’s been backgrounded a bit this season with the ascendance of Ryan Shay, but I think she probably works better in small doses anyway, and often winds up delivering the biggest laugh of each episode.

What did everybody else think, both of last night’s episode and of where the show stands creatively late in season 2?