Best Episode of the Season: Suburgatory Season 2

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Season Analysis: Oh boy, Suburgatory, when you’re at your best, you’re one of the best sitcoms on TV– Nay! THE best sitcom on TV– Nay! THE best show on TV.  Too bad you’re also the most inconsistent show not created by Ryan Murphy.

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“The Wishbone”
Maybe Suburgatory should only do holiday episodes from here on out, as that is where the show has found its most consistent success, especially with Thanksgiving.  The Season 1 turkey episode was its first great half-hour, while “The Wishbone” was the best of the series thus far, and one of the best episodes of any show in 2012.  As Tessa became interested in meeting her mother, she started to discover how similar she was to her, and when that meeting finally happened, but almost didn’t happen, that similarity started to scare her.  But for the moment, she was happy to let things be and just lie down in the here and now.  The shot of Tessa and Alex on the floor of Tessa’s bedroom was perhaps the most beautiful shot on television of the year.  Malin Åkerman may just have done the best work of her career in this episode.

Honorable Mentions: In the 2-part season finale of “Apocalypse Meow” and “Stray Dogs,” every major plot of the season came to a cathartic, sometimes violent, head.  It eschewed literal truth for emotional truth with a wild, expressionistic pastiche.

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Best Episode of the Season: Suburgatory Season 1

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Season Analysis: Suburgatory is much, much weirder than it appears to be at first glance (or perhaps just as weird as it appears to be if all you have seen is one random, particularly weird moment), and it has taken that weirdness all the way to being the best new sitcom of the season.

“Down Time”

All of the main characters of Suburgatory had moments to shine in “Down Time,” and the most fascinating moments came courtesy of none other than Dalia Royce.  Dalia is unlike any other seemingly vapid teenage girl in the history of high school movies and TV shows: her superficiality is expressed in truly bizarre fashion, and she is actually occasionally quite clever.  And as “Down Time” proved, she is also capable of legitimate emotions, but in Suburgatory’s patently weird fashion, that emotion was introduced in a therapy session (with James Lipton playing the therapist, natch) in which Dalia confronted her nemesis – Yakult … the dog, whom she blamed for her parents’ divorce.  But it is not like Suburgatory cannot express its emotions in a more normal way as well, as Cheryl Hines went for broke as Dallas Royce by way of breaking down while mattress shopping over the realization that her marriage truly was over.
“Down Time” also found some happy moments, as Lisa announced that she had finally taken Malik as a lover.  Lisa’s moments with her mother upon the news coming out were a precious comic delight from Allie Grant and Ana Gasteyer, with Sheila reminding her daughter that Arthur Fonzarelli is fictional and lamenting the fact that she does not fully understand her since she is a “tweenager.”  This storyline also allowed Suburgatory to show off its strangely hip side regarding gender and race, with Lisa reassuring Tessa that the two of them will remain like “Thelma and that other ho” and Sheila commenting Malik by telling him that he is like a list of random black people, for which Malik is happy to play along to, saying that he “gets that a lot” in regards to Montel Jordan.