ABC sitcom from Emily Kapnek, formerly of Parks and Recreation. The show revolves around sixteen-year-old Tessa Altman and her father, George, who have just moved from New York City to the affluent suburb of Chatswin.The series takes place not long after Tessa's father does a search and seizure of her bedroom. He searched her room, found an unopened box of condoms, and promptly had a seizure. He decides to get them both away from New York City so he can give her a better life. And what better place to get away to than suburbia?Tessa takes this as well as you might expect.First aired on ABC September 28, 2011, and airs on E4 in the UK/Ireland.The title is rather obviously a portmanteau of suburb and purgatory.The series took some inspiration (mostly the title) from a memoir by Linda Keenan, Suburgatory: Twisted Tales from Darkest Suburbia.Now has an incomplete character sheet.
Artistic License - Geography: The show's map suggests Chatswin is either in south-western Connecticut or the adjacent areas of Westchester County. Yet, culturally, it has far more in common with some parts of Long Island or New Jersey than it does with either Greenwich or Port Chester.
Berserk Button: Learning that he's adopted causes Ryan to go insane and attack his family in their car, followed up by him questioning the reality of everything around him (such as a light pole and a parking meter)...by punching them
George thinks Dallas is flirting with him using this trope but it turns out that it's just how she eats bananas.
Expy: You could think Dalia is Regina George mixed with Karen, while Dallas is a less embarrassing Mrs George, and Tessa is essentially Cady. However, Tessa is much more aggressive, self-confident and ambitious than Cady, and Dalia is very open-minded for some things and less manipulative. On the other hand, Tessa also has a striking resemblance to Ginger from As Told by Ginger, which was also created by Emily Kapnek.
Lethal Chef: Well, Lethal Smoker, technically, with the "friendship fish" Lisa smoked in her closet with her dad's home smoker. It gives Tessa food poisoning so bad she needs to go to the hospital, as apparently "you're only supposed to smoke fish for four hours, not four weeks."
Then Tessa does it again with an undercover narcotics officer. Though this is subverted with Mr Wolfe
Mommy Didn't Show: Subverted in Season 2's Thanksgiving episode. Alex doesn't show up to Tessa's grandma's apartment where she and Tessa are expecting her... because she showed up in Chatswin where she thought Tessa would be. It ends up working out in the end, though.
My Beloved Smother: Sheila attempts to be this for Tessa (and, when his back gives out, George). Ironically, she doesn't seem to give a crap about her own daughter.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Tessa, with Josh, the undercover narc investigating steroid use in the school. Tessa infers that the secret he's keeping is that he's still in the closet, while Josh think she knows he's a narc.
Josh: Oh my God, you do know. You can't out me. Nobody's ever figured it out before. Tessa: Wouldn't it be better if everyone knew and it was out in the open? Josh: Are you kidding? That would ruin me. So Ryan is not my guy, is there anybody else worth checking out? Tessa: I do have the sneaky suspicion of Dave Donsky, school quarterback. Josh: Got it, I'll sniff around, see what he's into.
The Tessa / Dalia interaction rings very similar to Mean Girls.
Tessa's narration in the third episode is also similar to Cady's narration, where the two of them compare the high school and suburbia to the Animal Kingdom.
Mr Wolfe's reference to undercover narc Josh's presence being "just like 'The Wire'!" is a twofer SO: first, to Twenty One Jump Street; second, Maestro Harrell (who plays Malik) is a real-life Wire alumnus.
Malik is a snitch. Chalk up one more Randy Wagstaff reference.
In one episode, George compares his and Dallas's relationship with Scully and Mulder's. At the end of the episode, Dallas is watching the X-Files, wishing Mulder would kiss her Scully.