Episode 9: Junior Secretary's Day
By: Carlos Uribe
Suburgatory is a show about a teenage girl who is stuck in her version of hell, the suburbs.
There is something that this episode made me realize. It's the scene where Ryan is at Lisa's bedroom and he's giving her a sock helmet to deal with the pain. It's such a sweet scene where Ryan's crush towards Lisa leads to a conversation where she admits that her kiss meant something but that Ryan and her are complete opposites. It's at that moment that I realized that I really want them to get together. It's very rare to make me a “shipper” since I could care less about most television couples. There are a few that make me care and it appears that Tessa and Ryan is now one of them. The two might not be perfect on paper but they really are perfect for each other. The show is pushing towards the two of them getting together and it's actually a good idea. When the series first began, pairing Tessa with Ryan was a stroke of genius because her reasons for dating him revealed a critical superficial and hypocritical side to the protagonist. Now it looks like she's actually developing feelings for him despite having nothing in common with him. As she has been slowly won over by Ryan's naive charm, I've been slowly converting to wanting them to actually be a couple. I'm not sure if it will actually last but I can't wait until they actually come together. As for Tessa's actual plot? She doesn't really have one. She has her wisdom teeth pulled out which leads to some hilarious scenes where she believes in an alien conspiracy to steal our teeth. When Noah pulls back on the pain medication, Tessa and Ryan talk about where she is in regards to him. It's an honest conversation that strikes just the right chords in sentimentality. Her conversation at the end with Dallas was also great for two reasons. The first is that the series subverts expectations when Tessa reveals to Dallas that she's the one who threw away the gift, undermining the sit-com trope of causing romantic tension through silly misunderstandings. The second is that it allows Dallas to tell Tessa that sometimes what's on paper is different from reality. Tessa and Ryan might not in theory work together but in reality they might be perfect for each other. This is just how like Dallas and George-two opposites attracted to each other.
Tessa might not have really had a plot but Fred did. He's been demoted to Junior Secretary which means he couldn't win Salesman of the Year Award. Since he's won it for the past four years, he pretends to have gotten it again so that his family remains proud of him. This causes him to hide out in George's home in the basement instead of going to a trip that he claims to have won. It's funny but it also speaks to what's important to the character. Fred is possibly the least defined of the Shay family but he's always been a loving family man who wants them to like him. He's always worked to please his wife because she can be strict but because he also loves her. He might be scared of her immediate reaction to being demoted but he's also terrified because it might mean that she loves him less. In some ways, he feels very insecure in his relationship when actual obstacles in his life come up. The end reveals that Sheila might know about the promotion (or she really was just wishing him a Happy Junior Secretary's Day) which shows that she might have already accepted the demotion-making her to be more forgiving than she might let on. The Fred plot is a bit silly but it helps to actually add definition to a character whose otherwise just been a bit player in his own family.
Junior's Secretary Day was a great episode because it made me realize how much I want Tessa and Ryan to be together and because it really helped define Fred's insecurities. Also, it was funny as hell.