Episode 17: Eat, Pray, Eat
By: Carlos Uribe
Suburgatory is a show about a teenage girl who is stuck in her version of hell, the suburbs.
I think Suburgatory is stuck in a narrative rot and it needs to shake up the status quo soon. I wanted George and Dallas to get together but every single plot has become about their relationship but the writers haven't had anything to say for weeks now. Case in point is this episode. George celebrates his birthday at a Chinese restaurant. Dallas gives him a guitar signed by a band member he's not too familiar with and Tessa gifts him a blueprint from when he was younger. He completely liked the blueprint that Tessa gave him but seemed to discard Dallas' gift. She was mad at him about how he forgot the guitar in the restaurant but it morphed into her usual insecurity when she sees that the blueprint was for an apartment George was designing for his life with Alex. She proceeds to ignore George until he figures out how to make her feel like he's as committed to this relationship as she is. It's a plot that technically makes sense as it uses the past of these characters as a source of drama but it didn't completely work. This is because we've seen this before. This has basically been what every plot between George and Dallas has been about. The two will get into some misunderstanding, one of them gets insecure about the relationship, and the other has to make them feel better. The show doesn't have to split them up but it needs to find a way bring fresh energy into this relationship. It's started to get stale and it's gotten annoying. How many times must Dallas be insecure before she finally accepts that he loves her? It's gotten so bad that they have stopped being funny. The only time I laughed during this plot was at the beginning with Dalia.
Dalia was probably this week's VIP. She landed every single line she was given with near perfection. She was more involved in Tessa's plot. It all begins when Dalia calls Tessa a prude. Suddenly Tessa cares about what people are thinking so she tries her best to act all hip. It doesn't really work and it's sort of agonizing. It's also an out-of-character moment for Tessa as this simply doesn't feel like the character. It also doesn’t make sense since she had been shown to be getting more popular since she was dating Ryan. If that's the case, then why did the school seem to treat her like a total loser? There appeared to be a total disconnect between this episode's Tessa and the rest of the show. Tessa's sudden insecurity about her image leads to her going to Dalia's party. She dances around a bit but nothing really happens. What was the point of this plot? I'll admit that the party was hilarious as everybody but Tessa was in a trance but it didn't really serve any purpose other than as a funny situation. Overall, Tessa's plot not only felt out-of-place with the character and out-of-touch with recent plot developments but it didn't really matter.
The Werner family did get some development this week. Jill's response to the divorce is to develop an eating problem. It's so bad that she's starting to gain weight. To the show's credit, it never once has a character point out that she's getting fat. So many comedies would have made at least one fat joke that it's refreshing to have a show to trust that the viewers are paying enough attention to when a character is gaining weight. Noah continues to try and court Carmen but he's not really having much success. His therapist has given him some good advice but he's not exactly neutral. This is because the therapist is actually seeing Carmen in a twist that would belong on a good soap opera. While Jill barely appeared in the episode, Noah was a strong player this week. His maricachi band was funny and his desire for his therapist's approval early in the episode was a highlight.
Eat, Pray, Eat is an okay episode of Suburgatory. Noah's plot was funny and Dalia was simply on a roll. I also like Jill's weight problem going unremarked by the characters. Everything else? It could have used a lot more polishing. The George-Dallas well is basically dry now and something to needs to happen between them so that we can move on to something new. Tessa simply acted too different to really work. I'd still recommend watching this episode because of Dalia and Noah-but brace yourself for a bumpy ride.