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Some of you have probably seen Suburgatory, a hit US sitcom which has all the right ingredients. It is about a father and a daughter trying to adapt to the life of a new gated community that they have just moved into from New York. Much emphasis is put on the daughter, Tessa (played by Jane Levy), who can’t stand her dad for making the move. Her dad, George, is Law & Order’s Jeremy Sisto.
If you thought Anger Management or The Big Bang Theory were the funniest sitcoms out there, then think again. Suburgatory has taken that spot and hardcore Sisto is right in the middle of it. For staunch Law & Order fans this may come as a shock because Sisto is the badass cop in the procedural drama. In fact, to mimic the good cop/bad cop stereotype, Sisto is lined up with comedian Anthony Anderson, who serves as the source of all the comic relief in the otherwise dark show.
Now Sisto comes out as a comic in Suburgatory, which is quite a refreshing thing to note. It is almost like when Charlie Sheen moved from big serious films like Platoon to do sitcoms like Spin City and Two and a Half Men.
When you watch Suburgatory, you get the feeling you are in the fictional Wisteria Lane, only a lighter version of it. As you get to sink your teeth into Tessa’s problems both at school and in her general social life, you are reminded of films like Mean Girls and Bring It On.
That said, Suburgatory remains a very creatively autonomous production that will be with us for a long time to come. Thanks to the small cast, there is more time to see both Levy and Sisto’s characters grow.
Credit should also be given to the writers, who make this show feel like it was stolen from a Chris Rock transcript.
All the lines are deliberately funny and you will have to listen attentively or rewind to hear it again.
Sisto may be cracking jokes but he keeps his cool, making him a straight-faced joker. That’s where the most fun is, because if you mute your TV then you would just think Law & Order’s Detective Cyrus Lupo is on another case in a picket fence neighbourhood.
The writing is that effective.
All the neighbours and other characters around this father and son team are so well developed they will remind you of someone you know.
• Suburgatory airs on Tuesdays at 7.40pm on Comedy Central (DStv channel 122).