Summer has been quiet TV-wise here in the UK. We’ve been hosting a certain sporting event, and faced with peerless coverage from the BBC, the other main channels have barely put up a fight with the schedules, broadcasting nothing much other than repeats. No big new drama launches for us until the autumn it seems.

So it is to the digital channels I turn. And, more disappointingly, to American imports. Don’t get me wrong, I love American television. But when the only thing British networks can offer that isn’t sport is something from across the Atlantic that was shown about 6-9 months ago, you know you’ve hit desperation levels.

Thankfully, the quality is good. A Radio Times critic recently chasitised American sitcoms for lacking any new ideas, which seems unduly harsh. Besides, if there are only 5 (0r 6, or whatever number it is) basic plots to a novel, surely there is a similar limit on sitcom ideas? In which case, the key is the execution of the idea. And my, the execution is brilliant right now. New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, all fantasticly written and wonderfully played. And now Suburgatory joins this list.

The format is the tried-and-tested fish-out-of water scenario, with New York father and daughter George and Tessa upping sticks to the suburbs, where they are surrounded by manicured lawns, Stepford housewives and botoxed teenagers. So, not the most exciting premise. But, you guessed it, it doesn’t matter. The characters are played pitch-perfectly, even the minor ones, like neighbour Sheila’s younger sister who has developed an alarming crush on George.

As with a lot of these shows, it is the bad, or at least the slightly-bad, that win the best lines. In Suburgatory, this comes from pink-clad mother and daughter Dallas and Dahlia. Human Barbie doll may be a cliched description, but it’s accurate. I almost fell on the floor laughing at Dahlia’s attempts to blink whilst wearing too much mascara, and her sleep bitchiness: “no you can’t sit here, this is the cool table” she murmers whilst dozing.

However, there’s nothing worse than a sitcom where the side characters are perfect but the leads are poor. Will and Grace suffered from this problem, as did Gavin and Stacey. Thankfully, Jane Levy as Tessa holds her own with the script. She surveys the madness that surrounds her much as the audiences at home does, with a sense of bemused horror. Her interior monolgues are clever, witty and sharp, acknowledging both her failures and her strengths whilst still playing it for laughs. This is why we connect with her, because we are able to feel the same way she does. Because for her, and for many of us in the same situation, this isn’t Suburgatory. This is Suburghell.

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