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Photograph: Carin BaerSuburgatory premieres Wednesday, January 15 at 7:30pm on ABC.

Suburgatory, Season 3: TV review

The quirky comedy returns with a slight refresh but the same sassy sense of humor.

Written by
Jessica Johnson

It may have had its premiere pushed to mid-season and it may have shed a couple of cast members, but in its third season, Suburgatory is soldiering on with a spring in its step.

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Last year, father/daughter duo George and Tessa Altman (Jeremy Sisto and Jane Levy) had their hearts broken after throwing themselves into relationships with members of their newfound suburban community. In fact, George's coupling with the extravagant Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines) drove a wedge between he and Tessa, thanks to her rivalry with Dallas's daughter Dalia (Carly Chaikin). After a summer living with her mother, Tessa reunites with George when mama bails on her yet again.

Back together, George and Tessa commit themselves to sticking in Chatswin, but this time they aren't going to let the wacky community come between them. Of course, that's easier said than done. Despite her hatred of his daughter, Dalia still has an unhealthy obsession with keeping George around as a father figure and has been holding a grudge against her mother for breaking up with him. Tessa's BFF, Lisa (Allie Grant) is suffering through her parents' depression over her brother's departure for college. His absence has not, however, caused Fred and Sheila Shay (Chris Parnell and Ana Gasteyer) to be any more affectionate to their daughter as they selfishly crow about empty nest syndrome while Lisa's in the room.

Suburgatory's biggest challenge has always been effectively balancing the dry and realistic humor of the Altmans with the outlandish citizens of Chatswin. The departures of Alan Tudyk's Owen and Rex Lee's Mr. Wolfe—characters that tended to come of as creepy or downright offensive—help even out the show's comic tone. Parnell and Gateyer are now the sole crazy people in the ensemble. While they can still be a bit much, it's a much more manageable level of insanity. Plus, it's hard not to agree with their distress over the exit of Ryan (Parker Young, who is now killing it on Enlisted), whose puppy dog exuberance is sorely missed. The cast is still brimming with talent, as Chaikin's deadpan Dalia continues to be the comedic highlight of the show and Hines' Dallas is as adorable as ever. Full of charm and wit, Suburgatory is still one of ABC's best kept secrets.

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