Suburgatory Season 3 Premiere Recap: Will You Be Moving Back to Chatswin?

Suburgatory Season 3 RecapThe ‘burbs are undergoing a little makeover.

ABC’s satirical comedy Suburgatory returned on Wednesday night with a few tweaks. As TVLine reported in May, Rex Lee (as guidance counselor Mr. Wolfe) and Alan Tudyk (as George’s pal Noah) are no longer series regulars. The show has a new opening credits sequence featuring paper doll versions of the characters. And Tessa’s living situation changes not once, but twice during the episode.

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After parting ways with George at the end of last season, Tessa starts off the half-hour living with her mom, Alex. But since Malin Ackerman is on Trophy Wife Alex is flighty, she takes off, leaving George to pick up the pieces.

“This is what she does. She leaves,” he tells Tessa. “Your mom, she fights to push her way in. But then when she gets there, she panics.”

It’s kind of heartbreaking, but Tessa is surprisingly OK and just feels grateful that her dad is there. Rather than staying in the suburbs, George suggests they leave Chatswin behind since it’s ended up costing them more than they could have ever imagined (and he’s not just talking about the pricey lifestyle of “country club memberships and leather wallpaper”).

Sheila Shay is dealing with her empty nest syndrome now that Ryan’s in college — “The nest isn’t technically empty,” Lisa points out — by focusing all her energy on catching George’s stray pet dog. No problem, they’ll just lay low, says George.

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“You’re not Christine Lahti, Judd Hirsch and River Phoenix, are you?” replies Lisa. Then after a moment of silence, “Well, are you?”

Another (hilarious) problem: Lisa can’t keep the dog’s whereabouts under wraps because she gives off a strange smell when she lies.

Tessa ends up making a deal with Sheila so they can keep the dog and rent their old house. With that, the Altmans start over together in the ‘burbs, vowing over a bonfire not to get caught up in all the Chatswin mania. (It should be noted that Tessa pulls Ryan’s jersey out of the fire at the last minute. Stick around for Episode 3 for more on that twosome.)

Dalia, meanwhile, is not handling mom Dallas’ break-up with George very well. The only thing that cheers her up are the family’s accountants. “Can I take these two old guys home with me? Do you guys know how to twerk?” she asks.

Now, we want to hear what you thought of the season premiere (and to wish you good luck mentally scrubbing the image of Lansky, Lansky and Schulman shaking their behinds). Did you miss Noah and Mr. Wolfe? Grade the episode via the poll below, and then hit the comments to back up your pick.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Remer says:

    Those new opening credits are horrendous! A very average episode of a show that once had so much potential and is continuously sinking…

  2. David4 says:

    I thought the point of cutting the cast was to cut the budget, why bother bringing in new people?

  3. juan says:

    well I totally loved it. I really missed Suburgatory and I thought the episode was really funny yet sad and poignant in some parts.

  4. SUSO says:

    This was shockingly bad.

    The show has developed a horrible case of bipolar disorder, apparently, and as a result none of the character beats feel honest. George and Tessa no longer feel like characters, they feel like pendulums swinging back and forth depending on the needs of the plot, every now and then saying a witticism that may or may not be in character.

    I really loved the show before. And as much as I thought it imploded in the final episodes of last season, I came back because I cared about the characters. But I think I finally realized that there really isn’t anything to come back to, which is a real shame since this used to be one of the most underrated shows on television.

  5. Fan says:

    Bring back Noah (Alan tudyk) and I promise to watch again.

  6. Babybop says:

    It seems like a different show. It was still funny – I laughed forever at “Buckles Elizabeth Mastriantonio” – just different. I’ll stick with it and see how it goes.

  7. Alichat says:

    Hmmm… know what this episode needed?…….Alan Tudyk……yes…yes….Alan Tudyk

    • Tenney says:

      Yes! While I did enjoy Suburgatory last night, it was missing something; and that something was Noah! Please, please bring back Alan Tudyk full time.

  8. Kameron says:

    I actually thought it was really funny, and I’m glad it’s back because quite honestly, it’s like Alan Tudyk’s character was just holding on by a string with his ridiculous antics and his love for the maid

  9. Jerri says:

    Did we just get Punk’ed? Was that even Suburgatory or a Chinese copy of the original show? Geez. Count me out.

  10. Sam says:

    Seemed the same to me

  11. Sam says:

    Poor Lisa, real life Meg Griffen

  12. taelorrye says:

    It seemed like a good episode to me. Everyone seemed to stay in character. Dalia was as dry as ever, and they continued her story of desiring a father figure. Dallas was still the Amy-Poehler-in-Mean-Girls character that she’s always been. George’s change from assimilation to desire to leave was logical, as the town led to his relationship with Dallas that led to the breakup with Dallas that led to his heartbreak. The Shays were consistent as well, including Lisa with her family isolation. Tessa’s storyline with her mother has been evident since season one, and they stayed true to her mom by having her dip out again – not a new thing. Additionally, the theme of adaptation to a new environment was still presented, as Tessa decided to stay in Chatswin and to save the jersey from the fire. The show isn’t just about a New York family that moves to a shallow suburb; it’s about the human need to adapt for survival. It’s a universal theme, and those involved in the production held true to the premise by showing that Tessa does indeed have the ability to survive in this environment. 4/5 stars because I need Tudyk, but the writers can’t help that ABC lowered the budget.

  13. Sam says:

    75% of voters say A or B so I know not official but most seemed to like it

  14. Tom Charles says:

    Alan Tudyk makes everything better

  15. Amanda says:

    I didn’t even bother, after the news of the split cast members it seemed like a good time to stop watching. Doesn’t sound like I missed much.

  16. chistosa says:

    Horrible episode, at least what I was able to stomach before turning if off after the first 15 minutes. The concept was always a bit dubious but they have turned all the characters into caricatures. And I agree with another poster about the tacky opening credits.

  17. J.Norman says:

    Well, in my view Suburgatory was never much better than “OK to watchable”.

    It never seemed to have much of a direction in its first couple of seasons. Even the shows opening theme song didn’t / doesn’t seem to know where to go.
    Last night, it seemed a cut below what it was before.
    One positive, though, they have – for now – cut way back on the George – Dallas relationship
    If it doesn’t improve, though, it won’t even make the “spackle cut” for next year.

    Question: When the hell is ABC going to give Trophy Wife a shot at the coveted Wednesday slots. (either 8:30 or 9:30). Your choice ABC.

  18. dude says:

    I loved it. I missed Suburgatory and I didn’t really notice a difference from last season.

  19. Carrie says:

    I liked the premiere a lot. I thought it was charming and funny. This episode was a bit morose because of the subject matter, but I don’t doubt that the show will get back to being a little wackier.

  20. tp says:

    It seemed the same for the most part to me. Those opening credits were horrendous though. Ehh, I’ll give it a couple more episodes to see if I stick around.

  21. DJR says:

    The scenes with Dallas and Dalia were terrible, bringing any momentum to a halt. The best parts were the scenes with the Shays. (Admit it…haven’t you wanted to blow-dart a family member or neighbor at some time!) Did anyone else think having the accountants come home with Dalia (and Dallas allowing it) was “creepy” on some level?

  22. HAP says:

    I watch the show for Jane Levy. I do have to wonder why she is constantly cast in schoolgirl roles. She’s the same age as Jennifer Lawrence.

  23. KLW says:

    does anyone know what type of dog the stray is?

  24. HAP says:

    According to the producers, Tudyk is scheduled to be in three episodes this season.

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