Genre Sitcom
Created by Emily Kapnek
Starring Jeremy Sisto
Jane Levy
Ana Gasteyer
Rex Lee
Carly Chaikin
Allie Grant
Chris Parnell
Alan Tudyk
Cheryl Hines
Narrated by Jane Levy
Opening theme "Pleasant Nightmare" by Alih Jey
Composer(s) Jared Faber
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 57 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Emily Kapnek
Michael Fresco
Producer(s) Peter Burrell
Morgan Sackett (pilot only)
Jill Danton
Ken Whittingham
Annie Weisman
Andrew Guest
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Piece of Pie Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
Original release September 28, 2011 (2011-09-28) – May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14)
External links
Official website

Suburgatory is an American sitcom television series created by Emily Kapnek that premiered on ABC on September 28, 2011, and ended on May 14, 2014. The series originally aired on Wednesday nights at 8:30/7:30 Central following The Middle.[1] The title is a portmanteau, devised by former CNN Senior Producer Linda Keenan, of the words "suburban" and "purgatory". On May 9, 2014, Suburgatory was canceled by ABC after three seasons. The final episode aired on May 14, 2014.[2]


The series follows George Altman, a single father who decides to get away from New York City to the suburbs so he can give his teenage daughter, Tessa, a better life. However, their move to the suburbs has the daughter wondering if they just entered the world of The Stepford Wives after they see how "perfect" their new locale is, right down to the neighbors who welcome them into the cul-de-sac.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Development and production

The series first appeared on ABC's development slate in October 2010.[4] On January 14, 2011, ABC placed a pilot order, written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Michael Fresco, who also served as executive producers.[5][6] The half-hour comedy was produced by Warner Bros. Television.

Casting announcements began in February 2011, with Jane Levy the first actor cast, playing the role of Tessa Altman, a Manhattan teen who has been raised for the last fifteen years by a single father, George. Tessa dreads the idea of living in the suburbs.[7] Next to join the series was Alan Tudyk in the role of Noah Werner, George's college buddy and a dentist who moved to the suburbs some years earlier.[8] Allie Grant then joined the series as Lisa Shay, a socially awkward girl at school who befriends Tessa.[9] Jeremy Sisto and Carly Chaikin followed with Sisto playing George Altman, Tessa's architect father who moves her from Manhattan to the suburbs, and Chaikin playing Dalia Royce, Tessa's neighbor who quickly becomes her nemesis at school.[10] Cheryl Hines was next cast in the role of Dallas Royce, a well-to-do housewife and the mother of Dalia. She tells George that her absentee husband (Jay Mohr) "travels a lot".[11] Rex Lee was the last actor cast, playing Mr. Wolfe, Tessa's clueless high school guidance counselor. He was originally a guest star but was upped to a series regular after the pilot.[12] Saturday Night Live (SNL) alumna Ana Gasteyer plays the Altmans' domineering neighbor, Sheila Shay, whom they vainly try to avoid. Fellow SNL alum Chris Parnell plays Fred, her husband, who toes the line. The Shays have two children: Lisa, who is Tessa's closest thing to a friend, and Ryan (Parker Young).

On May 13, 2011, ABC ordered the pilot to series, to air in the fall of the 2011–12 United States network television schedule.[13][14] Suburgatory premiered on September 28, 2011 and currently airs on Wednesday nights at 8:30/7:30 central following The Middle.[15] After initially ordering 11 episodes, ABC picked up Suburgatory for a full season on October 13, 2011.[16] On December 16, 2011, it was announced that Alicia Silverstone would have a recurring role as Eden, a potential love interest for single father George. This marked the third time Silverstone and Jeremy Sisto had worked together, since first working on the 1995 American comedy film Clueless, and the 1995 thriller Hideaway.[17][18][19]

On March 23, 2012, ABC announced that the series was renewed for the 2012–2013 television season.[20] It would air after Modern Family, on 9:30/8:30 central timeslot replacing the new series The Neighbors which was originally scheduled to air in that timeslot.[21]

Theme song

The theme song, "Pleasant Nightmare", was written by Jared Faber and Emily Kapnek and is sung by Alih Jey.[22] The theme song is slightly different in episode 22 (the last episode of season 1). In the season 2 premiere, Tessa performs a longer version of the song, which she says her mother wrote. George performs the song for Dalia as the season 2 finale ends.

Location and setting

The series takes place in the fictional town of Chatswin.[23] The onscreen map animation displayed in the opening credits zooms in on the affluent New York City suburbs of southern Westchester County as the geographic location of "Chatswin". The Westchester County 914 area code is also referenced in the show. The use of the 10805 postal code of the New Rochelle community, as the Chatswin postal code of main character George Altman signifies it as being the fictional town's true location.

The series takes its title from Suburgatory: Twisted Tales from Darkest Suburbia, a book by former CNN Senior Producer Linda Keenan, based in part on her experiences after she moved from New York City to three affluent suburbs, the first of which was in Westchester County. The book, released on October 11, 2011, thirteen days after the show premiered, is described on the front cover as "The Title behind the ABC Sitcom".[24]

Critical reception

Suburgatory was met with generally positive reviews. The first season holds an 88% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an average rating of 7/10, sampled from reviews from 24 critics. Its consensus reads: "Suburban satiries are nothing new, but Suburgatory offers enough abrasive wit and left-field jokes to keep it fresh."[25] Metacritic gives the first season an initial score of 71 out of 100, calculated from reviews from 25 critics, implying "generally favorable reviews".[26] On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds a score of 89%, which is an average score of 7.9/10, based from nine reviews.[27]

"Kapnek manages to make a show that is both satiric and emotionally engaging", said David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle, "two varieties of comedy [that] don't always work well together."[28] On the other end, Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times blasted the show. "[It] begins with a tenuous premise, uses it to leap to an inaccurate dichotomy and supports that with tired, unfunny stereotypes."[29]

Carly Chaikin received overwhelming critical praise for her role as Dalia Royce, critics consistently referred to her as the series breakout star and she was arguably one of the most popular characters in the show. For her performance, Chaikin was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Villain and many other various nominations for her role in Suburgatory.


The debut episode did well, scoring a 3.3 among the 18–49 demos with 9.81 million viewers tuning in.[30]

Season Timeslot (ET) # Ep. Premiered Ended TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere Viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale Viewers
(in millions)
1 Wednesday 8:30 pm 22
September 28, 2011
May 16, 2012
5.35[32] 2011–2012 #71 7.25[33]
2 Wednesday 9:30 pm

Wednesday 8:30 pm (April 3–17)

October 17, 2012
April 17, 2013
5.45[35] 2012–2013 #68 6.63[36]
3 Wednesday 8:30 pm 13
January 15, 2014
May 14, 2014
5.23[38] 2013–2014 #84 5.51[39]

Awards and nominations

Suburgatory was nominated for a 2012 People's Choice Award for "Favorite New TV Comedy", but lost to 2 Broke Girls, another show from Warner Bros. Television.

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2012 People's Choice Award Favorite New TV Comedy Suburgatory Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Comedy Supporting Actress Cheryl Hines Nominated
PAAFTJ Television Awards Best Directing for a Comedy Series Alex Hardcastle for "Thanksgiving" Nominated
Best Production Design in a Comedy Series Joseph P. Lucky for "Pilot" Nominated
2013 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Jeremy Sisto Nominated
Best Comedy Supporting Actress Carly Chaikin Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Show: Comedy Suburgatory Nominated[40]
Choice TV Villain Carly Chaikin Nominated
PAAFTJ Television Awards Best Comedy Series Suburgatory Nominated
Best Writing for a Comedy Series Andrew Guest for "Chinese Chicken" Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Parker Young Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Carly Chaikin Nominated
Best Cast in a Comedy Series Jeremy Sisto, Jane Levy, Carly Chaikin, Allie Grant, Cheryl Hines, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Parnell, Alan Tudyk, Rex Lee, Parker Young Nominated
Best Artistic/Visual Achievement in a Comedy Series Todd Dos Reis, Joseph P. Lucky, Archie D’Amico, Ann Marie Luddy & Danielle Launzel for "The Wishbone" Nominated

International broadcasts

The series has been picked up in Canada by City, where it is simulcast with the ABC broadcasts.[41] In Latin America the series premiered on October 31, 2011 on Warner Channel.[42] The show premiered on January 3 in Sweden on Kanal 5. In the Republic of Ireland the show began broadcasting on RTÉ Two from March 21, 2012[43] airing Wednesdays at 19:00. In Spain, it premiered on Cosmopolitan TV on January 13, 2012.[44] The series began airing on the Nine Network's GO! Channel in Australia from February 5, 2012 until it was taken off air in 2012/2013 after poor ratings losing to 7TWO, The Comedy Channel from Foxtel now airs the sitcom. It premiered in Serbia on Serbian HBO Comedy on February 27, 2012, the Serbian name of the show is Čistilište u predgrađu.[45] It also premiered in Poland on Polish HBO Comedy, on February 27, 2012, as Podmiejski czyściec (Suburban Purgatory).[46] The show began airing in New Zealand on TV2 on February 14, 2012. In the United Kingdom, Suburgatory started airing on Channel 4's digital channel E4 from July 17, 2012.[47] For Germany, ProSiebenSat.1 has picked up the series and will start airing it on Wednesday nights beginning on August 29.[48] It is also shown in Denmark on TV2 Zulu. In Portugal, it was aired Monday to Friday, at 18:30, from November 22, 2012 until December 21, 2012 on RTP2.[49] In Brazil, the show premiered on January 3, 2013 at 3:30 AM in the SBT.[50] In Greece the show premiered on July 15, 2013 on Star Channel airing Monday to Friday at 2:30 PM, airing the first 2 Seasons. In Asia, the show started airing on Star World from January 16, 2014.[51] The show also aired briefly, on Malaysia's, NTV7 in 2013. In France, the show premiered on Canal+ Family on May 3, 2013. The series finale aired on March 23, 2015. The show also aired on HD1 from April 24, 2014.


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