Ranking ABC's Wednesday Comedies: Suburgatory Returns Strong

It was such a relief to enjoy half-hour after half-hour of fresh, new comedy during ABC's Wednesday comedy block last night. But while I may have sat gazing on the beloved faces of Patricia Heaton, Alan Tudyk, and Sofia Vergara as if they were beloved, long-lost puppies who'd just tumbled back in through my door, it is now our responsibility to comb out the ratty knots in their fur, check their teeth, carefully style their tails, and crown the best show dog of the bunch because today marks the the return of...

For the Winsday!!!


The Middle S03E20: "Get Your Business Done"

You know, I had almost forgotten about the pink raver wig P-Heats had dyed brown and wears in every scene. It almost warmed my heart to see it, perched atop her face, barely moving even as she struggled to pull her arm out of a Rite Aid blood pressure machine. This episode was actually pretty edgy, with the Hecks forsaking their boring old white-people church for a place of worship that caters to African Americans, with a rousing gospel choir and an inspiring preacher. In fact, the pastor was so inspiring that Frankie spent the rest of the week suffering a full-scale panic attack about not doing enough with her life. Sue actually started a business baby-sitting a kid who's practically her age, and had to call in her dad to rescue her when the kid started putting the moves on her. It was another edgy conceit, but it completely worked. And I think Axl is dying his hair black? He was shirtless for an uncomfortable amount of time last night on a very thin premise. Let that kid put a top on once in a while, ABC.

Score: 5.3


Suburgatory S01E18: "Down Time"

The eerie parallels between Dallas and Tessa's problems continued as Dallas's divorce was finalized, sending her into a depressed crying jag in a mattress store, and Tessa's BFFs Lisa and Malik started dating, driving her to almost eat a stick of butter as a midnight snack. The snappy opening scene reaffirmed my talent-crush on Alan Tudyk, who took what was probably an inch of monologue and turned it into a snappy mile of laughs, talking about getting his sex on. As for my actual crush on Ryan Shay...sigh. He appeared at Tessa's back door, got her to not eat a creamy stick of butter, and they enjoyed a little pseudo date. I know Tessa already broke up with Ryan because the character is supposed to be dumb, but the actor, Parker Young, is so charming and so obviously smart, I kind of wonder if Jane Levy popped in on a writer's meeting and requested the relationship be revisited. Also James Lipton as Dahlia's psychiatrist? "I feel angerment" made me laugh out loud. And kangaroo Jack as Dahlia's pet? This show keeps its animal handler on point.

Score: 6.3


Modern Family S03E19: "Election Day"

The Dunphys rallied behind Claire to make the day she officially ran for town councilwoman a real comedy of errors. Phil's (Ty Burrell) interactions with his cranky senior neighbor were kind of slow-moving (they could have used a snappier elderly dude; should have called Betty White for a recommendation), and Cam and Mitch almost broke up an engagement while gossiping in a car with their public address system still on. Claire had an old false front tooth knocked out while trying to bite off her new suit's price tag (wouldn't Claire immediately remove a tag? Also how annoying is it when a character immediately explains something as "an old blah blah injury"?). Annnd the family's Mila Kunis lookalike, Haley, did not get into any of her colleges. Downers upon downers.

Score: 5


Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 S01E01: "Pilot"

While this new show's awkward title may coyly sidestep dropping the "b-word," the first episode was bitch happy. "Bitch bitch bitch bitch!" —All of the characters. It's actually a very snappy and often hilarious series. Krysten Ritter is just as talented at comedy as she was at drama on Breaking Bad, and her blonde analog, June, tries to match her sociopathic mind games, providing an effective and complementary foil that will explain their opposites-attract friendship romance for the entire series. Also high marks for James Van Der Beek playing "himself" and spending the entire pilot winking at his former status as a teen idol and his current status as silly '90s reference, which is arguably the smartest way to approach a front-loaded acting career as a thirty-something young man. I wonder if he'll be able to pull in Mrs. Cruise or Michelle Williams for a cameo at some point in the series? Altogether Don't Trust the B----'s set-up had all the exposition of a pilot wrapped up in razor-sharp jokes and great visual moments (poor blondie walked into her first day of work to find the police are arresting the boss and the employees looting the office; the B---- got champagne sprayed on her during a rap video back story). All in all, a promising pilot for a brand-new addition to our block. (Psst! You should also check out Tim's full review!)

Score: 6



This Week's Rankings:
1. Suburgatory with 6.3 FOR THE WIN!!!
2. Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 with 6
3. The Middle with 5.3
4. Modern Family with 5


This Week's Block Average: 5.6


While its hard not to miss Happy Endings, Don't Trust the B---- seems like a worthy new addition to our block, but of course the established connection to Suburgatory and last night's diamond-sharp dialogue won the show this week's highest score. Modern Family's toothless episode left me cold, but The Middle surprised me with its unexpected chops.


QUESTIONS:

– What did you think of Don't Trust the B----?

Modern Family: Did I under rate it or did it also leave you cold?

– Tessa and Ryan: Should Suburgatory give them another chance?

– What did you think of The Middle's comparison of pastors?


As always, if you leave your own scores for two or more shows in the comments, I will average them together for next week's Viewer Choice Blue Ribbon Win.

Comments (27)
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A23 is terrible!!! come on, really???

Sub, modern, and the always underappreciated Middle are the creme of the crop!!!!
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Previously I had just been 'meh' towards Ryan, but this week's episode made me fall in love with his idiotic charm. Especially the bit about the forks. I was actually eating out tonight and my food came with a fondu fork (though not fondu) and Ryan's "I may have oversold the forks" was all I could think of. The rest of my group couldn't figure out why I was giggling to myself.
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-I thought that this show has promise. Honestly I see it doing better than "Happy Endings" in the ratings (call it my personal TV intuition, I could be right or 1000% off) as the palette seems a bit more accessible to a mainstream audience.

-I don't believe you underrated "Modern Family". I actually am quite happy that the average today was 5.6. When using a rating scale of 1 to 10, things always seem to average around like 8.2 with people always being afraid to give a low rating, and while these shows (well, the first three for sure at least) can deliver high ratings, and while I did laugh some during each episode, none of these shows pulled a home run this time around. 5 is average, not horrible, but nothing special. The average of comedy episodes of all shows for a whole season should be right around 5. Some shows will score higher and some lower, but to consistently score everything around 7 or 8 is to misuse the system.

-I think so. Maybe not so early, allow them to develop a little more, but there's a lot of good to be had there with the two of them.

-I think the comparison was meant specifically for the joke, and it worked in that respect. Admittedly the real life examples could quite easily be as shown, but they could also just as easily be the opposite. I've seen enough variety that neither would surprise me.



Pcsjunior002's ratings:

The Middle: 6, was edgier as you said, and I enjoyed the sibling play between the brothers

Suburgatory: 6.5, was still strong, and my love of Alan Tudyk also runs deep. Plus, great stuff with Dallas

Modern Family: 5, perfectly serviceable, but nothing special, especially for this show. Average, and that's their grade

Don't Trust The B**** in Apt. 23: 5.5, a solid pilot, shows good stuff to come, but wasn't near what "30 Rock" or "Arrested Development" did with their pilots. Plenty of room for this show to grow.
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BTW, TY Lily for removing Scarey Mary!!! The therapy seems to be working.;)))
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e5rf
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The Middle= 5.8

Suburgatory= 6.9

Modern Family- 6

Don't Trust the B----=6.3
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As a senior in high school, the whole rejection letter bit was wonderful especially since I too received many rejection letters. It was timely because everyone is receiving decisions about now. I don't know, it seems to be just me, but I really like Modern Family. Also, Tessa should give Ryan another chance because he is so good looking.
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Modern Family continues to disappoint me, I laughed some but I am always reminded that I used to laugh so much more. 5.

Suburgatory was great this week and I loooooove Ryan, especially in this week's episode. And James Lipton as the shrinkologist? brilliant. 8

I've been looking forward to Apartment 23 (I hope we all agree on an abbreviation soon) since upfronts and it did not disappoint me, some parts were a bit too crazy but I really enjoyed it as a whole and am confident it will get better as most shows do. 7.
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Ouch, harsh ratings!



I have given up on The Middle and Suburgatory for now, so I'm just rating Modern Family and The Bitch.



Modern Family was a test of sitcom writing against a great cast, and the sitcom writing beat down the cast pretty harshly. Still, there were laughs and situations, and Claire's disgusting busted-ass tooth gag twice. So MF gets a 6.5 from me.



The Bitch was way funnier than I expected and tight as a drum all around, directing, writing, acting, camera work, everything was hitting its marks great for a pilot. It even made the titular Bitch in Apartment 23 very slightly likable while retaining her general awfulness. The Bitch gets an 8.



MF: 6.5

The Bitch: 8
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What did you think of Don't Trust the B----?

Answer: Boring & Awful! Dawsons Geek is just plain unwatchable!!!!!
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Suburgatory 8.8

Brian Chamberlayne(Writer for E10 as well) FTW!! Where some shows feel the need to dumb down a character for a cheap laugh, I'm hoping that B.C. insight sitcks. Tessa is not a girl that would reach into a bag of rocks to pick out a "pretty one". James Lipton "It's not about you, SIT!" TY The one thing that came up short(IMO) was Tessa's reaction to the boob touch. I expected facial ranging of emotion which may have been asking for more than was written in.

Modern Family 2.5 was flat, forced, and fake....and the actors had trouble bringing anything more to it.

Don't Trust...6.5 E2 is better and has more snap. Kristen Ritter is fun to watch, but more than that, much more!! Brava!
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Modern Family - 6.5; I actually enjoyed this episode. The show hasn't been very good so it was a nice surprise.



Don't Trust the B---- - 7.0; I watched Dawson's. I like JVB, and I like what they're doing with his character. I also love Krysten Ritter. Great start to hopefully a great show.



Suburgatory - 7.1; Alan Tudyk is awesome. That is all.
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Don't Trust the B I T C H in Apt 23 was simply awesome I loved the Pilot, looking forward to this show
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Suburgatory was very funny, it seems the ABC comedy block has a new winner...

Modern Family was decent, but it isn't Emmy worthy.
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Don't trust the B: It was just the pilot. I'm sure it'll get better (and by better I mean funny). I'm willing to give it a chance for Ritter.
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Did not like "Apt B". Just bring back "Happy Endings". By the way REALLY DO NOT LIKE "GCB" either.
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Tessa and Ryan Shay should definitely happen again.



We have seen more of Ryan when he briefly lost his "star", there is something about him that is quite endearing!. I like them together,. The boob touch,,heating foods that are on your pajamas. his gems are as good as Dahlia's Super wink!,
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I wonder why Modern family got the lowest ratings, hmmm...
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Suburgatory, ah I missed you so. I think it was hitting all of their points well last night. Tessa eating the butter. Lisa and Malik as a couple are hilarious. Ana Gaysteyr dealing with it and trying to bribe him with Ham and Cheese to keep dating her was hilarious. Tessa and Ryan interacting was hilarious. Ryan doesn't get a lot of credit. But the whole boob touching scene was brilliant. Dallas was all right but not the best. However, the ultimate was Dahlia. I new when she was in the Therapists office (James freaking Lipton!) that she was talking about Yocult, but her talking to the dog about her problems was insanely funny. James Lipton talking to the dog was too much. I loved the episode. 7.5 easily.



B in 23. It looks promising. Ritter's character is funny, her one liners are great. The interaction between her and Beek are genuinely funny. And with that and them bringing in "NYC" there is a potential for a variety of funny plots. I am hoping that it doesn't turn too procedural in that Ritter does crazy things and the roommate tries to real her in, Beek makes comments and is a funny douche. I hope they go more towards Happy Endings where anything can and does happen, and less Modern Family. 7



Modern Family was horrible I thought. I didn't laugh at anything. I think it would have been more funny if she had won easily and then was overwhelmed at prospect of actually having to deal with the job. That could have brought more plots and conflict and her being neurotic. Everything however was just blah. 3
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Why oh why can't Apartment 23 replace 'Modern Family'? ABC has managed to introduce us to what is probably the three best sitcoms of the last two seasons. Anyway...



The Middle 5/10. As fun as the kids stories were (as always), this episode was too Frankie-heavy. She's the worst character on the show and I rarely find myself laughing at her or with her. I have to say that it felt as though Neil Flynn was just going through the motions, he hardly seems interested - much like his character appears to be fed-up with his marrage. If this show doesn't do something to freshen up the parents I don't think it will survive beyond next season relying solely on the kids.



Suburgatory 9/10. One of the best episodes so far (possibly THE best). They played to their strengths this week, more Lisa, Dhalia, Royce & Noah and, thankfully, less of Tessa's complaining veiled as sarcasm. The mix of comedy and drama was perfect and the whimsical was just that, not too reined in, but not too ridiculous. And the scene's with Dhalia talking to her shrink - brilliant.



Apartment 23 7/10. What a fantastic start. I can't really add anything that neither Lily or Tim haven't already, but I will say that this pilot was up there with Suburgatory. I wasn't overawed with Happy Endings' pilot (but that turned out well), and with the exception of the easy to watch Last Man Standing and the steadily growing on me New Girl, the rest of the half-hour comedies from the last two seasons have been crap. FOX must be going out of their minds seeing ABC succeed where they continually fail.



[In an ideal world I'd be reviewing the new episode of Happy Endings here!]
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The Middle: 6/10 I always enjoy when this show takes a well meaning and almost loving jab at Christian culture. It takes a lot of finesse to remove jokes about the culture of church from jabs at religion itself and The Middle always manages it. For me the funniest part was the Hecks visiting a black church and how into it Axl got. Axl is often my least favorite Heck, but: "This Church already kicks our Church's ass." and "Awesome we can talk in this Church!" both had me rolling. The rest of the show was mostly on par for The Middle which is fine with me as I'm a big fan of The Middle's formula.



Suburgatory: 7/10 Starting right out with Noah, open shirt, publicly discussing the sheer amount of sex he is having with his wife was great, for two reasons: 1. It was freaking hilarious and 2. It shows something that I enjoy about this and a lot of other comedies that are coming out these days, things move forward. A big joke with Noah used to be how frigid and sexless his marriage is, and following up his clumsy ride upon a white horse to take back his wife it's good to see that running gag being replaced with it's opposite, jokes are best when they also show a character's development.

The Lisa/Malik thing is extremely funny, I laughed until I cried at Allie Grant in slo-mo, tonguing every kind of food or liquid put in front of her. Just the right amount of awkward.

Dalia and Yakault's confrontation in therapy cracked me up so much, I love how much they get out of the antagonism between a teenage girl and a dog.

As for Tessa and Ryan, I kind of wish they would let a romance between them develop. Tessa acts so above it all and she actively disses people she has no reason to diss except that she considers herself better than them. Ryan is a good example, he's a sweet and simple guy that doesn't have much in the way of smarts, and I think he'd really help to (hopefully) mellow out some of Tessa's elitist nature. Also the boob touching scene was quirky and adorable and I want more of that, so yes to more Tessa and Ryan romance.



Modern Family 5/10 While I actually love Modern Family it has been off this season, and this episode did suffer in places. HOWEVER! I loved the sweet way the paralleled Claire and Haley's disappointments, it's a rare thing for these two to see eye-to-eye and I'll confess to misting up a bit when Haley hugged her mother. The rest of the show was a bit of a let down though, I mean even Luke wasn't that funny. LUKE! WTF MODERN FAMILY?



Apt 23: 7/10 I loooooove Krysten Ritter, so this show was a must watch, and I honestly love her as Chloe, the bitch from hell. Her delivery and reactions are just spot on. Dreama Walker's June is fun as our straight-laced protagonist, she's not as immediately funny as Ritter but I laughed at how she delivered: "Excuse me, you said something really disturbing and slammed the door."

James Van Der Beek as himself as definitely the most pleasant surprise of the Pilot. I like the chemistry he and Ritter have as Straight Gay BFFs. The way he enables Chloe as much as he acts as her conscience, great great stuff, can't wait to see more.



Overall 6.25
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Someone needs a clever abbreviation for B.

The middle - only lol moment was when their black friend told them they had to sit in the back. Reversing societal roles, racism = hilarious. The show isn't very good, I would say the best it could ever earn is 6. - 5.



Suburgatory - give me more Dahlia, nice to see a better of ted cast member getting more work. (That show would have been 8's). Nothing really funny outside of Dahlia. - 5.5.



Modern Family - meh, it's so Sorbo, good but not great. - 5.5.



TB-IN-23 - I'll watch, Dawson is great. Good visual gags. -5.5.



All in all, pretty mediocre comedy night. I laughed more in the last episode of New girl than all 4 on Wednesday.
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Despite liking Suburgatory and Don't Trust the B, and still kind-of-but-not-really-liking Modern Family, ABC Wednesday seems dull without Happy Endings. Anyways...



Modern Family - 5.5 - Uh, same as always? A little funny... a lot, uh THE SAME.

Suburgatory - 7.0 - Ah, black people; they really know romance. Dalia's continued issues with Yakult was fun. Ryan's "stupid but sincere" shtick was cute. Despite just the small role, I like Jonathan Slavin. Also, the kangaroo was awesome.

Don't Trust The B - 6.5 - The show seems like something I'll eventually REALLY like, but the premiere episode was just above-average-ish. Van Der Beek was easily the funniest part of the show.
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Tessa and Ryan FTW!
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Modern Family: 4/10.. I just don't like the show anymore, I might stop watching at the end of the season. Maybe return whenever Dylan comes back, because he had the last joke that made me laugh..



Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23: 6/10. It was nice, I actually liked Ritter, despite disliking her in Breaking Bad. I loved the way the show looks, and the dialogue was way better than a lot of other female centric shows. My favorite thing was without a doubt Van Der Beek, but the show still felt a bit too much like a pilot for me to truly enjoy it as much as I could. It might rival Suburgatory some day.. I'd still rather have Happy Endings though.



Suburgatory: 9/10. This may have been my favorite episode of the show so far. I loved the Malik/Lisa (Malisa? Lisalik?) action with the "Yeah" thing, made me want to rewatch The Big Lebowski for some reason.. The serialized structure is another thing I really am starting to love about this show, they're really making it work, and they're not postponing potential relationships like a lot of other shows would.
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I miss my regular dose of "Happy Endings". "Don't Trust the Overlylongtitle in Apartment 23" was fine, but the real highlight of last night was indeed "Suburgatory" now that my favourite comedy is done for the year. Tessa can do much better than Ryan, but their interactions were still cute (and sort of creepy). I say let them try it out, what else does Tessa have going on for her?
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