Jim 2010s

Aired: 2011-2014 (ABC)Suburgatory

DAD: George Altman (Jeremy Sisto) / Divorced

DAD’S JOB: Architect

KIDS: Tessa (Jane Levy) (15)

WHERE’S MOM?: “Pulled a Kramer vs. Kramer before Tessa was potty trained.”

STAND-IN “MOM”: Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines) Next-door neighbor

Alert Viewers will recognize the tell-tale signs of TV Single Dad Plot Formula #1: “Dad, mourning the loss of recently departed Mom, tosses the kid(s) in a pickup truck /airplane / boat and moves to a completely different locale, usually with an exotic climate.” This time around, Dad and Daughter are city folks, and the exotic land is Suburbia. Think Who’s The Boss?, only no Judith Light family.

I know ABC/Disney has a robust publicity staff, but do they have to use a 1978 cultural reference such as “Kramer vs. Kramer” to explain the series?

ABC describes the situation thus: “Single father George only wants the best for his sixteen-year-old daughter Tessa. So when he finds a box of condoms on her nightstand, he moves them out of their apartment in New York City to a house in the suburbs. But all Tessa sees is the horror of over-manicured lawns and plastic Franken-moms. Being in the ‘burbs can be hell, but it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they’ve ever been.”

“Tessa (Jane Levy) and George (Jeremy Sisto) have been on their own ever since Tessa’s Mom pulled a Kramer vs. Kramer before Tessa was potty trained. So far, George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa without a maternal figure in their lives, but suddenly he’s feeling a little out of his league. So it’s goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free Red Bull-chugging kids, but little by little, she and her dad begin finding a way to survive on the clean streets of the ‘burbs. Sure, the neighbors might smother you with love while their kids stare daggers at your back, but underneath all that plastic and caffeine they’re really not half bad. “