Suburgatory: “Stiiiiiiill Horny”
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Suburgatory: “Stiiiiiiill Horny”

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Suburgatory

"Stiiiiiiill Horny"

Season 3, Episode 13
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Suburgatory

"Stiiiiiiill Horny"

Season 3, Episode 13

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Sweet of ABC to call “Stiiiiiiill Horny” the season finale of Suburgatory a week after cancelling its best comedy this season. After all, the powers that be are shopping the show around. It’s possible Suburgatory will live on. But it’s likely Suburgatory ends here, with topless Tessa wrapped around shirtless Ryan, holding up traffic in the middle of the street, honking cars and nosy neighbors be damned.

Unlike the past two cliffhangers, “Stiiiiiiill Horny,” named after a line from one of Tessa’s new, 80-year-old knitting-circle friends, is a satisfying conclusion because it leaves Tessa in a happy place. Whatever happens after the sauteed onions of make-out sessions—and it probably doesn’t involve June, whom even Victor can’t stand—Tessa’s last-ditch, no-holds-barred reclamation of her youth and libido and feelings for Ryan is a fist-pump. The last two seasons have been about needing a parent, but now that Tessa and her friends are growing up, it makes sense that Tessa’s big relationship here is romantic. And it’s about herself as much as Ryan. Tessa’s done playing third wheel, done sublimating her feelings, and, after her recent dressing down from June, done playing nice. It’s not the most upstanding response, but kids will be kids. And Tessa has rarely looked more like a teenager than in her tentative goodbye to Ryan. “Drive safe,” she says. “Be cool,” he responds. The look on Jane Levy’s face is pure childish disappointment, like if Dallas were less controlled.

George and Dallas are also dealing with wedding fallout. To her, it’s a huge deal, and to him, it’s not. Or at least, that’s what he says. That’s what Tessa tells us in narration. And that’s how he plays it with Dallas at a restaurant. But clearly, it is a big deal. He fantasizes about Dallas sitting on his lap, hilariously pouring sugar on herself. He snaps out of a daydream having drawn a breastfast nook. He writes a song about her that’s almost as touching as the title theme (I suspect it would have been slightly more moving if it were less dependent on the geographical metaphor of being “in Dallas”). So why can’t he tell her so? Why can’t he tell himself? Dallas could stand to stand up for herself and fight for what she believes in, too, rather than waiting to be the object fought for. She’s been trying to learn that lesson all series, and the bulk of this season has leaned on Dallas discovering and recovering her independence. But her I understand. George is the one I don’t fully get in this situation. He says he doesn’t blame Dallas anymore for anything. Is the song not a prelude but the thing itself, less a romantic gesture than an exorcism of demons?

Lisa and Malik are also starting to feel fallout from the wedding. The episode opens with a luxuriating pan of them waking up in Lisa’s bed together followed by a montage of high-contrast black-and-white wedding snapshots. Then Sheila and Fred, Victor, and Ryan walk in. “Does ‘consummating’ mean what I think it means?” asks Victor. Ryan confirms with a bleep. Handy metaphor. Lisa and Malik go from romance to reality in seconds flat. The main problem is they realize they don’t like sharing everything. In Chatswin, they’re even allowed to cheat off each other. “Married classmates can legally share a GPA,” which means Lisa’s taking a tumble in class rank. They share a bank account, too, which means Malik’s taking a tumble with the expense of Lisa’s vegan lunches. “Great, you forgot my grandma’s birthday,” he says at lunch, with plenty of time left in the day to rectify that mistake. “We just merged calendars today!” she replies. By game night, they’re an old married couple. Malik says, “No one suspects the iron. They discount it. And slowly, it irons its way to victory.” “You sound like an idiot.” That’s when they get guidance—and it’s nice that someone on this show is getting advice from parents—about married life. “Being married, you share less!” Sheila says. Marriage is when you get to be yourself, say the Shays. It’s the key to independence in a relationship. Considering that’s the last we see of the newest Mr. and Mrs. LaFreak this season, that’s probably some very welcome counsel.

The Shays also get some extra time in the George plot, Sheila in a sight gag that involves almost running into a door in desperate pursuit of gossip and Fred trying and failing to sound cool. George sums it up. “You have children, so I know you’ve been with a woman, but I gotta say, it sounds like you haven’t.” Dalia’s also here for support and one last breathless stream of consciousness: Jasmine makes Dallas horny and A Different World was a good show and whatever happened to Jasmine Guy and that’s why Mommy hooked up with Daddy Altman. After insinuating herself in the wedding, there’s as much symbolism in Dalia getting sidelined here in the episode Tessa re-asserts herself as in Tessa meeting Ryan halfway at the end. That whole sequence thrums, the plaintive George-Dallas song replaced by Violent Femmes’ “Add It Up,” Tessa and Ryan each independently running after the other, the go-for-broke ending so risqué Sheila has to draw the curtains. Considering how the series began, with George moving virgin Tessa to the suburbs at the slightest misguided suspicion of sex, there are worse ways to leave Suburgatory than with the exhilarating sight of Tessa doing something about being “Stiiiiiiill Horny.”

Stray observations:

  • “Stiiiiiiill Horny”: Best series finale title? Best series finale title.
  • “I was the first girl in my town to straddle a bicycle seat.” Tessa’s elderly craft circle is reliably funny, not least for Jane Levy getting one last chance to let loose, going all bug-eyed behind leashed eyeglasses and a streaming quilt emanating from her needles and unfurling across the house. “You should be out there, being groped by a young man in a porkpie hat,” the women tell her. They want her to feel love/moisture. “You’re 30, right?” “I’m 17.”
  • Tessa does go on a date with Arthur, Esther’s son, but she’s not ready for a relationship. Arthur wishes she could have told him that all that time and money ago. “I ordered a side salad.” “You added chicken.”
  • “Shut up, June.” “Victor!” “Sorry, I thought we were all thinking it.”

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