Typically, when people on sitcoms start pairing up, trouble can ensue. Dumb conflicts arise through misunderstandings. The changing of the group dynamic can marginalize the wrong people. In the history of sitcoms, more often than not, coupling makes a television show ask questions it’s not prepared to answer. For example, New Girl‘s “moment” this week raises lots of questions. It will interesting to see if they are really prepared to answer them.
On the other side of that coin is Suburgatory. The structure of the cast means coupling some of the characters gives the show the opportunity to have some fun with pairing characters together in various adventures. Tonight’s episode put some different characters together we’ve seen very little of before. Tessa and Sheila joining forces in an attempt to get Lisa a date played out about like you’d imagine (Sheila makes it a job interview, Tessa’s search ends up with the impossibly dull Scott Strauss), but the pairing of those two characters is something worth seeing. Sheila’s particular brand of Chatswin-mania always plays better outside of the Shay household, and Tessa makes a nice contrast for her. Plus, Sheila’s genuine affection for Tessa makes her seem slightly more human than normal. For Tessa’s part, it allows Jane Levy to utilize her wildly diverse facial reaction game. It’s tough to not react when the mother of your boyfriend tries to turn a teenager into a prostitute for your best friend. That entire sentence just made my head hurt.