'Suburgatory' Versus Purity

On Wednesday, ABC’s “Suburgatory” Second Season Finale fell low in the ratings and lower in the quality of its humor.

The latest episode heaped scorn on the idea of the “Purity Ball” – a dance for fathers and daughters to encourage girls to abstain from sex until marriage. Perhaps an odd custom, but supported by sane morality.

There are good ways to joke about such trends. Unfortunately, ABC opted for one of the worst – malicious caricature.

The show opens with a creepy band of middle-aged women saying, “Times, they have a-changed, and it is up to us to a-change them back.” Clearly, they intend to force something on their daughters – not to help them make wise decisions.

This teenage stereotype [“my parents just want to rule my life!”] only gets worse. When Sheila Shay (Ana Gasteyer) hears that her daughter Lisa (Allie Grant) has been sleeping with Malik (Maestro Harrell), she appears ready to vomit.

“I love Malik, and Malik loves me, and we’ve made love to each other many, many times, and it’s been fantastic,” Lisa says, with a [rather pitiful] high-five to her boyfriend.

Instead of correcting her daughter in love, Sheila storms out, saying, “One of your most redeeming qualities isn’t yours after all!”

Even worse, Lisa’s father Fred (Chris Parnell) has a confession of his own: “My first time was with a girl I wasn’t really in love with. And although I grew to care deeply for your mother, there are times I wish I’d trained with someone a bit more tender.”

The twist was funny, but the whole situation is too crass for good humor. Worse, it makes the whole subject rather dreary. – I mean, this is sex, we’re talking about! You’re allowed to at least seem excited!

Fred finishes with an awkward, “so bless you both,” condoning premarital sex and taking all the fun out of the situation.