By: Courtney Vaudreuil
If you heart Chatswin and all of its wacky inhabitants, you want to be sure to tune in to tonight’s special Valentine’s Day SUBURGATORY. Dallas tries to show that love is ageless and gets a boot knockin’ serenade. Over gourmet sandwiches from special guest star and Top Chef winner Chef Michael Voltaggio, theTVaddict.com sat down for some serious body talk with the cast of your favorite quirky show. Check out our in-depth chat after the jump.
On February 10, 2013, theTVaddict braved the Los Angeles traffic to sit down with the cast and creator of SUBURGATORY on the Warner Bros. lot. Carly Chaikin (Dalia Royce), Parker Young (Ryan Shay), Cheryl Hines (Dallas Royce), Alan Tudyk (Noah Werner), Jeremy Sisto (George Altman), Allie Grant (Lisa Shay), and creator Emily Kapnek talked about the characters, direction of the show, and some funny moments from this season.
Ryan is a simple soul.
Parker: Careful with the words! Simple soul is well chosen.
Are there ever any moments where you get the script and think Ryan is a little too simple?
Parker: Absolutely! Every day I think it’s a little too simple. More towards the beginning, I guess that was my biggest concern – being too simple and douche-y, just dumb jock-y. So the easiest way for me to justify it is just to be really child-like and good hearted. It all tends to kind of work out, though sometimes I have to say that it feels a little too simple. But, for the most part it’s fine, and it gives me a freedom with the character. He gets away with more because of it. But everything – like finding out about the adoption, every time he gets in a fight with Tessa over something, or this movie on Valentine’s Day – all these things are him breaking out of this bubble that he’s been put into by his parents, keeping him safe, simple. So little by little he keeps maturing and growing up.
Do you find Dalia’s upcoming revenge plans surprising since she usually has the attitude of, ‘I can’t be bothered by anything.’
Carly: Well, what I think is so interesting and what I love about my character and how Emily has developed her, is that she kind of turns into something you didn’t really expect. Throughout last season and this season, she slowly starts to develop and reveal these character traits that you might not have thought were there. I remember in the beginning in the first season, I was talking to Emily about the plan for Dalia, and she was like, ‘This is a character that is very specific and needs to be revealed slowly over time.’ So we have been doing that. I think you’ve really started to see the human side to her and this whole thing of she has that deadpan face, but there is so much going on behind that, and it’s almost scary.
The scene we filmed last week was a perfect example of that where after we did it, I was like, ‘I’m scared of myself.’ Because it’s kind of psychotic. But it’s great that we don’t see that off the bat because you keep getting more and more surprised, and find out more and more information.
She has totally fallen apart – she’s crazy. I don’t want to say pathetic, because she’s not pathetic. But, poor girl. Her dad doesn’t want to talk to her. She’s trying to pretend that she’s best friends with her step-mom who she doesn’t talk to.
Parker: But you think that all brings a realism to Dalia and explains who this person is?
Carly: Yeah, but, you think she’s so cool, but she can’t do anything better than Tessa, and so I think that it shows that she doesn’t have it all.
She does have some sympathetic qualities. Like how she calls George ‘Daddy Altman’ – those are little sweet things that help you to kind of feel sorry for her.
Carly: Yeah, the episode where she dyed her hair black and all that stuff, you really do see a side to her that is like – oh, she has the ability to be hurt and feel these emotions, and just like any other teenager can be lost. She has to find her way and doesn’t really have those coping skills. We also start to see some really sweet moments between Dalia and Tessa, too. It gives you a glimmer of hope – but, don’t get too excited! It’s short lived, but I think she goes to these extremes in wanting to be loved and accepted. There’s so much more to her than just dumb. One of the things that has been most important to me in regards to playing her is keeping that deadpan and keeping that funny, but making sure she is not a one-dimensional character.
In the East Chatswin episode, when she tells the other students that they don’t like her because she’s not as tan as they are, it seems more that she doesn’t register things in the way that most people would.
Carly: I think with her, it’s not even that she’s mean, she’s just honest. In the first season, there’s a line where she tells Tessa that she has a veiny forehead. I always say that it’s not because she’s trying to be a bitch, it’s just that she has a veiny forehead, and I saw it and I just want everyone to know that it is veiny. So I think the whole thing, I saw comments after that episode about how it’s not even about how everyone else is African American, and I’m white. That doesn’t even cross her mind – they’re just tan and I’m not. I think she has this innocence to her almost of seeing things in a raw way.
We have a lot of male mid-life crises going on. What about Dallas and the women, are we going to get a counter balance to that?
Cheryl: She says that she is a little insecure that George is a few years younger than her. But, I don’t know – I think for the women it’s more insecurity about what everyone sees.
Though she did also have her sex swing. How much fun was that to film?
Cheryl: I never know what I’m going to have to do on this show. I was in New York doing press and I get a text from production saying, ‘Are you a strong swimmer?’ I was like, ‘Um…yeah….‘ They’re like ‘Great, we’re going to do some synchronized swimming when you get back.’ So that’s what we do in Chatswin. You just kind of never know what we’ll be doing next.
Do you ever wish it was an hour long show?
Cheryl: I do. I think it would be a fun show
Allie: My grandmother said everyone in Mississippi wants it to be an hour. So if we can get the whole state to band together….
So Allie, how awkward was it having your child boyfriend this season?
Allie: I went home that night and sat up in bed, realizing that I told a 12 year old boy to ‘smack me harder.’ I had to go up to him because the director was like, ‘You have to make him comfortable, he’s scared, he looks uncomfortable on camera. You have to talk to him.’ I went up to him and was like, ‘It’s ok, you aren’t going to hurt me, just slap me harder. Don’t worry about it! It’s not a big deal! I don’t think anything’s wrong with it. You’re so sweet, don’t worry about it.’ I pleaded with him to slap me harder.
It’s been cute to see Lisa get closer with Ryan, are we going to see more of that?
Allie: Yeah, you will see that. Lisa attempts to become influential in his decision of going to college. We’re on episode 20 now, but I know that’s the thing about this show, with one episode everything can change. It can turn on its head in an instant. Right now, I think I sort of have a clear idea of where it’s going but I’m sure that I don’t. At this point, I think the Shay dynamic is remaining pretty intact.
What do you hope for Lisa’s future? That she will end up college roommates with Tessa?
Allie: You know, I haven’t even thought about that yet. I would love to see them living together actually. Oh my god. How much fun that would be. I think the ultimate hope is to never leave the Shay house. I really don’t ever want to be in a place where I am not governed by Sheila Shay. I really don’t. I don’t have any desire to leave the Shay house. So if that mean getting rejected from Princeton and going to community college and having to live at home, while Ryan is out being the superstar, would – for me – be ok, as crushing as it would be for Lisa.
When you start a high school show is it immediately in your mind that there is a time limit and how do you transition out of that?
Emily Kapnek: I love it. It think it’s great. For me, it drives me insane when you’re eternal seniors. I think it’s fantastic there’s a ticking clock. I’m a big believer in chasing story and embracing story and that’s why, you know, we talk a lot in season one about ‘is it too soon’ [but] it’s never too soon for me. I love the idea that there’s a graduation day coming for Tessa, and what does it mean for the future, and would she move back to New York, and what would that mean for George and Dallas. I think it’s so fun to have change and have characters evolve and have shows evolve and reinvent themselves. You don’t know how long you’re going to get. You never know when something’s going to happen. I figure just go for it. Go for the great stories and don’t be afraid. It’s funny because some of the things about our show not fitting into a certain template or not feeling like there is this super consistent model, those are some of my favorite criticisms of the show because I love shows that are like that. Life is like that. When you’re watching a show that feels incredibly formulaic that you could almost watch with the sound off and know what’s happening – it’s my biggest pet peeve. I love that our show is just a little unpredictable and we’ll go where you didn’t think we were going to go. We tell stories that are kind of sloppy, but have to do with crazy character exploration, and it’s just one of the things that makes it so much fun for the writers and the actors to work on – not settling into that high school show formula. So we are not afraid of everybody growing up and moving on. It just makes more stories.
There are a ton of surprises before the end of the season that we don’t want to spoil. But, we can share a couple things. One big question as George and Dallas move forward is whether Tessa’s mom, played by Malin Ackerman will reappear. “It doesn’t look like this season, but hopefully she’ll come back next season or in the future because she was great,” says Jeremy Sisto. Nevertheless, don’t count on smooth sailing between Dallas and George, though we should have a good idea at the end of the season where they stand. We can also expect a mariachi band, a Carmen romance, a death, and some post-divorce weight gain.
SUBURGATORY airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv