As Suburgatory's Dallas, Cheryl Hines is a big-haired, energy drink-chugging, slang-slinging suburban mom straight out of Bravo's Real Housewives. She just wants the best for her daughter, Dalia, and so she buys her too-short shorts and even tighter tops, all of which stuns city girl Tessa, their new neighbor who, with her single dad, George, just moved into town from Manhattan. It's through Tessa's horrified eyes — and uber snarky narration — that viewers are introduced to a version of suburbia ripe for the mocking, where pastel sweatsuits and frozen lattes are still the uniform and meal of choice for moms and every girl in high school is recovering from a nose job.
In the first episode of the ABC comedy (premiering Wednesday at 8:30/7:30c), Dallas offers to help ease Tessa (Jane Levy) into her new life by taking her to the mall where Dallas can help her out of her "lesbian boots" and into "a nice heterosexual dress shoe."
"To be the star of a reality show called Real Housewives, that would be a real dream come true for Dallas," Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) explains to TVGuide.com. "She's very influenced by those women, very put together, slightly glamorous — and let's be honest: there is nothing wrong with that."
Zombieland, boob jobs and spray tans collide in Suburgatory
Suburgatory, from executive producer Emily Kapnek (Parks and Recreation), is what Hines calls a loving satire, sending up the strange subculture of tanned-to-the-max denizens while never overlooking the real people who live there or why most of the country calls the suburbs home. Dallas, Hines says, is overly manicured but not all bad. And of all the characters on the show, she's also the most comfortable in her own skin. So before you laugh — and Hines is laughing — the benefit of the doubt is in order.
"I understand the trappings," Hines says."I understand a woman who validates herself by getting attention from the opposite sex. I have a friend who is that to a T... Doesn't mean she isn't a good person. That's a funny character to play."
Dallas takes an immediate shine to George (Jeremy Sisto) — a goofy but charming guy's guy-- and he, somewhat surprisingly, to her. She goes about helping Tessa in her own way, but nurture is nurture, says Hines. "Why would he be friends with this lady next door who's so superficial? Because there's a little part of her that's not, and that's like a little gold mine that he doesn't have in his life."
Those nuances are how the show aims to set itself apart from other broader comedies, she says. "You do see what can be silly about the suburbs, what can be superficial about them. You take it as far as you can and it's funny," Hines says. "But you also see kids riding bicycles, neighbors being nice to each other, parents helping other people's children. The suburbs are the American dream, right? Living in a nice house, having a good job, a happy family."
Check out a preview for Suburgatory below. Will you tune in?