Love is in the air for "Suburgatory's" Valentine's Day episode (Wed., Feb 13 at 9:30 p.m. EST on ABC), but as is the case with most things in Chatswin, nothing really goes according to plan.
While the Shays deal with the reality of overbearing mothers, and Tessa (Jane Levy) and Ryan (Parker Young) struggle to find common ground on their date, George (Jeremy Sisto) and Dallas (Cheryl Hines) see their lavish V-Day itinerary disrupted after Dallas has an unfortunate reaction to a cosmetic procedure.
HuffPost TV caught up with Cheryl Hines via phone to learn more about the romantic episode (titled "Blowtox and Burlap"), what's coming up for George and Dallas and how she approaches the show's more surreal scenes.
Dallas spends most of the Valentine's Day episode hiding her face and lurking in the shadows because of some cosmetic surgery gone wrong, but the end result is pretty amazing. How was it to work with the prosthetics?
It was really uncomfortable. [Laughs.] It was interesting because, after I got off work one night, they told me to go to this special effects house in the valley. So, I show up and it looks like a warehouse with body parts everywhere and then they put a cast on my face; over my eyes and over my lips and over my ears. So, I couldn’t see or hear anything for 20 minutes. I kept thinking, "What if there’s an earthquake and I just run out into the street like a crazy woman that doesn’t know what’s going on?" I had to dig deep to stay calm during that time and then, when we actually shot, you forget you look like that and then I would be walking down the streets of the backlot at Warner Brothers, and somebody would look at me and just be horrified. They did such a good job of it that it looked like I really got carried away. So people sort of felt sorry for me. They looked at me like, "Oh no. Her self-esteem must be so low." [Laughs.]
Is George and Dallas' relationship fairly secure in the second half of the season? Aside from a few little fights, they've seemed solid in recent weeks.
I would not say secure ... They are opposites and there are times when, especially Dallas, feels very insecure because in her heart, she knows that she’s not the type that George goes for. But she can’t change because that’s who she is and I think it causes some conflicts every now and then. There’s even an upcoming episode where she has a moment of feeling like, "What if I love him more than he loves me and where does that leave me?" It’s hard because, at the same time, they have a really good time together. They really like each other and love each other, but she has glaring insecurities.
That's interesting, because I feel like when she met Tessa's mom Alex [Malin Akerman] in the Thanksgiving episode, she was fairly zen about it and didn't immediately get jealous or threatened the way I was expecting. Have you had the opportunity to do anything else involving Alex in upcoming episodes?
Well, there are moments when it’s clear to Dallas that he had a different, extraordinary relationship with Tessa’s mom and that does start to stir up feelings and insecurities. So even though she's not there, there’s a storyline about her that really causes Dallas to take a step back and look at the big picture and what if George doesn’t feel the same way about Dallas as he did about Tessa’s mom?
In "Yakkult Leader," we found out that there are things that Dalia [Carly Chaikin] is obviously hiding from Dallas, like the fact that she's failing science and considering converting to Judaism. Will we see anything that indicates that episode was a wake-up call for Dallas? Will she be encouraged to start communicating with her daughter a little more?
Dallas is so focused on George right now that I think she’s missing some of Dalia’s new challenges that she’s going through. So interestingly enough, George is there to help Dalia a little more than Dallas is.
I love that Tessa still comes to Dallas for advice, and she sometimes gets to share a little of her own in regards to George. Is there more of that dynamic coming up?
I like that relationship a lot, because Tessa does come to Dallas, and Dallas gives advice and Tessa is wise enough to sift through the superfluous aspects of some of her advice and get to the root of what she’s really saying. [Laughs.] I think a lot of people have a problem really sticking with what Dallas is saying and getting to the point, but Tessa’s smart enough to know what she’s saying and the point that she’s making. It’s interesting because, at the end of the day, Dallas has very simple values -- it’s pretty black and white: love somebody; tell them; if they love you, they won’t care what you look like or who you are and what decisions you’ve made that seem like bad decisions at the time -- they’ll still love you. So, Dallas is able to dole out that sort of advice, but whether she can take it herself is another story.
It seems like the show has really embraced its more surreal aspects this season, which has actually worked really well. Do you ever feel like the weirdness is too much, or do you think you've found the right balance now?
I think it’s a good balance. I think, because our show tends to touch on very real life situations, like only having a father around and a mother disappeared and we don’t know why, or divorce, or adoption ... the writers deal with sophisticated issues, but they do it in a way that is surreal and highly entertaining, and we’re able to laugh at it. We’re able to laugh at these challenges that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. But it’s interesting because for every bizarre, really out-there moment -- maybe for every five -- you have a really heart-to-heart moment between two characters and it really lands and you feel it, and I think that’s what makes our show so special.
I'm remembering George and Dallas' dance-off a few episodes ago. It was so random, but it worked. How was that to film?
It was entertaining, as you can only imagine. I mean, just watching Jeremy Sisto pop and lock, it was really hard to keep a straight face. It was ridiculous and fabulous at the same time.
Is that kind of scene liberating for you as an actor? I feel like there are very few things that you guys couldn't get away with on this show, because it remains grounded in honest emotions.
Yes, it’s freeing and terrifying because I never know what the writers are going to write next. Anything goes, so they’re not afraid of stripper poles or harnesses coming down from the ceiling, or naked wrestling matches in the steam room. They’re happy to write all of it and as actors, it’s fun to do, but also, you read the script a few times and think, "Do they really want me to do this? I wouldn’t do this with 10 people watching -- why would I do this with 8 million people watching?" I don’t know, but then we do it! And it shouldn’t work, but it works. It's crazy but it works.
"Suburgatory" airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. EST on ABC.
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