I got the chance recently to speak with Cheryl Hines. She’s currently starring in one of my favorite television shows, “Suburgatory,” on ABC. Hines plays a suburban divorcee named Dallas Royce who’s a cross between Barbie and a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills. She’s all body glitter and plastic surgery, but yet she’s a completely lovable character who has a heart for others.
Hines was kind enough to spend an hour with us chatting about her character, the show in general, and a bit about the upcoming Halloween episode, “The Witches of East Chatwin” which airs Wednesday, October 24, at 8:30pm local time (check local listings to be sure).
Hines’ character figures prominently in this new episode. Dallas has a new love interest and Hines hinted at future story lines which include the introduction of teen Tessa’s mother as well as other fun surprises. I asked if this romance might take away from the show’s sexual tension and ultimately change the show which has happened historically in other prominent romantic comedies like “Cheers.”
Hines insists the tension doesn’t let up even after the relationship begins. First because the couple’s idea of what makes a great date is very different and the writers had a lot of fun with that aspect. But there are also outside influences on the relationship and some issues with the families becoming enmeshed which she shares adds some hilarity to the future episodes and never lets the romance get too comfortable.
When asked about the age of her character, Hine’s comedy background comes out. I assumed her character is mid-40’s like Cheryl herself to which she replied with mock indignation, “How dare you?!? I am 35 if I’m a day!” Actually, Hines is 46 but she certainly can pass for a 35 year old as can her character Dallas who’s more likely to rock a mini-skirt to the grocery store than a pair of jeans. Hines says she knows moms like that. Mom’s who have their hair blowN-out and who don a designer dress before going to a PTA meeting.
But Hines’ claims she’s nothing like them, nor is she like her character. She doesn’t have a maid. She starts the dishwasher and cares for her young daughter. In fact, as we’re talking she stops to say good-bye and wish her and her friends a great day. It’s refreshing to hear that she lives such an everyday life in a job in which she entertains so many and unlike her character who has a housekeeper who’s job is to tell her she’s not old.
Before I let her go I had to ask her about what I call Dallasism . Dallas says some pretty crazy stuff and I was curious what her favorite was. She replied, “There’s one that I love where I’m talking about Dalia (her onscreen daughter) and I say what’s great about Dalia is she can always put her own happiness before everyone else’s.” She goes on to say, “…why she thinks that’s a great attribute really makes me laugh. It also is the writers making fun of parents who think that no matter how awful their kid is they’re still fantastic and they can’t do anything wrong it just makes me laugh.
I really enjoyed getting to know the actor behind the character and it was fabulous learning more about her background and where the character is going in the future. We’ll thankfully be seeing more of Dallas and Dahlia in future episodes.
Single father George Altman is doing his best to raise his sixteen-year-old daughter Tessa in the big city. When he discovers a box of condoms in her bedroom, though, he decides the time has come to move her to a more wholesome and nurturing environment: the suburbs. But behind the beautiful homes and perfect lawns lurk the Franken-moms, spray tans, nose jobs, and Red Bull-guzzling teens who have nothing in common with Tessa. It’s a whole new world, one that makes George wonder if they haven’t jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. With the help of suburbanites like old college friend Noah, flirty Alpha mom Dallas and awkward classmate Lisa, George and Tessa slowly learn to navigate the pitfalls of suburban life. With time, they might even find that it isn’t so bad.
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