Suburgatory's Jeremy Sisto on George and Tessa's New Resolve and Being "Hurt" by Dallas
When TV viewers last visited the immaculate streets of Chatswin on Suburgatory, George Altman (Jeremy Sisto) was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad couple of days. After deciding to co-habitate with his girlfriend Dallas (Cheryl Hines), George's daughter Tessa (Jane Levy) protested and left to move in with her mom. Then, Dallas dumped George, but only after he had purchased a hideous house for Dallas that he didn't even like.
Fortunately, when the ABC comedy returns for Season 3 (Wednesday, 8:30/7:30c), George's dog days are almost over. "George is at a real low place," Sisto tells TVGuide.com. "He's living in this horrible house that he bought for his ex-girlfriend with leather wallpaper, he has no furniture, his daughter has run away to live with his ex-wife, and his only companion is a big dog. But the beginning of the season is the end of that cycle."
Sisto also talked with TVGuide.com about George and Tessa's new "resolve," the fallout from his breakup with Dallas, and whether he thinks they'll end up together.
We left George in a really rough place last season. Where we will find him in the premiere?
Jeremy Sisto: Tessa comes home one day and instead of her mom, she finds me with a note from her mom saying that she left. I tell her this is what she does, and we kind of re-join forces and decide that we're going to live in Chatswin through her high school years, which is just another two years. But this time we will not get sucked into their suburban ways and we will keep hold of our urban identity. We begin the season with a newfound desire to not lose ourselves in this environment.
What makes them stay in Chatswin besides Tessa wanting to stay in the same school?
Sisto: Another move at this point would be more disruptive than not. In fact, Tessa stayed in Chatswin when she stayed with her mom over the summer. The dirty little secret they have is that Chatswin has grown on them in ways they can't even explain. They secretly want to stay. I think maybe George, even more than Tessa, has found a way of life that, even though in some ways they find it completely repulsive, in another way he finds it very nurturing and something that he really appreciates and enjoys.
Do you think George partly wants to stay in Chatswin because of Dallas? How does he feel about the end of their relationship?
Sisto: He's upset at her. He maybe secretly understands that perhaps he didn't love her as much as she needed and so he suspects there could be some validity to her actions. But he's really hurt and angry and the beginning of this season. There's some dividing up of the town. It's not an amicable split. At a certain point, we actually recruit our daughters to be basically our lawyers and divide up locations within the town so that we don't run the risk of running into each other. But the season brings our relationship to a whole other level and, in a way, kind of back to where they were before they got together. They have feelings for each other, but they're just so different that it almost works more if those feelings are not manifested.
Will we see George dating?
Sisto: He does date someone else, who, I've got to say, is kind of a rebound. It's not a huge relationship for George. It never really kind of progresses, but Natasha Leggero plays the role and she's hilarious. There is a funny episode also when Noah, Fred and George go on a group date, where you and two of your friends go on a date with a girl and two of her friends that's set up by the country club.
We also get to meet George's dad this season. What is he like and what kind of dynamic does he have with George?
Sisto: My dad is coming at a very interesting time, and sort of fills out where George comes from. His dad is kind of a player; he's really into the ladies. And you learn that George's mother died and there are some issues there that he has with his dad about how his dead dealt with it. The show continues to have a really interesting mix of broad, wacky comedy and real personal issue, and I think that's what makes the show unique.
Going back to Noah, Alan Tudyk isn't coming back full-time this season. The two of you got to do a lot of wacky physical comedy together. Was that disappointing?
Sisto: Hugely. We were all very disappointed. The show is in a place that it didn't make sense to have him there the whole time. No one was excited about that decision, but he is back for a number of episodes this season. ... Noah has been put through the emotional ringer because of the affair that ruined his marriage, so he has checked himself into a bit of a mental health clinic. So he's spreading inner peace and love.
Now that George and Dallas are no longer together, and George and Tessa have a new resolve to not get sucked into the Chatswin lifestyle, did it feel like going back to the first season of the show?
Sisto: The interesting thing with the Dallas storyline is I think they're very, very different. Last season, they put a lot of effort into their relationship and it was rocky to say the least. I think another element that was different was that George was less consumed with his daughter's situations. He really gave her free reign last season. In this season, there's an element of them being on the same side which is something that the first season had, that they were kind of working together more to fend off these people. So it's gone back to that dynamic more. I think that's another element of the show that makes it unique is the single father-teenage daughter dynamic and we've worked to maintain that this season. There are always changes... [but] it always feels, in some way, like a new show and a new effort to find a different take on the same concept.
In your opinion, do you think George and Dallas will end up getting together in the end?
Sisto: I really don't know. I would think that they get back together, but when I've talked to [creator Emily Kapnek], that doesn't seem to be the plan. When they did put them together, he was more unpredictable and irrational than when they were just pining for each other. So, I would love to see them get back together. ... Emily, our creator, she's really smart and she really tries to stay tuned to what the fans are responding to. It's hard to say what's going to happen from one season to the next.
Suburgatory returns Wednesday at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.
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