The last few television shows– or entertainment projects in general– you have seen Jeremy Sisto in have been much darker, more serious dramatic tales than his new ABC series Suburgatory. In part, Sisto claims that was due to the fact that people just didn’t find him very funny, but he also acknowledges that for a time he truly wanted to challenge himself with deep and intense roles. Nowadays, though, he is more open to material, and he points out that comedy is a challenge in its own way because it takes him out of the element he has grown accustomed to. LA TV Insider Examiner visited Sisto, who plays George, an architect and single dad who moves himself and his teenage daughter to the suburbs, on the Los Angeles set of Suburgatory to find out directly from him how he was finding stretching his comedy muscles and what we can expect from the series to come.
On finding the comedy in seemingly straight-man George:
“Anything I do that’s funny usually comes from a place of just trying desperately to get something done. There’s an episode that’s really cool where I am challenge by Ana Gasteyer’s character. She’s trying basically– they’re all trying, basically, to raise my child because they don’t think I can. So I become, like, the best parent around. I’m head of the PTA; I get so into it that I’m starting to use their terms and wear mom jeans, and it’s just out of control. That kind of stuff is– I have to do some more things where I’m like ‘I hope that plays’ because yeah, I’m much more comfortable being that guy who just brings a sense of the audience’s eyes.”
On if George will be dating this season:
“I do start dating someone for a period of time, but it kind of blows up in my face because the fact is I’m sneaking into New York to see her, which obviously my daughter is pissed about because I moved her out here in the first place. But yeah, I’m also kind of starved for, you know, women who are career-oriented…more what he’s used to. He’s dating a little bit, but it’s not what he’s focused on.”
On the evolving flirtation between George and Cheryl Hines’ character, Dallas:
“I totally didn’t think that was possible when I read the pilot, but…Cheryl’s character is becoming more and more ‘human’ and you feel for her, and George and her relationship– they’re really bonding in a way that’s unexpected, that I didn’t expect. And you start to see there are some similarities there. You know, they’re both optimistic people, and he really is tickled by the way she looks at life. He thinks she’s funny, and you can see them as an old couple, actually! It’s become something that’s a really unique possible love thing [but] she’s married to Jay Mohr, and they have a kind of disturbing relationship. They get into that. There’s some stuff that’s pretty, I mean, not straight ahead dramatic, but there are some things.”
On how much of the series will be George struggling with whether he made the right decision to move in the first place:
“You know, it does come up against in the sense that it’s a real quick conversation of ‘We’re not moving; we’re committing to it.’ But even in the pilot, I say ‘I think I ruined her life’, like, I know I made a weird choice, but for whatever reason– the stubbornness, the belief that you have to just commit in parenting in order to give some sort of a backbone– he’s made his choice. He’s picked up his whole life and moved here, and he’s not going to move. To some degree I’d like there to be some talk as to what he actually sees this as, but you know, Emily said it right in the conversation I was having with her the other day in that ‘What is he going to say?’ There are some bad, bad points to this, but he made the choice for her. He did it for her; it came from a loving place. Whether it’s right or not, he doesn’t know, but he’s committing to it. But it’s not a central– it’s not a conversation we’re having very often.”
On finding the father-daughter chemistry with Jane Levy:
“You know, I’ve liked people, and it hasn’t been that interesting a combination…I don’t know what it is exactly; it’s hard to put your finger on …they’re wanting to stay with this really unique relationship. And I think it might just be because of the casting that it works. It’s really sweet. It’s kind of like ‘Oh, it would be cool if that was my relationship; if that was my dad or my daughter’.”
Suburgatory airs on Wednesday nights at 8:30pm, only on ABC.
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