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Cheryl Hines gets fake hair, nails, breasts in 'Suburgatory'

September 27, 2011 |  7:30 am

Cheryl Hines in Suburgatory

If your local supermarket is out of sugar-free Red Bull, Dallas Royce is probably to blame. Cheryl Hines plays the Barbie doll clone -- the kind who harbors a hefty supply of the energy drink that would put the best "Extreme Couponing" participant to shame -- in ABC's new comedy "Suburgatory." 

In the series, which premieres Wednesday night (sandwiched between "The Middle" and "Modern Family"), Hines serves as a ditzy motherly figure to Tessa (Jane Levy), a 'burbs transplant along with her single dad (Jeremy Sisto).

We caught up with the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" mainstay to discuss life in "Suburgatory."

ST:  I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes as I ask this, but discuss the difference between “Suburgatory” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm."

CH: It’s a a completely different experience, working on “Suburgatory.” This is scripted, whereas “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was improvised. I kind of have to stop old habits sometimes. And my character, Dallas Royce … she loves her sugar-free Red Bull. Her hair extensions. Her fake tan. Her fake breasts. Her fake nails. But deep down inside she’s a warm, loving person. And she’s funny and is up for anything.  Cheryl David was very down-to-earth and was the voice of reason. Dallas is not the voice of reason … well, she has moments. That’s what’s fun about her. Sometimes you do get to see how much she really cares.

ST: We see that side of her mostly when she’s interacting with Tessa.

CD: Yes. Tessa’s mother is not around anymore. Dallas wants to take her under her wing and be supportive. But Tessa is not necessarily looking for that kind of support, but Dallas still gives it regardless. Every once in a while Tessa softens up just a little bit and lets Dallas into her life, just a little bit.

ST: And Jay Mohr will be playing your husband. What can we expect there?

CH: Jay’s character doesn’t like anyone to wear shoes in the house. He’s a bit of an alpha male; he sort of cramps Dallas’ style a little bit. We’re getting ready to have some more scenes together in the Thanksgiving episode coming up.

ST: But Dallas is definitely harboring a crush on George [Jeremy Sisto]. Will something happen there … and what’s it like working with him? I still can’t believe TV wants me to believe the guy from "Clueless" is now old enough to be a father to a teen!

CH: I love working with Jeremy. I’ve got to get my TV husband out of the picture. I find myself being very caught up in this world that Emily Kapnek has created, believe me. He’s so good. He’s very authentic and real. As far as our characters are concerned,  I think there’s definitely something brewing. I don’t know when or where. Sooner or later something is bound to happen.

ST: Talk a little bit about preparing for this role. Is there someone you modeled Dallas after?

CH: It doesn’t hurt to tune into the “Real Housewives” of any city. As a matter of fact, when we were shooting at the mall, we went to the food court and I was asked if I was one of the housewives. It was a life-changing moment for me. Career goal achieved.

ST: My apologies. Well, you guys are well into the season, filming-wise. Tease a little of what we can expect as the season unfolds.

CH: Here’s a doozie: I do a little dance on a stripper pole.

ST: Does Dallas have a stripper pole at home?

CH: I do it at a PTA meeting.

ST: Oh my. What would Larry David say about that?

CH: He would be utterly appalled. I don’t know why I wait till I’m middle age to hit the pole. I can't turn back the hands of time.

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-- Yvonne Villarreal
twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo: Cheryl Hines, left, as Dallas, and Jane Levy as Tessa in a scene from "Suburgatory."  Credit: ABC

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