There are many things I will do because TV has suggested they would be a good idea. Occasionally, though, there are some things even I won’t do, or people I can’t be, no matter how much I admire them. In this case, it’s because I don’t have the budget (or inclination) for extreme makeovers of both the home and body sorts. Consequently, I can’t be Dallas Royce, even though I think she might be my new idol.
Have you been watching Suburgatory? If not, you should be (summer is the perfect time to get caught up!). I do love watching a red-headed misfit’s take on high school, and Jeremy Sisto remains cute even now. (Side note – how weird is it that all the guys who were cute in Clueless are now playing dads? Suburgatory even had Alicia Silverstone guest star as a surrogate mother. Do you feel old? I do.) However, these are not the things I love most about Suburgatory. Cheryl Hines is.
If you’re not familiar with the show, the basic premise is that high schooler Tessa is uprooted from her home in Manhattan to finish high school in the suburbs. There’s a lot of spot-on mockery of suburban trends, from SUVs to tracksuits to Frappucinos to Red Bull. The ultimate personifications of these trends are Cheryl Hines’ character Dallas, and her daughter Dalia. While Dalia’s deadeyed deadpan is awesome in its own right, her character is mostly a typical high school mean girl. Dallas, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with. While her character appears to be a spoiled, superficial, suburban trophy wife, she lives her life with such genuine enthusiasm that you can’t help but root for her, no matter how ridiculous her pursuits, and ridiculous they are. Rare is the woman who throws a Thanksgiving dinner and insists her guests dress up as Pilgrims and Native Americans. Awesome is the woman who divorces her cheating husband and causes a stir at the country club by showing up with a new lover every week. This is a woman who named her dog after her favorite probiotic. This is a woman you tune into watch every week.
Dallas also has a wardrobe I secretly envy, and Cheryl has the body to pull it off. She goes to the gym with separate outfits for zumba, spinning, and weight lifting. She’s never met an item of clothing low cut or leopard print that she didn’t immediately buy. She looks better in a bedazzled minidress at 46 than most people in their 20’s.
While Dallas is often preoccupied with suburban superficialities like shopping and makeup and having a skylight installed in her daughter’s bedroom, they all come from a place of genuine caring. She goes out of her way to be welcoming when Tessa and her father move to the neighborhood. Her parenting might be more of the “cool mom” than the “regular mom” variety (her idea of “the talk” is discussing sex positions), but ultimately she just wants Dalia and sometimes surrogate daughter Tessa to be happy. It’s not every mother who allows her daughter to have a pet kangaroo.
It’s like Tessa says – under a giant pair of synthetic breasts, you can find a giant nonsynthetic heart. While Dallas looks like a typical suburban bimbo, at her core, she’s a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t going to let other people’s opinions stop her from getting it. It is a huge credit to Cheryl Hines acting ability that she’s able to make this character come across as a person with real emotions, and not just the caricature she’s drawn as. If you’re not sold yet on Dallas, I dare you to watch this video and not be. Unlike other TV characters, I might never share a wardrobe, hair color, or lifestyle choice with Dallas, but from now on, I’ll be aspiring to achieve even a fraction of her zest for life.
Image via The Hollywood Reporter