Tessa Altman (Jane Levy)
"Pretty ironic that a box full of rubbers landed me in a town full of plastic"
— Tessa about the Condomgate, the incident that consisted in her father finding condoms in her room, causing them to move out.
- Adorkable: Sometimes... whenever she lets her deredere side go out.
- Ambiguously Jewish: States that a [nerdy repressed Jewish boy] is exactly what she ought to have as a boyfriend.
- Blithe Spirit
- Broken Pedestal: Her reaction to George giving her happiness less importance than he gives to Eden, and to him sending her with him in Chatswin. She had one with her mother and her mother's family too, ever since she is born. This worsens when she is deprived of Dallas, her new found mother figure...
- Brutal Honesty: When she doesn't think it will be hurtful, she does this. She increasingly begins to use Tactful Translation as everyone's vulnerability in Chatswin begins to show, because she realizes Chatswin's inhabitants are not quite the superficial heartless bastards she though they were.
- Cool Loser: Somewhat Justified in that she's like this because she doesn't want anything to do with most of the people in Chatswin.
- The second season has flipped this, with her losing her edge becoming the butt of the joke.
- Dawson Casting: Downplayed. 5 years difference between the actress and the character.
- Deadpan Snarker: See The Snark Knight. It's both a defense mechanism in an hostile place and her way of fighting probably deeper emotions than what she lets on. This leads to Dramatic Deadpan.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life
- Expy: Some people think she is close from Daria. She was compared to Ginger from As Told by Ginger on the main page (both shows are created by Emily Kapnek).
- The Face: Just like Dalia, she has a knack for targeting a given audience with marketing.
- First Name Basis: She always calls her father "George."
- Generation Xerox: She may take the sarcasm from her grandmother or from her mother. Her physical resemblance with the first is mentioned by George. The resemblance with her grandmother is proved via a very similar looking actress, who snarks as much as Jane Levy.
- Good Is Not Nice —> Good Is Not Soft
- Hidden Depths: More emotional and forgiving as what was once thought (in the first episodes, she could have been considered a Jerk Sue), and probably having Mommy Issues.
- Hidden Heart of Gold
- Insufferable Genius: Athleticism is dumb. Being popular is dumb. Being George is bordering dumb. Being anyone else than Lisa, Malik and Dallas in the suburb is venturing on the Dumb Frontiers. Oh, and if you want to buy her this highly expensive crystal art she succeeded in making you decide you would definitely buy, you are actually pretty smart.
- Lemony Narrator
- Missing Mom: Which leads to Mommy Issues.
- Mistaken for Gay: By Dalia and Lisa. Because she's a tomboy. And because of her boots...
- Mr. Vice Guy : Tessa is understanding, constant, supporting, and selfless, but her major superiority complex makes her oblivious to the others feelings, because she thinks that they can't be deep.
- Only Sane Man
- Popular Is Dumb/Surrounded by Idiots: Her opinion of everyone popular is this.
- Red-Headed Hero
- The Snark Knight
- Spoiled Sweet: Becomes this in an episode because she is successful in her job, proving once again that she is not a Spoiled Brat, unlike most suburbanites.
- Stepford Snarker
- Sugar and Ice Personality: It is jarring how kind she can be to some people, while she remains mostly unaffected by everyone else's lives in Chastwin at the beginning. She is mostly harbouring behaviors of a tsundere, though.
- Tsundere: Subverted. She would look like a very quiet and civil Type A, except that she doesn't try to seem angry, nor cares enough to be angry most of the time.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist : Zig-zagged, and ultimately averted. She begins as a snarky teenager with a huge superiority complex who bashes people who provoke her or try to change her, but then reveals to be morally upright and a Blithe Spirit (helping Mr Wolfe in coming out). Then, she takes Dalia's would-be-boyfriend as her boyfriend, but tries to tell her before and is quite honorable about it until The Rival is enraged and grows more insulting, and she starts showing off before the poor Dalia. Then, she apologizes, and acknowledges that Dalia is having a hard time, answers kindly to her declaration of Roaring Rampage of Revenge and bonds more with Dallas and helps Dalia. Then, she dumps Scott because he is suffering PTSD. Though it was a rather funny, benign and insulting form of it. Then, she helps Dalia and behaves well... until she rejects her new stepmother rather abruptly. But it was because her father let her become her mother figure without her consent because he likes her, estranging her from the new mother figure, who symbolizes everything he wanted her to accept in the first place.
- Workaholic : Proves to be one.
George Altman (Jeremy Sisto)
"Yes, I'm a dad, but I am also... a dude"
- Ambiguously Jewish: Because of Tessa's statements, it might be inferred that he and Tessa's mother are Jewish.
- Big Man on Campus: Was one.
- Bumbling Dad: Moves out each time his daughter risks to lose his virginity.
- Taken Up to Eleven with the Edengate.
- Casanova Wannabe: As pointed out by Dallas, whom he thinks is liking him a lot. She likes him, but is not as easy to seduce and willing to go out with him as he thinks.
- The Charmer
- The Cutie: Could come across as this because he likes to save flowers, comfort teenagers, and sing old cute New Age songs about the importance of individuality.
- Friend to All Living Things: Hinted.
- Granola Girl: Gender flipped, complete except for the usual environment part.
- Good Parents: When not overprotective or bumbling.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: With Dallas, perhaps.
- Only Sane Man: Less than Tessa, and much more prone to be "contaminated" by the suburbians.
- Overprotective Dad: See Bumbling Dad.
- Sarcastic Devotee: To Tessa.
- Ship Tease: With Dallas, endlessly. A little bit with Sheila and with the waitress he goes out with.
- Team Dad: Mostly with Lisa and Malik.
Sheila Shay (Ana Gasteyer)
"I don't hit them because it's fun, although it is. I hit them so that the whole garden shine"
— Sheila talking about the weak flowers in her garden.
- Affably Evil
- Alliterative Name
- Alpha Bitch
- Blondes Are Evil
- Deadpan Snarker
- Gossipy Hens
- Happily Married
- Hidden Depths: She wanted to get a child via adoption, and though she was over the top in proving she would provide a healthy environment, she began to cry during the shooting of the video. It was Played for Laughs, but Lisa's "It's disgusting", watching the video, bordered a Tear Jerker.
- Hidden Heart of Gold
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: She can mock her daughter, but no one else has the right to!
- Mama Bear
- Moral Guardian
- My Beloved Smother
- Parental Favoritism: To Ryan, though she does treat her daughter decently. Her more realistic, critical and blunt treatment of Lisa is still contrasting.
- Plucky Girl
- Promotion to Opening Titles: As of "The Body."
- Rich Bitch
- Ship Tease: A little bit with George.
- Shout-Out: To Bree Van De Kamp and Misery.
- Tsundere: Type B.
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Yandere: Gets accused to be one.
Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines)
"Get this driver's license or die trying... Maybe it's a bad advice..."
— Dallas, to her daughter.
- Adorkable: Somehow.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Bi the Way: As a throwaway gag — one of her montage of, uh, croquet partners is a woman.
- Blondes Are Evil: Subverted, see Spoiled Sweet.
- Catch Phrase: "I am a full grown woman, George ! FULL GROWN !". It is even reprised by George.
- The Cutie: She is an adorable mom who wants the best for her daughter and everyone else. She is also warm and generally innocent.
- Doting Parent: Upto Eleven... Basically, everything is an excuse to give her daughter the self-esteem and appreciation she deserves.
- And then, it gets subverted with a hard Why Are You Not My Son? speech to Tessa in front of Dalia. And then she gives a gentler I wish my daughter would be a bit more like her compliment to Tessa in front of Dalia.
- Friendly Enemy: To Jane.
- Gossipy Hens: Harmless, but aware of all the gossips in town.
- Good Parents/Parents as People: Loving, but oblivious to some problems her daughter cause.
- Hidden Depths: You thought that she would put up with being cheated on for the money and would let her daughter get things that she thinks are not good ? You were kinda wrong.
- Idiot Savant/Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Can talk with her dog, take care of a store, being very aware of etiquette, and manage very well in life, but can't get that A) She doesn't need surgery to be beautiful B) She needs more true friends, like George and Tessa C) Dalia is Dangerous with a capital D for people whom she doesn't like.
- Parental Obliviousness: As pointed out in Idiot Savant at first, untill she gets awareness of some of her daughter's bad points, at which point she goes from one extreme to another, judging Dallas hardly.
- Parental Substitute: To Tessa.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!
- Spoiled Sweet
- Will They or Won't They?: With George. They will.
Lisa Shay (Allie Grant)
"I can't be mad at you for not having willpower. All I can do is pity you. Which I do."
— Lisa about Tessa desiring to date her brother.
"Can I excuse myself for I'm having a terrible time ?"
— Lisa trying to leave dinner.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Black Sheep
- Butt Monkey: The popular student see her as such. Tessa doesn't agree, neither does Sheila.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Very wise, very funny (through her humor), very unconventional, very insecure.
- Cool Loser
- Crouching Cloud Cuckoo Lander Hidden Badass
- Dawson Casting: Averted.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood
- Hidden Depths: Mostly positives, as she reveals to be kinder, stronger and braver than what could be thought.
- Hollywood Nerd
- Ignored Epiphany: Often realizes that she could take a Good Is Not Nice Clock King Emotionless Girl approach to things, and shows the same kind of cold calculative brillance as her mother - then goes for the Lovable Coward Extreme Doormat Cloud Cuckoo Lander option.
- Internalized Categorism : She thinks herself inferior, because she is in the standards of her family to Ryan. She also does because she disagrees with this standards, thinks her family is inferior to the rest of the world, thus feeling inferior because of association.
- In the Blood: Her main fear about her future.
- Lovable Coward
- Mistaken for Gay
- My Beloved Smother
- The Unfavorite
Dalia Royce (Carly Chaikin)
- "Dalia: My parents are getting a divorce.Tessa: I'm sorry. I guess it must be painful.Dalia: You know whatís going to be painful? ? When my mother remarries your father and Iím your new sister and Dad likes me best. And then we send you away to an all-girls boarding school where you find true love. And on visiting day I come up and steal your new girlfriend. The following spring we marry in a civil ceremony which you are forced to cater. And everyone hates your catering. And you get a bad review on Yelp, which pretty much sinks your organic lesbian catering venture."— Tessa and Dalia talking together after Dalia's latest (arguably) Disproportionate Retribution.
- Alpha Bitch: She fits the social role and morality of actions, not the shallowness and always willing crualty.
- The Antagonist
- Anti-Villain: Sometimes a type II, sometimes a type III, sometimes driven off the scale by kindness or, in most cases involving Tessa, almost a villain by harshness.
- Armored Closet Gay: Calls Tessa a lesbian constantly, but used to hook up with a girl.
- Bi the Way: Used to hook up with Noah's college-age daughter.
- Blue and Orange Morality
- Boomerang Bigot
- Blondes Are Evil: Played With. The more you get to know her, the more she sounds like a Starfish Alien with Blue and Orange Morality and very human feelings - the good way - rather than an Obviously Evil Card-Carrying Villain.
- Comically Missing the Point : "I am sorry I swept".
- Converting for Love: When nebbish Evan breaks up with her, citing the fact that he could never be with a Shiksa Goddess long term, she begins studying Torah to convert. Besides George, she hasn't told anyone else about this.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander
- The Corrupter: For Lisa.
- Daddy's Girl
- Deadpan Snarker
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Dalia Oprah Royce.
- Emotionless Girl
- Even Evil Has Standards: Never directly hurts her mother.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Her mother, her father, her kangaroo, Carmen and (momentarily) her boyfriend.
- The Face: Campaign manager and party organizer while being a 16 year-old.
- Freudian Excuse: Played straight...
- Augmented when you realize that she hid her homosexual tendancies in very repressed suburbia by becoming the chief of a bigoted group and ruling her school.
- Girl Posse
- Hidden Depths: Very kind to Tessa when she helps her with her boyfriend. In the closet about her bissexuality, Hates Being Alone, and likes the two Altman.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Ms. Imagination: Strangely, as she sounded very conformist and socially tuned at first. She goes into two inner Indulgent Fantasy Segue, and has a very personal vision of the world, eventually asking to adopt a pet kangaroo and accepting others's extravagance as long as she likes it.
- The Resenter: To Tessa about their Love Interest, and to Yukolt because she draws her mother's attention...
- Shadow Archetype: For Tessa.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Seeks the approval of her mother a lot more than what she appeared.
Mr Wolfe (Rex Lee)
"Tessa : But Ryan is just so...
Dalia : Listen, Tessa. When people see me, they think I am North Corean. But what they don't see is that I am also South Korean."
— Tessa about her new boyfriend and Mr Wolfe about something completely else, apparently.
- Armoured Closet Gay
- The Cutie: A well-meaning romantic and childish man trying to cope with his sexual orientation and social pressure.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?
- The Idealist
- Innocent Bigot
- Psychologist Teacher: Apparently, he was right about Ryan Shay being more worthy than he looked like, but it gets subverted most of the time, because he lets the High School become very dysfunctionnal, because he honestly believes that implicated students like Dalia are always right and well-meaning. When it comes to Dalia's enemies, she is not well-meaning.
- Team Dad: Attempts to be this for Tessa and Dalia, and sometimes succeeds.
- Token Minority
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: When it comes to charity, harmony, political correctness, and pleasing the students and the parents.
Noah Werner (Alan Tudyk)
- Berserk Button: Try calling him a "pompous baby." Go ahead, try.
- Brutal Honesty
- Chivalrous Pervert
- Cute and Psycho: Certainly gives this vibe.
- Happily Married: Ultimately.
- Henpecked Husband: At first.
- Lovable Sex Maniac
- Poisonous Friend
- Vitriolic Best Buds
Fred Shay (Chris Parnell)
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents
- Extreme Doormat: He is not actually. See Love Martyr.
- Parental Favoritism: To his son.
- Gossipy Hens: With his wife.
- Happily Married
- Love Martyr: He would do anything for his wife.
Ryan Shay (Parker Young)
- The Brainless Beauty
- Delusions of Cathood
- The Ditz
- Dumb Is Good: He really can be sweet sometimes.
- Happily Adopted: When he finds out, he's not so happy about it. He goes back to this trope when he realizes just how much his family loves him.
- Heroic BSOD: Goes absolutely nuts when he finds out he's adopted.
- Popular Is Dumb
- Ship Tease: With Tessa
- Spoiled Sweet
- Will They or Won't They?: With Tessa