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Characters / Suburgatory

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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.
  • 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.
  • Cute Bruiser: A tomboy who kicks Dalia's ass.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • Bumbling Dad: Moves out each time his daughter risks to lose his virginity.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Parental Favoritism: To Ryan, though she does treat her daughter decently. Her more realistic, critical and blunt treatment of Lisa is still contrasting.

Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines)

"Get this driver's license or die trying... Maybe it's a bad advice..."
— Dallas, to her daughter.

  • Bi the Way: As a throwaway gag — one of her montage of, uh, croquet partners is a woman.
  • Catchphrase: "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.
  • 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.

Lisa Shay (Allie Grant)

"Can I excuse myself for I'm having a terrible time ?"
— Lisa trying to leave dinner.

  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Mostly positives, as she reveals to be kinder, stronger and braver than what could be thought.

Dalia Royce (Carly Chaikin)

Tessa: I'm sorry. I guess it must be painful.
— 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...

Mr Wolfe (Rex Lee)

Tessa: But Ryan is just so...
Mr. Wolfe: Listen, Tessa. When people see me, they think I am North Korean. 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.

  • The Cutie: A well-meaning romantic and childish man trying to cope with his sexual orientation and social pressure.
  • 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.

Noah Werner (Alan Tudyk)

Fred Shay (Chris Parnell)

Ryan Shay (Parker Young)

  • 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.
  • Spoiled Sweet: He comes from a well-off family, but is a genuinely nice guy.


Example of: