SUBURGATORY Season 2 Finale Post-Mortem: Emily Kapnek on the Tears, Spoilers, and 'Pleasant Nightmares' From 'Stray Dogs.' Plus Some (Very Early) Season 3 Plans! - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUBURGATORY Season 2 Finale Post-Mortem: Emily Kapnek on the Tears, Spoilers, and ‘Pleasant Nightmares’ From ‘Stray Dogs.’ Plus Some (Very Early) Season 3 Plans!

April 17, 2013 by  

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season 2 finale of SUBURGATORY. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it now and then come back to see what creator Emily Kapnek had to say about what went down and what’s next.]

Everyone safe?

If you watched the season 2 finale of SUBURGATORY and managed to get through it without shedding a few tears…you are a stronger person than I am. (Come on, that end montage while George sang? A complete emotional killer.)

To find out a little background about why the show chose to break up George and Dallas and where the show goes from here, I spoke with SUBURGATORY creator Emily Kapnek to see what she could share…

Before we get into the serious stuff, I have to ask about the crazy fights the characters got into in the two episodes tonight. How are those to film?
Emily Kapnek: I think it’s tough. It’s certainly not easier. We had the idea there was going to be a lot of punches thrown — literally and metaphorically — and you have to kind of contain that. The Dalia and Tessa fight, we had a stunt coordinator — who was a feature guy — come in and work with the girls. Even though it didn’t seem like a huge, huge undertaking, it was an enormous ordeal. Those girls worked so hard and trained so hard to be able to pull that off. They worked really hard to make that look fluid, to make sure none of the seams were showing.

The stuff with George and Jay Mohr[‘s character] was much, much easier. Nothing like the choreography that went on for Tessa and Dalia.

Right, that Dalia/Tessa fight was intense and seemed massively complicated.
EK: It was a full day of shooting. And the girls were exhausted. Jane [Levy (Tessa)] was in good for for it after EVIL DEAD; she had been fully tortured on the set of that film, so she was ready for anything.

So going to the more serious matters of the finale, how did the cast react when they found out that George and Dallas were going to break up?
EK: I brought Jeremy [Sisto (George)] and Cheryl [Hines (Dallas)] up to my office before we did that, before we explored that, and we talked about it. We talked about their relationship, we talked about the chemistry, we talked about what we liked and what we didn’t like. And we kind of vetted both options. We played with the idea of what would happen if they did all move in together? And what would happen if they didn’t? And I think in the end, we all three agreed that it just felt like a much more traditional, sitcom-y route to have them blend families and have them deal with Tessa and Dalia being under the same roof. And the idea of unleashing what we set up, and dealing with the fallout of the grief and the conflict felt much richer. And that’s what we went for.

I think on the day of, and when we were down there shooting, there were a lot of tears, even when we weren’t rolling. [Laughs] Cheryl was certainly emotional about it. It’s hard. It’s hard to put those big relationships and storylines to bed.

It was certainly hard to watch, because even knowing it was coming, there’s still that nagging feeling of, “But you guys were so good together!”
EK: Yeah. I know. I think they both make really good points when they’re arguing. I think you really do agree with what George says and with what Dallas says. And I think you see their points. And even better, I think we the audience have seen it. I think we’ve seen this season exactly what they say: that George has been going about this intellectually rather than watching him fall head over heels in love with Dallas. He’s been committed to her, but she hasn’t really sensed the true passion. And I think she’s also been in her own way a bit with George and latched very easily into that role that she does with men and didn’t do the hard work after her divorce to be the true other half of that relationship. It had a lot of their bumps, and I think George spent a long time trying to prove to Dallas that he loves her and that he’s invested. And I think it’s almost an impossible task; I think she has a lot of insecurities about the relationship.

Do you see this as the end for them permanently, or the end for them for now?
EK: I think for now. I think it’s really hard to say, but I think with any relationship, it’s hard to predict what the future will hold and define it. But I think for now, we spent a whole season examining them as a couple. And I think Tess and George in general have really kind of spent the season in Chatswin drinking the Kool-Aid, and assimilating in a way I don’t think either of them ever expected to: Tessa wearing Ryan’s letterman jacket and George embroiled with Dallas. I really like that at the end of the season, they’re both kind of left with, “My God, what happened? What happened to us?” So I think it puts us in a nice place where we’re poised for a return to self and examination of that. I think the George and Dallas relationship has to be a causality of that at this point.

I know you’ve never really had a problem with spoilers getting out there in the past, but given how much was known about the Dallas and George breakup, was that something you wish had remained unspoiled?
EK: Yeah, that was a bummer. We’ve all been really bad at that. I’m really bad at that…I spill everything. This time it wasn’t me. But yeah, that one was a bummer, because we wanted to create the feeling of being uncertain of what Dallas was going to do, and what she was going to decide. And once it was fully out there where it was going to go, it takes a little mystery out of the storylines.

But it was unbelievable how much was out there. [Laughs] But what are you going to do? I’ve been guilty of it myself. We’re so passionate about the show, we just want people to watch. So we do what we can to tease what’s interesting and exciting…I think it’s such a dire time in TV and comedies and keeping your shows on the air. I think you do all you can to try and create intrigue. Hopefully people will still want to tune in and find out.

Was there any concern about ending the season on such a dark note?
EK: Um, yeah, it’s sad. We did it in season 1, too. I think there’s a lot of emotional stuff going on for sure, but that’s one of those things that sets our little half-hour apart: we do tend to play with these story arcs from time-to-time, and there’s this stuff that’s comedic, but underneath it, just at the edges, or by the sides is this heavier stuff. And I think our viewers tend to enjoy when it crops up, and I think the network does, too. They’re really super supportive of us telling these stories, and I think they’ve always liked that element; examining of these heavier things. Hopefully it’s not too sad! But I do think it’s really touching. And, again, for me, really a lot of empathy for George. That’s what we wanted to do: go out with this real understanding of the struggle that he’s had. And it’s a really nice, cool place to start from from a story point hopefully if we are lucky enough to get our season 3. To dive in and get right to it.

At what point did you know you’d be bookending the season with the cast singing the theme song?
EK: That was sort of a late idea; it didn’t occur to me right away. I knew going into it we would be doing it in the beginning of the season, but for the end, it just sort of struck me as we were coming closer to the finale that this idea of a pleasant nightmare could belong to a bunch of people. And everyone’s got their own interpretation of what a pleasant nightmare is. And I think for George, I think the idea that he’s estranged from his daughter at that particular time, and he’s kind of lost his connection with her and at the same time, she has the chance to have exposure to this parent she’s always been fascinated with. It’s bittersweet, it’s two-sided, and that’s what makes it a pleasant nightmare.

Malin Akerman is in the finale as Tessa’s mom, but Akerman also has a pilot in the works for next year. Have you given any thought yet about what you’ll do if you get renewed and she isn’t available after making her such a big part of Tessa’s present?
EK: Yeah, we did. We had to pitch it both ways, because we’ve kind of painted ourselves in a corner to some degree here by having played this. We have some different scenarios. If we’re able to have some access to Malin, that would be perfect. But if not, we’ve given some thought and pitched some ideas to the network of how to get around that. And, ultimately, I think there’s some great stories to tell there. I love the idea of our show turning from a series that focuses on a single dad raising his daughter to, “Wow, what does it mean when someone you thought was out of the picture resurfaces to try and co-parent with you?” In a perfect world, we’d do a sizable arc with Malin. If she’s unavailable, our hands are tied and we’ll have to write ourselves out of that one. [Laughs]

Parker Young (Ryan) also has a pilot. Because of so much up in the air with him, too, have you been able to form any concrete ideas for season 3?
EK: Yeah, we’ve got stuff. Look, the hardest thing in knowing how fantastic that Parker is, is that we have this huge cast, and we have all these great supporting characters. So we have to make room to service everything, and that’s a really difficult balancing act we do. I think we try and give each one of these stories a chance to shine, but not ruin them by overexposing any one of them.

And I do think that for Parker, he’s absolutely adorable. His chemistry with Jane is fantastic. And he’ll always be a huge part of the Shay family. So whether his show goes and we only have access to him for a couple — because they did say they would make sure he was able to guest for a couple of episodes — or for some reason, the show doesn’t go and we make a commitment similar to what we did this year, he’ll always be a part of the show. And our show is the kind of show that whether it’s Chef Alan or Carmen or even the smallest character, they always end up resurfacing; the people of Chatswin always stick around. So I really am very hopeful we’ll find a way to make it work with all of our actors, no matter how busy and demanding their schedules are.

Are you feeling confident about season 3 at this point?
EK: Well, I’m Jewish, so…no. [Laughs] No, never confident. Just hopeful. And fingers crossed.

What did you think of the SUBURGATORY finale?!

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