January 17, 2014 3:06pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Suburgatory' Creator on 'Scaled-Back' Season 3 and Focusing on Core Group
The Suburgatory team addressed the changes they made in front of and behind the camera in-between seasons two and three.
"We scaled back a little. The show is a little bit leaner," creator Emily Kapnek told reporters Friday afternoon at winter TCA, referencing the departures of series regulars Rex Lee and Alan Tudyk.
Tudyk, for what it's worth, returns for three episodes, with his character coming back after a stay at a mental wellness institution. Parker Young, meanwhile, also will recur. (Kapnek addressed the cast departures as well as season three as a whole in a chat with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.)
When ABC's fall schedule was released last year without Suburgatory, the well-received quirky suburban comedy starring Jane Levy, some worried about the show's future. For Kapnek, she brushed away any suggestions that she and the writers were forced to re-evaluate the story from a creative point of view.
"I wouldn't necessarily say we re-evaluated the show's characters," Kapnek said. "In season one, George and Tessa had an us-against-them mentality, and in season two, we told the story of them assimilating. Having the same point of view throughout, -- I think that would've been uninteresting to watch. But what allowed us to come back to that in season three: I think we earned the return of them feeling like it's us against Chatswin because of everything we went through in season two. Chatswin became a little bit of a scapegoat. It felt like an honest way to get there."
That meant spotlighting the show's core characters. "We do get to focus a little bit more on our existing characters because we've scaled back a little. We delve deeper into their backstories," Kapnek said, adding that it was a "challenge."
In terms of what that translates to onscreen, Kapnek had this to say: "We get to see George's family. We have a fun episode where Dallas goes south, and we meet her family members."
ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee declared his love for Suburgatory earlier in the day during his executive session. "We feel it," Kapnek said in response.
"From a scheduling standpoint, there was a little bit of shuffling that went on, and Paul has been incredibly supportive of our show -- ABC in general," she continued. "Creatively [the show] takes a lot of risks, and I feel like they've been hugely supportive. I know some of the scheduling stuff was hard, and they're in the midst of figuring out what works where. We're very happy to be on the schedule -- to be back at 8:30 [on Wednesdays]."
Cheryl Hines added: "To be back at 8:30, It's a good time for us."
Suburgatory airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.