It’s hard to believe that Jeremy Sisto, who might be better known for playing Jesus, Julius Caesar, Billy Chenowith on “Six Feet Under” or Detective Cyrus Lupo on “Law & Order,” is now going for laughs as the dad of a teenager on ABC’s “Suburgatory.” (Wed. at 8:30 p.m.)I spoke to Sisto briefly about the latest episode of the show (which will bring the pilot’s plot full circle), George’s new romance (with guest star Alicia Silverstone) and why he had such a tough time convincing people he’s funny until now.
In the next episode, George finds a box of condoms in Tessa’s room and completely flips out — which is pretty much the reason they moved to the suburbs in the first place. Does he handle the situation any better this time around?
He pushed off any mature conversation he could have had about sex by moving to the suburbs, and he’s flailed around since then. This week, he’s so out of control he has a fling with someone who’s completely surprising as a reaction to this. It really is a surprise, at least it was to me when I read the script. it’s the first episode that really deals with the premise of the show and the first time we get to see that conflict played out.
Speaking of resolution, how long can George and Dallas (Cheryl Hines) keep dancing around their mutual attraction?
I think it can be played out for a long time, but I hope not too long. It’s definitely a relationship that’s taken time to develop, and that’s why it’s such a cool relationship. While I hope they do hook up, for some reason they have a real block of seeing it as a real possibility.
And then, George keeps meeting other women…
Yes, Alicia [Silversonte] puts a wrench into anything substantial happening this season, but the potential is still there.
You and Alicia co-starred in “Clueless” and “Hideaway,” in which you played a serial killer. How did this come about?
Emily, the show runner, was a “Clueles”s freak and said they were throwing around the idea of bringing her on, and I was all for it. It’s a relationship that brings a lot of conflict. She and George move very quickly into a relationship that becomes more advanced than it should be. It’s one of George’s more impulsive acts to not deal with how fast everything moves.
Will we be getting “Clueless” references in the episode?
It will be satisfying to see Elton and Cher, together again, so yeah. There will be Inside jokes, of course. But I won’t tell you so that can be a surprise. But there’s no Cranberries CD. That’s one of the guesses I’ve heard.
You have a young daughter, Addie Lane. Do you think you’re learning from George’s mistakes?
I don’t know about that. It will be a lot of fun to watch the show with her when she’s old enough, but that’s thirteen, fifteen years down the road. I hope I’m able to be more mature about my daughter having relationships and growing up than George is.
We don’t really think of you as a comedy guy. Why do a sitcom?
Before I did “Law and Order,” I tested for a comedy I didn’t get. I have trouble getting comedies, honestly. People don’t think I’m funny, or I get nervous and blow the audition, so I don’t get it. But comedy was something I skewed away from for a while. I was young and self-important and wanted to be a “real” actor and only do “serious” work. Now I’m a sillier person and I enjoy comedies. The point of comedy is it makes more sense to me now in the real world. It makes more sense to me to do comedies, because why not make it easy on people? These days, people are going through tough times. They need to laugh. And this show is the best of both worlds, because it has laughs but it also has real relationships and people who we care about.
You’re working with a lot of comedy vets on this show, like Hines, Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell. How different is that from working on the set of a drama?
It’s really funny to be around them; they’re really cool people. A lot of comics are really troubled and angry, but we don’t have that. We’ve got the good kind of comedians. Everyone’s really humble and really funny to talk to and light, so yeah. It’s really cool to be surrounded by comedians. A lot more fun than dramatic actors, honestly.