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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.
Tessa is the daughter of an urban architect forced to move out of her beloved New York for a time, because her father fears it will corrupt her and put her in danger. He decides to live a standard American Dream in the suburbs, but it turns out he has watched too much Gossip Girl and not enough of Desperate Housewives: as Tessa immediately sensed it, helped by her anger and natural tendency to sarcasm, this place is not perfect for her. Like every principled new TV series's character in a corrupt new environment, Tessa will try to change things... Suburbians sometimes have taken it sometimes rather well, sometimes rather bad, and sometimes a bit too bad (there is only one notable example of things going a bit too well).
- Adorkable : Sometimes...
- 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.
- Brutal Honesty
- Cool Loser
- Dawson Casting: 5 years difference between the actress and the character.
- Dandere: It is jarring how kind she can be to some people, while she remains mostly unaffected by everyone else's lives in Chastwin. She is mostly a Tsundere, though.
- Deadpan Snarker: See the Snark Knight. It is both a defense mechanism in an hostile place and her way of fighting probably deeper emotions than what she lets on.
- Good Is Not Nice / Designated Hero + Hidden Heart of Gold - > Blithe Spirit + Good Is Not Soft.
- Expy: Some people think she is close from Daria. She was compared to Ginger from As Told by Ginger on the main page.
- The Face : Just like Dalia, she has a knack for targeting a given audience with marketing...
- 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 Mother Issues.
- Hollywood Homely: A true Alpha Bitch would have considered her a menace, not a potential punching ball.
- Insufferable Genius: Athletism 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
- Les Yay : With Dalia : though their resent originates in differences and a fight over a boy, Dalia thinks Tessa is a lesbian, they spend a lot of time fighting fixating each other, and Dalia wants to take revenge on her by stealing her girlfriend.
- Missing Mom, which leads to Daddy Issues.
- Mistaken for Gay: By Dalia and Lisa. Because she's a tomboy. And because of her boots...
- My Beloved Smother: Dallas and Sheila attempt to be this.
- Only Sane Man
- Popular Is Dumb / Surrounded by Idiots: Her opinion of everyone popular is this.
- Redheaded Hero
- Rule-Abiding Rebel: Sometimes comes across as this, however, she is not. She is, for instance, very supportive when Mr Wolfe comes out, and doesn't take care of her reputation.
- The Snark Knight: She's this all the time.
- Spoiled Sweet : Becomes this in an episode because she is succesful in her job, proving once again that she is not a Spoiled Brat, unlike most suburbanites.
- Stepford Snarker
- Tsundere: A very quiet and civil Type A.
- Mr. Vice Guy : Tessa is understanding, constant, supporting, and selfless, but her major superiority complex makes her oblivious to the others's feelings.
- 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 individduality.
- Friend to All Living Things: Hinted.
- Granola Girl: Gender flipped, complete except for the usual environnement part.
- Good Parents: When not overprotective or bumbling.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: with Dallas, perhaps.
- Hot Dad
- 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.
Comes close from being considered as a Stalker Without a Crush by George.
- Affably Evil
- 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 environnement, 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
- Hot Mom: Most people would think that.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming : She can mock her daughter, but no one else has the right to !
- Lawful Neutral / Lawful Good : Cannonical as of the barbecue.
- 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
- Ship Tease: A little bit with George.
- Shout-Out: To Bre e Van De Kamp and Misery.
- Straw Man Has a Point : Gynecologist : "Sex during pregnancy is great for the baby : [lists good arguments], and at the height of the sexual responsiveness, it's like a funny rollercoaster for the baby !" Sheila : "I don't want my baby on a rollercoaster !".
- 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
- Blondes Are Evil: Subverted, see Spoiled Sweet.
- Catch Phrase : "I am a full grown woman, George ! FULL GROWN !". It is even reprised by George.
- Doting Parent: Up to 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.
- Ensemble Darkhorse
- Gossipy Hens: Harmless, but aware of all the gossips in town.
- Friendly Enemy: To Jane.
- 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 / Cloudcuckoolander: 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.
- Iron Woobie : Upon learning that George and Eden's relationship is serious.
- 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 : She's this to Tessa.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules
- Spoiled Sweet
- Will They or Won't They?
Lisa Shay (Allie Grant)
"Can I excuse myself for I'm having a terrible time ?"
—Lisa trying to leave dinner.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Butt Monkey: The popular student see her as such. Tessa doesn't agree, neither does Sheila.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Very wise, very funny (through her humor), very unconventional, very insecure.
- Cool Loser
- Crouching Cloud Cuckoo Lander Hidden Badass
- Dawson Casting: Averted.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood
- Hidden Depths: Mostly positives, as she reveals to be kinder, stronger and braver than what could be thought.
- Hollywood Homely
- 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
Dalia Royce (Carly Chaikin)
"Dalia: My parents are getting a divorce.
—Tessa and Dalia talking together after Dalia's latest (arguably) Disproportionate Retribution.
- The Antagonist
- Anti-Villain: Sometimes a type 2, sometimes a type 3, sometimes driven off the scale by kindness or, in most cases involving Tessa, almost a vilain by harshness
- Blondes Are Evil: Averted, though after Tessa.
- Comically Missing the Point : "I am sorry I swept".
- The Corrupter: For Lisa.
- Daddy's Girl
- Deadpan Snarker
- Even Evil Has Standards: Never directly hurts her mother.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Her mother, her father, her kanguroo and (momentarly) her boyfriend.
- The Face: Campaign manager and party organizer while being a 16 year-old.
- Freudian Excuse: Played straight...
- Girl Posse
- Hidden Depths: Very kind to Tessa when she helps her with her boyfriend.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex
- Iron Woobie: Could be seen as this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Les Yay : With Tessa : though their resent has roots in differences and a fight over a boy, Dalia thinks Tessa is a lesbian, they spend a lot of time fighting fixating each other, and Dalia wants to take revenge on her by stealing her girlfriend.
- Mr. Imagination : Strangely, as she sounded very comformist 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 kanguroo and accepting others's extraavagance 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 Son Girl : Seeks the approval of her mother a lot more than what she appeared.
Mr Wolfe (Rex Lee)
"Tessa : But Ryan is just so...
—Tessa about her new boyfriend and Mr Wolfe about something completely else, apparently.
- Armoured Closet Gay
- The Cutie : A well-meaning romantic and childlish man trying to cope with his sexual orirntation 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
- Well-Intentioned Extremist : When it comes to charity, harmony, political correctness, and pleasing the students and the parents.
Noah Werner (Alan Tudyk)
- Brutal Honesty
- Chivalrous Pervert
- Cute but Psycho : Certainly gives this vibe.
- Happily Married : Ultimately.
- Henpecked Husband : At first.
- Iron Woobie : Sees himself as this. He is actually fine most of the time.
- Lovable Sex Maniac
- Poisonous Friend
- Unintentionally Sympathetic : Even though he is supposed to be sympathetic, he is much more sympathetic than he was intended as an Overprotective Dad. Unless you remember his Abusive Parent episode with his daughter : scheduling a C-section so that his daughter would be prematurate and he and his wife could go on a cruise.
- Vitriolic Best Buds
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents
- Extreme Doormat : He is not actually. See Love Martyr.
- Parental Favoritism : To his son.
- Gossipy Hens : Withs his wife.
- Happily Married
- Love Martyr : He would do anything for his wife.
- No Yay : With his son. "You've got a great body.". Is this troper the only one to still think it's Wrong On So Many Levels ?