Vlada Gelman is West Coast Reporter at TVLine
Jane Levy had only one credit to her name – Showtime’s Shameless – before landing the lead role in ABC’s Suburgatory. But watching the young actress hold her own as Tessa Altman against established actors like Jeremy Sisto, Ana Gasteyer and Cheryl Hines, it’s clear her talent is greater than her years. Now, the ingénue is on the radar of Emmy voters too.
AWARDSLINE: What has it been like carrying a show?
LEVY: I don’t really feel like I am [but] I’m constantly told that. At first, it was heavily narrated, and most of the show was about either Tessa or George’s storyline. But halfway through the season, [creator] Emily [Kapnek] realized that we have such a strong ensemble cast and she had to use them. I feel extremely safe, like I don’t even need to do anything because I’m surrounded by incredible actors and hilarious people. I don’t feel the need to be funny because of them.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
At today’s final TCA panel on the ABC single-camera comedy Suburgatory — the story of a bright urban teenager (Jane Levy) whose single Dad (Jeremy Sisto) moves her to the “white-picket-fence nightmare” of the suburbs — show creator and executive producer Emily Kapnek said she was not influenced by the ABC family hit Pretty Little Liars in creating the fictional wealthy suburb these characters inhabit. Rather, Kapnek said, she was more inspired by the tone of ABC’s long-running life-in-the-suburbs hit Desperate Housewives, now entering its eighth and final season. She called Suburgatory “more satirical’” than Pretty Little Liars, with its suburbia featuring a “horror, zombieland quality” similar to what she sees in Housewives. Kapnek said the town is a healthy split between a realistic, contemporary atmosphere and a “stylized, evergreen suburbia.” But Kapnek’s biggest inspiration for the show was reality: her own experience moving from an urban environment with a single parent into a suburb “where families didn’t look like ours and we didn’t’ have as much as they did … there was an economic divide, there were expensive bat mitzvahs … [the difference was] all of the fortune the kids had, and the families were incredibly intact.”