“Wait ’til your mother gets home” takes on a whole new dimension this Tuesday, when Jane By Design (ABC Family, 9/8c) gets a visit from the one person who could put a serious dent in the Quimby siblings’ happy arrangement: Their long-absent mom, played by Teri Hatcher in a four-episode guest arc.
Mom Kate has been gallivanting the world and spending time at ashrams — but what she’s really been up to is “starring on Desperate Housewives [as Susan] for 10 years,” jokes David Clayton Rogers, who plays her son, Ben. Rogers’ on-screen sis, Erica Dasher (Jane), adds that their fictional mom is “a bit of a free spirit” who’s “afraid of commitment. She’s a very bohemian character.”
Kate’s so boho, in fact, that she abandoned her children to travel the globe. But now the earth mother has come home determined to make things right – and to seek refuge. “She’s at a point in her life where maybe she’s starting to reexamine things — and maybe running away from something else,” reveals Dasher, who adds that Hatcher’s character definitely has some secrets and “even a man that she’s involved with” (played by One Life to Live‘s John Brotherton).
Kate’s biggest threat, though, may come from her own son, who stepped up to become Jane’s guardian following their father’s death and who isn’t too happy to see his mom. Whereas Jane is “really excited to have her back, and [wants] to build a relationship with her,” Dasher says, her older brother is “much more wary.”
“She definitely upsets our happy little family,” adds Rogers. “She comes back and causes a rift between Jane and Ben, because [he] can remember how much it hurt for mom to choose to leave us, and that still stings. Jane was so young that she just misses having a mom.”
Naturally, Jane rebels against Ben’s overprotective nature, as teenagers tend to do, but there’s no doubt in Dasher’s mind about who’d win if her alter ego had to choose between her bro and her mom. “Teri’s wonderful, but Jane would have to go with Ben,” she says. “They’ve been together her whole life. He’s done nothing but take care of her. He gave up his life to raise her.”
It’s a sacrifice Rogers says his character would willingly make again. Although a parental figure has stepped back into their lives, allowing Ben to pass off some responsibility and reclaim his old life, he realizes “that maybe this is what he wants to be doing,” says the actor.
The reveal of Mama Quimby also puts to rest one nagging theory: “I had a sneaking suspicion that Andie MacDowell [who plays Gray] was actually our mom,” shares Rogers. “Just based on Erica’s and Andie’s hair alone, she should be the mom. April [Blair], the creator, assured everyone time and time again that Gray was not Jane’s mom, but that didn’t stop me from asking 10 more times.”
Boss lady Gray may not be the mysterious mom, but look for Hatcher’s Kate to find her way into Jane’s work world at Donovan Decker, putting her daughter’s job on the line. “[Kate] becomes overly involved in my life, sticks her nose in everything,” teases Dasher. “Jane’s eternal struggle for keeping things a secret is really on the line.”Follow @VladaGelman