TVLine's Performer of the Week: Cheryl Hines

Cheryl Hines SuburgatoryA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Cheryl Hines

THE SHOW | Suburgatory

THE EPISODE | “The Birds and the Biederman”

THE AIRDATE | Feb. 5, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | It was the fallout for which Suburgatory fans had been bracing: In this week’s episode, the paths of erstwhile lovers Dallas (Cheryl Hines) and George (Jeremy Sisto) collided in the Chatswin dog park for the first time since their sudden and painful split. And Hines, in particular, mined the story arc for absurdist comic gold and genuine, palpable heartbreak.

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Playing a character like Dallas in the heightened, sometimes parodic world of Suburgatory is no small challenge. In typical fashion, Hines scored many of biggest laughs in “The Birds and the Biederman” by exposing her materialistic single mom’s shallow limitations: using her fluffy pooch Yakult as a canine shield to prevent George from spotting her; ranting to vapid daughter Dalia about George’s attempts to encroach on her territory (“What’s next? George Altman opening wide for my OBGYN?!”); clumsily attempting to work her remote control without the help of a maid.

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Dallas’ desperation to avoid interacting with George crescendoed with her use of a Chinese restaurant delivery map and a magic marker to claim territorial rights, and subsequently, the hiring of her daughter as an intermediary to present her list of demands. “I want all marathons, walk-athons, bike-athons and anything -thon-related that I might be forgetting!” Dallas shouted in the midst of the episode’s funniest sequence. “Furthermore, he must cease and desist Tweeting about me!”

All that confidence, however, shattered like a dropped cup of crystals in the final minutes of the episode, when Dallas returned to the park and bumped right into the man we all know deep down is her soulmate. The surprise and nervousness etched in Hines’ face instantaneously took us away from goofball territory and gave the moment real, emotional stakes. “I just wanna say, I know you felt blindsided. And I wish I could’ve handled it…” Dallas began, before George cut her off and made it clear he wasn’t interested in an explanation for the breakup.

Within seconds, Dallas’ eyes began to mist, her brow furrowing even deeper with confusion and disappointment as she realized George wasn’t flying solo, but rather hanging with dog trainer Nora. “Wow. Looks like someone has a new friend!” Dallas exclaimed, painting on the bravest and most unconvincing of smiles. As she scooped up Yakult and walked away, Hines let us see the doubts and vulnerabilities of a character who’s often used as a punch-line generator, but is ultimately much, much more.

HONORABLE MENTION | When Bruno Mars opened the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show with an explosive showing behind the drum kit, the message was loud and clear: He was getting ready to serve up an organic, high-energy musical experience. And indeed, the rising pop-R&B star did just that, moving and grooving with his gold-clad line of musicians through a funky, ferocious one-two-three punch of “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure” and “Runaway Baby” which led into a sidebar of the Red Hot Chili Peppers going ballistic on “Give It Away.” Mars then took the tempo down, pausing for a touching montage of overseas U.S. military personnel sending dedications to family and friends back home before launching into a truly lovely rendition of “Just the Way You Are.” Considering the lopsided (aka boring) nature of the football game itself, it became Mars’ mission to raise our pulses and restore a festive mood to the telecast. And without a doubt, he succeeded.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off below and let us know!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kristi says:

    I know that Sherlock actors were recognized the past two weeks, but Benedict, Martin, and Andrew were all absolutely wonderful in His Last Vow.

    • Alexia says:

      I second this. I especially found Martin Freeman’s performance as Watson to be truly magnificent especially when he was trying to get to the bottom of Mary’s lies. I hope if he gets nominated for any major awards for any of his work that he wins just based off that scene. You could truly empathize with the character’s heartbreak, anger and confusion about the woman who he thought he could trust above anyone else.

  2. e says:

    love dallas, and love this choice.

    suburgatory has been okay since its return, but i really miss george and dallas together. i much prefer noah being around, and the shay adoption story isn’t my favorite storyline. with that said, cheryl hines performance this week made me really close my computer and focus on the show instead of multitasking on work while i watched. she was so honest and sad, and i look forward to the direction they take the characters, which will hopefully result in them getting back together because i love love love their pairing.

    • Alichat says:

      I have to agree with you about Noah. The show is lacking without him. And I feel like we are getting overloaded with the Shays. I was never a fan of George and Dallas together. It just engulfed the season and became tedious to me.

      • J.Norman says:

        Agree on the Dallas / George pairing.
        I’m not against it necessarily, but I felt it really needed to get toned down.

  3. This week’s Suburgatory was the best of the season and Cheryl was why. I think they’ve been scrambling to get a footing this season and I’m hoping this will prove that they have in the coming weeks.

    Love Bruno Mars as the honorable mention. He was the ONLY thing worth watching during that game!

  4. Erin says:

    Aj Cook was just truly phenomenol in the 200th episode of Criminal Minds. I was blown away by her performance!

  5. brycealexander says:

    Thank God for this! It’s really nice to see her get recognition!

  6. Susan says:

    Not a fan of George and Dallas so I’m good with them being apart. They’re good as friends but as a couple they just didn’t fit. With that said Cheryl Hines played it well, you could really tell how heartbroken she was. I think it’s clear Dallas was always more invested in the relationship then George was, since he never got over Tessa’s mom.
    As for the Super Bowl, speak for yourself! It was a thrilling game for Seahawks fans, and they proved all the naysayers wrong.

  7. dude says:

    Love her and she was great in this episode but I kind of feel like Megan Follows and Adelaide Kane on Reign deserve recognition.

  8. WonderWaage says:

    Martin Freeman or Lars Mikkelsen would have been right… Cheryl Hines is alright in this awful comedy… But fine… I guess you can’t give it to the same show 3 weeks runnin’

  9. Paul8148 says:

    Also Parson has to get Mention for this week TBBT

  10. omabin says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this! Cheryl Hines, and the entire cast of Suburgatory (seriously, there is no weak link there, those people should all be in contention for the Emmys at all time) is underated like hell! Actually, scrap that: the entire show is overated. I wish ratings were higher, the show is one of my favorite comedies ever.

  11. Shaun says:

    The guy who plays Stiles on Teen Wolf was good this week,and I hear AJ Cook was awesome too

  12. RJ says:

    Was hoping for Martin Freeman to win… :( He was amazing this week again…

  13. Fernando says:

    Megan Follows and The men who plays king Henry I think did amazing this week. It was the best episode yet with so many twist and turns and it was all acted so well

  14. Matt says:

    Great choice in Cheryl Hines!!

  15. HAP says:

    Speaking of Suburgatory, you know that Jane Levy is the same age as Jennifer Lawrence. Why does she play high school girl roles?

  16. Sarah says:

    I loved Megan Follows in this week’s episode of REIGN. Catherine’s downfall has been like quicksand…with every move she makes to regain in position within the French court, she seems to struggle and slip further away. That shot of Catherine gazing in her mirror, no makeup or adornments, stripped of her emotional armor, was genius…especially having an inkling on what she was preparing to do. Been a fan of Megan Follows ever since Anne of Green Gables, and she continues to deliver amazing performances.

  17. MR says:

    Loved this! I am so happy you picked Cheryl Hines. The episode had me laughing and also brought tears to my eyes. and a big YES to Bruno! One of the best halftime shows in a long time!

  18. Barbara says:

    Sorry, this choice just diminishes all the other choices for Performer of the Week. She was just fine but nothing exceptional,

    • Wolfie says:

      It’s called an opinion, they are allowed one.
      Hines was brilliant this week, the perfect mixture of comedy and heartbreak IMO.

  19. Mooshki says:

    This season of Suburgatory has been so depressing. Losing Alan Tudyk was a mistake; he was the bright spot of the show.

  20. Teag says:

    I hope Natasha Leggero stays for a long time

    • Mikael says:

      Seconded. I always liked her when she was a panelist on Chelsea Lately. I hope her character sticks around. Dalia’s army of lawyers was pretty hilarious. They are making Sheila crazier by the episode. I do miss Noah though.

  21. Mrs. Featherbottom says:

    Can someone remind me why did Dallas break up with George?

  22. Michael says:

    Someone needs to give Cheryl Hinds a sandwich. She is so freakishly thin, it distracts from anything she might be doing acting-wise. And her total lack of chemistry with George does not make it easy to believe they should be together, I think they should write out her character.

  23. Kimm says:

    Great choice in Cheryl Hines. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to pull off a perfect balance between comedy and emotion. I miss Noah and the Dallas/George pairing too.

  24. Juan says:

    I just saw the episode and wow that final scene was just heartbreaking. Cheryl Hines was fantastic. This episode was actually the best this season as I laughed multiple time and really felt for the characters a lot. Anyway I love Suburgatory