Parker Young talks SUBURGATORY
Everyone who knows me knows that SUBURGATORY is my favorite little slice of heaven this season, with a whip smart cast full of people who I either knew of and loved before, or fell in love with because of, the show. Tonight, the show celebrates Thanksgiving with two different family celebrations: the Shays welcome guest star Mo Collins, while Dallas and her fam welcome Noah and the Altmans to another party planned by Dalia!
Parker Young makes his return to the show tonight, as Ryan plays the supportive brother Lisa, while she suffers through a punishment that CRAZY Sheila Shay has unleashed in the name of frumpy period costumery! To celebrate his re-appearance, and what’s to come throughout the season, I spent some time talking with Parker – check it out!
SUBURGATORY is one those shows where I watched the pilot, and I loved it. I watched it again, and I loved it even more. And it keeps going from there. Reading the original pilot, did you have the same reaction of loving it more and more with each read through?
When I read the pilot originally, my character was slightly different. The pilot was amazingly well written, and really funny, but Ryan Shay was a different character. He wasn’t so dumb; he wasn’t this overly innocent and naive character. He was more of a stereotypical jock, kind of arrogant, cocky, slightly mean spirited. It’s hard for me to say that it was the role that drew me to the project because the role ended up changing, but it was more just the people involved. The pilot itself, I just thought was so witty, a good story, but still very funny, very well done.
The characters that the show has introduced already, everybody has their own little quirks, their own little differences. It is what a suburb looks like, maybe to an exaggerated degree.
Yeah, and I think that’s part of what makes the show so great. We’re looking at what life in a suburb could be like, and what people in suburban towns may really be like, may really take pride in [laughs], things that can be quite comical, and I think it’s a good light, we show it in a good light. We’re not ridiculing or making fun of at all. We’re looking at the positive aspects of suburban life in a comical light!
What can you tell us about when we’ll see Ryan next and what we’re going to see from the character?
[laughs] I know there was a big gap, and people are probably wondering where I went! I will definitely be back next episode. It is Thanksgiving, so we have a dinner at the Shays’ house, which I will be present at. And then there is a lot more Ryan coming up in the next handful of episode. We’re currently filming 15, and so from 8 through 15, I’ve been pretty busy.
Is there hope for Ryan and Tessa?
[laughs] You know, I think Ryan prays every night that there’s hope for him and Tessa. I thin that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Ryan’s going to keep doing what he’s got to do to impress her. Whether Tessa falls for it again, I’m not positive, but I think there’s definitely a chance.
I like that the character could be your typical run of the mill jock character, but we see little layers of something else there for him. He is interested in Tessa and has something else to him than this one note.
Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun.
What drew you to acting? Was there one thing, or was it just something you knew you wanted to do?
It definitely was not one thing. That’s a great question. Growing up, I always did little theater things here and there. I remember really loving theater in middle school, our little theater program. In high school, I started playing high school, and that kind of took over. I was all about football, but then got back into theater my junior year, and was balancing theater and football at the same time. I just loved performing. I think in life growing up, I just liked being a little bit over the top, and doing things that would bring my buddies out of their comfort zone a little bit. Being ballsy, or willing to perform. I think that’s always just kind of been in me. I’ve always loved movies. I remember specifically, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. I remember watching MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and thinking I want to be THAT guy in real life. I was to be [Ethan Hunt]. But because that wasn’t really logical, I think that playing that on TV became the next best thing. It was either join the Impossible Mission Force or be in MI-5. That had a lot to do with it.
Do you get the chance to watch other shows?
I wish I could say that I did. I’m really bad about watching TV. Especially right now, because I don’t even have cable, so it makes it quite difficult. I try to catch up online. There’s definitely not a favorite show that I’m religious about watching, except for SUBURGATORY, which if I’m filming late at night, I’ll still miss quite a bit.
Why do you think that this is a show that people should watch?
I think it is super witty. It’s very witty, it’s very funny. It’s well put together. Great writers. I think the creator is brilliant. And I think the cast is just so dynamic. Each character is likeable but very funny, and brings something new to the show. Anybody can relate to one or more of the characters, and I think that everybody is so talented, that’s involved, and it’s fun to watch. It’s a different type of comedy in my opinion. It tells a story, you can get hooked, you can watch and follow the story, that’s fun, and hilarious, and has a message in each episode. I think it’s what people are drawn to.
You mention, of course, the cast. You have people that have been in the business for a long time with Cheryl and Jeremy, but you also have the “new guys” that are seamlessly blending in.
Definitely. And thank you. The cast is brilliant. Cheryl, Jeremy, Alan, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Parnell – these people are seasoned, they know what they’re doing, and every table read is amazing to watch the work come to life. But at the same time, we do have the younger, newer cast members that also make the show what it is, and without them, it wouldn’t be possible, because we wouldn’t have that side of suburbia. I think we all, the newer cast, we all really look up to the “older” cast, at least I do. I learn so much from them, every time I’m on set. They’ve been so welcoming. They treat us as equals. I think that’s the way it has to function in order for the show to be successful. It kind of scared me at first, when I was like, wow, I’m going to be going toe to toe with these genius comics, these amazingly talented and funny people. What I kind of had to remind myself is that I got the role for a reason. There’s no one else, in my mind, that can do what I personally can do for this role. Other people could do a great job in their own way, but I do a great job in what I bring, and I just have to trust that. I’ve been that jock in high school; I’ve seen this types of people, and I just have to do the best that I can, try to make some magic!