The DMV is a magical place where dreams are either made or crushed for 16-year-olds who want nothing more than a little plastic card that says they can drive. On tonight’s episode of ABC’s Suburgatory, Tessa (Jane Levy) satisfies this dream, only to have to deal with the needs of Dalia Royce, who makes her an offer she can’t refuse. We grabbed a few minutes with Levy to discuss the clash that forms between Tessa and Dalia on the show and George’s life as a “playa.” We also got a chance to talk about her real driving test when she was 16 and a surprising automatic fail the first time, and how her dream of filming with Johnny Knoxville is still unfulfilled. (Can we make this happen people?!)
So on tonight’s episode, you get your license. Tell us more.
I get hired by Dalia Royce to be her driver. At first, I say, “No way I want to spend more time with you,” but Dalia is willing to fork over a lot of cash so Tessa is into it. Her first assignment is to circle a boy’s house (Scott) that Dalia’s obsessed with. It turns out that this guys likes Tessa a lot more than he likes Dalia, and that starts the rivalry between the two.
Is there a dilemma for Tessa, or does she just go for it with Scott?
Well, Tessa is extremely attracted to this guy and at first she gets caught up in it a little. Then she decides to be a big person and not chase Scott … She tries to approach Dalia as an adult, but of course Dalia is incapable of understanding anything or having an adult conversation … She is not used to not getting what she wants and when she doesn’t, it is the worst thing … so Tessa says, “Screw it, I’m going to do whatever I want,” and it will carry into the next episodes how upset Dalia is. She will do anything to get back at Tessa. It sparks this war.
Does this episode bring back memories of you getting your license?
Totally! I actually failed my first license test. I got an automatic fail. I guess I had been doing well but she had to pull the emergency break so obviously there was a problem. I remember them handing me my fail paper and me just bursting into tears. This poor instructor, she ran out of the car once I started crying, I scared her … But two weeks later, I passed.
What can we expect coming for the rest of the season?
A lot of love interests for George. George is sort of a “playa.” You will see a lot of women circling him, and a war between Tessa and Dalia. The friendship between Lisa and Tessa just gets deeper, and I really love their relationship. You are also going to see more Dallas and Tessa time; there is going to be more bonding there.
You mentioned love interests for George, anyone you think your character would like to see him with?
That’s a good question … I think Tessa is trying. You see at the end of the Christmas episode, she says, “I messed up.” She has a little moment with Lisa, where she realizes she is being way too possessive of her dad. But with that said, I think it is still innate in her to not like it … she tries to embrace things and you’ll see her become more vulnerable.
Any similarities between you and your character? Any differences?
I think I was pretty different at 16 than Tessa. I think she is much more thoughtful, she is a really thoughtful 16-year-old girl. I think what’s so cool about her is that yeah, she is snarky and makes fun of stuff, but she is usually right and funny. Underneath it, I think she is a good-hearted person … I wish I was more like Tessa as a 16-year-old.
It is going to come out this Halloween … It’s like a teen, Halloween comedy. I play a character that is the antithesis of Tessa … Johnny Knoxville is also in it and I didn’t have any scenes with him, such a bummer! I was there for like eight weeks and the one week he was there was like my one week off. Everyone was like, “He’s the coolest guy ever!” and I missed it.
“Driving Miss Dalia” airs 8:30 ET/PT tonight on ABC.