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‘Suburgatory’s’ Raunchy Role Model

Cheryl Hines’ wicked humor belies the respect she gets on the set

Every woman wants to be Cheryl Hines and every man wants to be … Cheryl Hines?

That’s true on the set of Hines’ ABC sitcom “Suburgatory,” says the series’ star, Jane Levy: “There’s like a joke in the makeup trailer, which is ‘What would Cheryl do?,’ because everyone, including all the grown-ups are, like, ‘I want to be like Cheryl when I grow up.’ ”

The 24-year-old Levy says Hines is the “wise one” the company turns to for advice, whether it’s how to flirt, resolving tensions with a co-worker or shopping for real estate.

But when Hines isn’t assuming the mother figure role, she’s cracking vulgar jokes, riffing off co-star Jeremy Sisto’s blue wisecracks.

“My sense of humor is a bit off the wall and takes some people by surprise,” Sisto says. “Anything that I say out of nowhere that I think is funny that others might be a bit taken aback by, Cheryl actually just takes to the next level without pausing for a beat.”

Jeff Garlin, Hines’ “Curb Your Enthusiasm” co-star who’s “partially responsible” for Hines’ off-kilter humor, speaks fondly of their on-set shenanigans.

“Cheryl, who plays a very straight role for the most part, would always do whatever funny, silly stuff I wanted to do,” Garlin recalls. Such as? “Like telling her to go up to extras and seriously convince them that she collects lotions from around the world.”

But what her co-stars find most awe-inspiring is her complete embodiment of her diverse characters.

“I don’t really know how she does what she does,” Levy says. Her “Suburgatory” character Dallas “could easily be read or played as an empty, superficial blow-up doll. But somehow she makes the character so much richer. … Even though she has to say the most nonsense, ridiculous, gibberish lines, somehow she comes off as smart and full of heart.”

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