Rhea Seehorn, who stars in the brand new animated comedy “The Harper House,” has a lot in widespread with Debbie Harper, her 2-D alter ego — beginning with their first names.
Seehorn’s actual title is definitely Deborah — Rhea (prounced “Ray”) is her center title — although it’s a coincidence that series creator Brad Neely gave the identical title to his lead character.
“I don’t think it was until we were recording the third episode and I said, ‘My mom is really gonna get a kick out of this’ because I was called ‘Debbie’ until I was around 13,” mentioned Seehorn, 49. “Brad and I really hit it off; he based ‘The Harper House’ on a lot of his experiences from growing up in a small town in Arkansas and we talked about Debbie and her family. I had very similar stories and feelings and people I knew that reminded me of Debbie from my background in Virginia.”
“The Harper House,” streaming on Paramount+, revolves round super-confident Arkansas mother Debbie, her stay-at-home husband Freddie (Jason Lee), and their 11-year-old twins Ollie (Tatiana Maslany) and Todd (Ryan Flynn), who’re compelled to maneuver into the decrepit home of Freddie’s useless Aunt Maggie on “the other side of town” after Debbie loses her job — and her membership in the nation membership. Co-stars embody Gabourey Sidibe, Gary Anthony Williams and Nyima Funk because the Bradleys, their new next-door-neighbors who personal an area bookstore.
“I know a lot of these women in real life who are not really concerned with being palatable at all, although [Debbie] likes being hot for her husband and likes wearing a bikini top and driving around on a riding lawnmower,” Seehorn mentioned. “She’s simply not in what society thinks is suitable. I really like that juxtaposition of her being a fish-out-of-water in a brand new neighborhood and in a brand new financial strata that she’s been thrust into. She’s acquired a studying curve.
“They’re playing it both ways,” she mentioned of the present’s writers. “Debbie is teaching people lessons about empowerment and acceptance and boundaries and likability but she’s also being clearly educated on some of her errors — not only in defining herself but in defining others, and I think that’s awesome.”
Seehorn, best-known to TV viewers for starring reverse Bob Odenkirk on AMC’s “Better Call Saul” — returning for its sixth and closing season in 2022 — isn’t any stranger to voiceover work, having appeared in episodes of “American Dad!,” “Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken.” She mentioned she had a glimpse of what Debbie seemed like onscreen, although she recorded her traces earlier than the animation course of was accomplished.
“Brad [Neely] sent me an early drawing of Debbie — I’m looking at it right now — and I taped it to my wall and would look at it when we were recording,” she mentioned. “I knew what she seemed like fairly early on, and halfway by way of I acquired to see some early drawings of a number of the different characters as effectively. I really like them — I really like the financial system of line in the drawings; they’re not overly practical but additionally not super-broad.
“I think it’s just the right amount of humanity and having recognizable features so you can have a lot of empathy for the characters when there are more sincere moments … and for the more outlandish stuff that sometimes happens.”