“Better Call Saul” star Rhea Seehorn comes alive in Paramount + series

Rhea Seehorn, who stars in the new animated comedy “The Harper House”, has a lot in common with Debbie Harper, her 2-D alter ego – starting with their first names.

Seehorn’s real name is actually Deborah – Rhea (pronounced “Ray”) is her middle name – although it’s a coincidence that series creator Brad Neely gave her main character the same name.

“I don’t think it was until we recorded the third episode and I said, ‘My mom is really going to have fun’ because my name was ‘Debbie’ until I was about 13 years old. “said Seehorn, 49. “Brad and I really hit it off; he based ‘The Harper House’ on a lot of his experiences 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 who reminded me of Debbie from my past in Virginia.

“The Harper House,” airing on Paramount +, revolves around Debbie, a super confident Arkansas mom, housewife Freddie (Jason Lee) and their 11-year-old twins Ollie (Tatiana Maslany) and Todd ( Ryan Flynn), who are forced to move into the decrepit home of Freddie’s deceased Aunt Maggie on “the other side of town” after Debbie loses her job – and her country club membership. Co-stars include Gabourey Sidibe, Gary Anthony Williams and Nyima Funk as the Bradleys, their new next door neighbors who own a local bookstore.

Photo showing the Harpers from the animated series "The Harper House": Debbie (Rhea Seehorn), Ollie (Tatiana Maslany), Todd (Ryan Flynn) and Freddie (Jason Lee).
The Harpers, left to right: Debbie (Rhea Seehorn), Ollie (Tatiana Maslany), Todd (Ryan Flynn) and Freddie (Jason Lee).
CBS Studios

“I know a lot of these women in real life who don’t care at all about being palatable, although [Debbie] likes to be sexy for her husband and likes to wear a bikini top and drive on a lawn mower, ”Seehorn said. “She just isn’t interested in what society thinks is acceptable. I love this juxtaposition of her being a fish out of water in a new neighborhood and in a new economic stratum that she has been pushed into. It has a learning curve.

“They’re going both ways,” she said of the show’s writers. “Debbie teaches people lessons about empowerment and acceptance, boundaries and sympathy, but she is also clearly educated on some of her mistakes – not only in defining herself but in defining others, and I think it’s great. “

Seehorn, best known to viewers for starring alongside Bob Odenkirk in AMC’s “Better Call Saul” – back for its sixth and final season in 2022 – is no stranger to voiceover work, having appeared in episodes of “American Dad !,” “Family Guy,” and “Robot Chicken.” She said she got a glimpse of what Debbie looked like on screen, although she recorded her lines before the process was complete animation.

“Brad [Neely] Sent me a first drawing of Debbie – I’m looking at it right now – and I stuck it on my wall and I would look at it when we were recording, ”she said. “I knew what she looked like pretty early on, and halfway through I got to see some early drawings of some of the other characters as well. I like them – I like the economy of the line in the designs; they are not too realistic but not very wide either.

“I think it’s just the right amount of humanity and having recognizable characteristics so that you can have a lot of empathy for the characters when there are more sincere moments… and for the weirder stuff. that sometimes happen. “

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