My Take On…PLAYING HOUSE on USA
My friend Melinda asked me last night if BFF was coming back with all new episodes. After I got her message, it took me a minute to recover from the pain of remembering that the lovely comedy from NBC, which starred Jessica St Clair and Lennon Parham as characters who moved in together after a life-changing emotional event, was still over way before it should have been.
But it only took me that one minute to recover because, BFF friends, the long draught without Jess and Len together on our TVs ends TONIGHT! You see, Melinda had read an interview with Jessica and Lennon about their new show (having stopped just short of spoilers in the article she was reading, by all accounts, this looks like our beloved BFF was coming back into our lives), PLAYING HOUSE, which premieres tonight at 10/9c on USA, which prompted her to ask me about BFF coming back. My reply to Melinda? “They’re back and they’re perfection!”
The long and short of it is that Emma (Jessica St Clair) leaves behind a burgeoning business career in China to head back to her hometown, Pinebrook, CT, to help Maggie (Lennon Parham) raise her baby after things go a little south in her relationship. Emma’s not a huge fan of her hometown, what with her (married) first love Mark (Keegan-Michael Key of KEY AND PEELE) seemingly there around every corner and her prim and proper mother (Jane Kaczmarek) driving her crazy. Maggie doesn’t exactly have it easy either as she deals with impending motherhood and the men in her life: her hilariously, annoying younger brother (Zach Woods, killing it here and on SILICON VALLEY this spring) and her not so wonderful husband Bruce, played by Brad Morris.
The show is funny and heartwarming, while continuing a great trend for USA in creating half hour comedies that I can’t wait to spend time with (SIRENS has been great). What makes the show so special, and easy to relate to, no matter how wacky or less-than-dignified some of their adventures can be, is that the leads are best friends in real life. Their chemistry is real, their pain, their humor, it all comes from a real friendship that they can draw on. Their improv background provides them with so many places that the show could go and by bringing in a lot of their former UCB friends and improv-colleagues (plus other super funny people we’ll all recognize), they’ve created a deep well of supporting characters to fill out this world.
Most importantly these two women are women you could (and will want to) be friends with and, after tonight’s back to back episodes, you’ll feel like climbing in that cramped playhouse in the backyard or celebrating the awful, yet fitting, nickname you’ve come up with for a former arch nemesis with them. And it all feels just right because you’re finally back with your best friends.
As a teaser for what to expect this season, USA provided us with these top 10 things to describe PLAYING HOUSE:
- It’s about two best friends (Lennon’s Maggie and Jessica’s Emma) and a baby on the way (it’s Maggie’s).
- There are plenty of strange encounters with the past, like an epic poetry slam throw-down between a daughter and mother…
- And a rescue mission to save an ex-boyfriend from a leather-ridden biker night.
- In a small town, you can’t always avoid your enemies. Cue ladies’ brunch with an arch nemesis and a platter of deviled eggs (guest star Lindsay Sloane).
- Sometimes weird stuff happens, like the case of the missing garden gnomes…
- ….or the singing divorce lawyer who can lay down a 16th century accapella jam…
- … even getting toasted with a cocktail wiener at a high school drumline reunion.
- Fights with a BFF can totes happen and kewl doesn’t always mean cool.
- But best friends always stick together, even if it means rounding up a rag-tag bunch of dreamers to paint an entire house in a weekend…
- And at the end of the day, PLAYING HOUSE is a story about best friends, and there’s nothing better than a heart to heart with your BFF in the cozy confines of your childhood playhouse. Even if a family of eavesdropping raccoons is nestled next to you.
PLAYING HOUSE airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c PM on USA Network.