USA’s heartfelt and hilarious new comedy Playing House introduces us to childhood best friends — suburban and pregnant Maggie (Lennon Parham) and globetrotting businesswoman Emma (Jessica St. Clair) —whose lives are at a crossroads.
When stable Maggie learns that her husband is having an online affair, spunky Emma leaves her career to help her friend raise her baby. The two embark on a journey of hilarious antics as they tackle pregnancy and parenthood together. “The show is essentially a romantic comedy, only it stars two women,” says St. Clair, who along with Parham is co-creator of the series.
St. Clair and Parham met 13 years ago in improv classes at the famed Upright Citizens Brigade. St. Clair recalls, “The first time I saw Lennon, she was wearing a sweater set from Express, and I was also wearing a sweater set.” In those days, there weren’t many women taking comedy classes at UCB and, she continues, “I’d always wanted to find a writing partner who was a girl, who wanted to tell these types of stories that were both really funny and also heartfelt. But I thought, ‘There’s no one out there. I’ll never find that girl,’ and so when I found Lennon, I was like, ‘That’s it.’ And she’s stuck with me for life.”
St. Clair and Parham starred together on NBC’s short-lived Best Friends Forever. “We had the time of our lives and we were like, ‘We gotta do this again, because this is our dream,’” says Parham. “It’s an amazing thing to be business partners with your best friend because you know the other person you’re working with has your best interest in mind,” says St. Clair. “I can come over and go, ‘Were my Spanx showing?’ That’s a question we ask each other a lot.”
One thing that St. Clair and Parham love about Playing House is, literally, their house. Laughs St. Clair, “Talk about ‘girl porn’! Our house is the most beautiful house you have ever seen, and has a wrapping station in it. If you are a fan of Pinterest and things like that, you will go nuts for our set because it is our dream house. If we didn’t have husbands, this is what our house would look like.”
But St. Clair warns viewers not to dismiss Playing House as a show for women only. “In the comedy tradition we come from, it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man; it’s about being balls-out funny.” Adds Parham, “If you liked [the movie] Bridesmaids, you’re going to like this show. There are sweet and heartfelt moments, you’ll care about the characters, but you’ll also be pissing Chardonnay out of your nose.”
Playing House > USA Network > Tuesdays beginning April 29
Image ©Andrew Eccles/USA Network