I’m loving Playing House right now, mostly because the two main characters, Emma and Maggie, remind me of my best friend Ashley and myself. They’re played by the creators of the show, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. The two women are also best friends in real life, and their relationship comes through onscreen in their genuine affection and in their perfectly-timed, sometimes prickly comic interaction.
The show kicks off as Emma moves in with her very pregnant best friend Maggie after Maggie kicks her cheating husband out of the house. It has a sweet, Gilmore Girls-ish temperament and focus on small-town life. But it’s saved from being too treacly by the droll comic talents of Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele – he kind of sneaks up on you as a bit of a hottie, no?) as Emma’s ex-boyfriend Mark and Zach Woods (Silicon Valley) as Maggie’s brother Zach. The show isn’t afraid to get truly bizarre occasionally, as when Maggie dons a wig and trucker hat and assumes the persona of bow-legged, tobacco-chewing Bocephus. But it also has enough heart to treat Tina, Mark’s wife, with more empathy than your average show might afford the uptight, too-perfect character. And the last 2 episodes of season 1 had me chuckling at some nice callbacks to earlier episodes and crying at the genuine emotion surrounding the birth of Maggie’s daughter.
I somehow completely missed the show’s first season, so I thoroughly enjoyed bingeing it, and I’m looking forward to diving into season 2. It feels like the perfect summer fizzy-drink of a show.