I wanted to talk about a show that I fell in love with from the very first episode, and have fallen even deeper in love with because of the latest season. Playing House is on USA and has just finished up their 3rd beautiful season.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is a show created by real life best friends (and super-cuties) Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. They created it, they direct episodes, write episodes and star in it because let’s face it, they are awesome.
The show is about Maggie (Parham) and Emma (St Clair) who are two childhood best friends that grew up in a small town in Connecticut. Emma is a wheeling and dealing, high-stakes, blazer_ wearing corporate _bad-ass living in China (Yes that was the appropriate amount of adjectives). She comes home for Maggie’s baby-shower where Maggie finds out her husband has been cheating on her. Emma decides to move home to raise Maggie’s baby with her and help her through her divorce (going through a divorce while pregnant is something I am VERY familiar with) and raise the baby together.
It is a beautiful story of strong female friendships and being there for one another. These ladies are always each other’s champions, they build each other up and they help each other through the hard times. They fight with each other and for each other.
Along with an amazing cast, the show is incredibly well written. Playing House also does a great job of doing joke call backs, like Arrested Development levels. It one of my favorite things when shows do that, it’s almost like a little reward for the loyal viewers. My favorite running joke is Bosephus, Maggie’s country persona who comes in and…saves the day? I don’t know but he makes things better with his girlfriend Jandana.
Among all the hilarity and shenanigans of Emma and Maggie is actually a show with a lot of heart. There is so much love between these two characters, they would do anything for one another. Not only did Emma move home to raise a baby with Maggie, she also made sure Maggie could go through nursing school when she found herself having a bit of career crisis. The positivity and the building of others up doesn’t just pertain to the main characters, instead of sniping and having drama with ex’s wives and boyfriend’s ex’s they actually become friends with them. There is no negative competition. These women aren’t fighting for a man, there are no ripping people to shreds or shaming like in other shows. No, it is just acceptance. This is the show women need.
During the 3rd season, Emma gets breast cancer. This is where the art imitating life comes in, Jessica St Clair who plays Emma was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Lennon and Jessica made a tough but ultimately amazing decision to write it into their show. I was blown away, aside from Scrubs, illness isn’t something you see in a comedy series often. It was handled splendidly, there was always enough laughter to not turn the show into a drama, but not so much that you ever felt they were treating cancer as a joke. I really related with Maggie so much during this. I have a friend with a chronic illness and completely understood Maggie’s struggle with feeling like she wasn’t doing enough for her best friend. Sometimes all you can do is things like find stupid little gifts to make her smile like socks with manatees on them (me) or travel to a paper supply store at 10:00 o’clock at night to make a kicking cancer’s ass binder (Maggie). I related with Maggie’s helpless feelings and need to do something.
The biggest win I think for this season was the damn education on cancer it gave us. I sat watching episodes with my dad and he kept asking me if that was true or saying he never knew that about a lot of different things relating to the treatment of cancer. I firmly believe the best defense we have against illnesses, mental or physical, is education and this show taught me a lot. Not just what constitutes a real brunch.
As someone who has been through some tough shit; divorce while pregnant, depression, loved ones who are addicts, I firmly believe you must find the light in a dark situation. I often say if I don’t laugh I will cry. I admire anyone who can take a messed up situation and still find something to laugh about. I am really attracted to these type of people. It’s why I have seen Christopher Titus 4 times. We need to laugh, and when something bad is happening we need to laugh more. That is the draw for me with this show and has been since day one.
I realize they will never actually read this, but it is my love letter so I am going to pretend. Thank you, Lennon and Jessica. Thank you for this wonderful gift you have given us. Thank you for giving me back my smile on days I am fighting my depression hard. Thank you for helping everyone learn more about cancer and their bodies. Thank you for all the women who don’t feel so alone with your show and yourselves. Thank you for being wonderful and reaching out to interact with your fans.
You ladies are wonderful and role models. As a writer, I aspire to write something that can touch people the way you have touched me. Ok enough sappiness. Check out Playing House of USA network, all three seasons are on On Demand. Now, EVERYONE BODYROLL!