Hey TV.com, Should I Watch USA's New Buddy Comedy Playing House?


The best part about airing on cable is that you can do whatever you want. Okay, that's not really true—you still can't get naked or drop unlimited F-bombs (unless you're on HBO or Showtime)—but cable does have a lot of things going for it. Not only are the shorter seasons generally considered an improvement over the lengthier ones on broadcast, but since cable networks don't necessarily follow the timeline as broadcast, they can debut new shows in late April without having them labeled as burn-offs that weren't good enough to make the fall or early midseason schedule. Which brings me to Playing House, a new scripted comedy that premieres this week on USA. Read on to find out whether it's worth checking out, or if you're better off catching up on House Hunters International


Playing House? Lemme guess, this is a show about playing house?

That's a very astute observation! Yes, the series is about two people living together and raising a family together, but the catch is that it's a buddy comedy about a pair of childhood best friends named Maggie and Emma. After a very pregnant Maggie discovers that her husband's been having an online affair with a husky German woman, Maggie kicks him out, and Emma decides to pack up her successful career in Shanghai to return to the gals' small Connecticut hometown to help Maggie raise the baby, because that's what friends are for. Naturally, the duo's different attitudes and temperaments (Emma is an extroverted, pushy, assertive person, while Maggie's calmer and more rational) play off each other in a way that makes it easy to see why they're BFFs.


Who built Playing House, and who lives in it?

The architects and the residents are one and the same. Real-life best friends and writing partners Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair—who you may remember from NBC's short-lived and very similar comedy Best Friends Forevercreated, wrote, and star in Playing House. Parham plays soon-to-be mom Maggie, while St. Clair (who also recurs on Veep, as Dana, and Comedy Central's Review, as Forrest's wife Suzanne) stars as Emma, Maggie's single, career-oriented best friend. Keegan-Michael Key (the Key half of Key & Peele) stars opposite the duo as Mark, Emma's ex-boyfriend and a local cop. He's the straight man to Parham and St. Clair's antics. The series also boasts some great guest appearances, including Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle) as Emma's mom, Zach Woods (Silicon ValleyThe Office) as Maggie's brother, and Lindsay Sloane (lots of stuff, including The LeaguePsych, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) as Mark's wife Tina.



When do we start Playing House?

Playing House premieres with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, April 29 at 10pm on USA.


Who might enjoy Playing House?

Fans of Best Friends Forever, obviously, but also fans of buddy comedies, and shows featuring strong female friendships.


What makes Playing House worth the mortgage payment?

Not only is the show seriously funny, it's a series starring two women who are best friends and who don't secretly hate each other/aren't competing for the same man. It's not like there aren't any strong female friendships on TV, but more often than not, they're overshadowed by romantic drama or the search for a husband. And that's why Playing House's central focus on a real, honest friendship feels like the rarest of rare gems. No one bats an eye when yet another series about bromances comes along, but Playing House finally gets female friendships right, and that's definitely worth noting. Also, did I mention the show is funny? Because it is!



Are there any cracks in Playing House's foundation?

The only thing working against Playing House is its network. USA isn't exactly known for its half-hour comedies, although it's certainly making strides to change that. Playing House comes right on the heels of Denis Leary's hilarious Sirens, and both are funny in their own way, but Playing House is a bit more family friendly, which will hopefully make it more accessible.


So, should I watch it?

Feel free to hit the "Series record" option on your DVR. Playing House is a keeper.


Can I see a trailer?

Of course!


thekaitling:list:playing-house-will-you-watch/


Playing House premieres Tuesday, April 29 at 10pm on USA.


Comments (25)
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I suppose this has a shot at being better than Claude's Crib. Then again, that's not saying much.
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The trailer does look fun, but it's easy to make anything look fun in 30 seconds. I might check this out. I suppose it's worth saying that I also checked out Sirens based on a tv.com recommendation, and to say I have been thoroughly disappointed would be an understatement.
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I'm probably going to check the first episode out. Mostly because of Key and Capt. Awesome. Not so much for the female friendship.
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The comments on this thread sound good but I am hesitant. Psych was the end of this channel for me when they tried a more "gritty" approach with their shows. Granted this is a comedy but still, USA's best days started to go when Monk ended, Psych was the only long running show I watched til the end (Tuned out of Suits, White Collar and Covert Affairs this season and Burn Notice with the TV film).
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So, are these two gonna be the next Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins?
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I just watched the pilot on Hulu and I thought it was very funny.
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glad you volunteered that it was "more family friendly." that's what has kept me a fan of USA with Monk, Psych, etc and was not stoked when the first line from sirens was a crudely graphic fellatio mention, watching it with the fam. as it were. also tried best friends forever but interestingly enough the opening dialogue had somethign to do with vaginas or something so that was a no-go.

big fan of parham on accidentally on purpose and think she's gorgeous though so wanted to give this a shot.
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I think the trailer makes it look SO dumb, and I thought you were going to bash it, but since I watch sirens in this time slot and that's ending I'll give it a chance!
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The trailer does NOTHING for the series. It's terrible. But the show is not.
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The trailer is uninviting.
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just volunteering that capitalizing words for emphasis strikes me as incredibly dumb.
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I'm passing, but it was on the fence from this preview. I hated the promos for Best Friends Forever, and USA has done nothing helpful in the marketing for this series (not hateful, but like eating a mouthful of cornstarch and water, it's physically there but it doesn't taste like anything). I saw these ladies on @midnight, one was funny and the other was a little less so, but they just didn't quite seem my speed there, so I think it's just a pass due to not quite enough aiming towards me.
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this sounds like a reason to catch up on @midnight. I've been entirely absent since it's official pickup.
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Can't get naked? Have you seen The Americans or NYPD Blue? No nipple or genitalia, certainly, but everything else is fair game.
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As Kevin said, the Pilot is out there. I watched it on a recent flight and i thought it was pretty strong. The two female leads are funny in their own right but they also work well together. One of the larger reasons Psych did so well was the friendship and chemistry between Dule Hill and James Roday. The two female leads in the show have that same type of chemistry and with that means that they are going to be funny together and have a chance at a successful show. The show has all the makings of a successful show, I am still kind of shaky on these half hour shows from USA, but as long as it isn't another Reality TV show or one of their hour shows past its prime then I am ok with it. I would suggest people to watch it.
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the pilot is up for free on iTunes, I saw it and thought it was good. it's almost a continuation of the unjustly cancelled Best Friends Forever.
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