It’s time for another show recommendation at TVexamined. With many shows returning within the next few weeks, perhaps now is not the time to give you all something new to watch. However, this show could easily be watched in its entirety before most things come back so I encourage you to give it a try.
The second season of Playing House nearly didn’t happen. It was renewed by USA on the last possible day and with a slightly unusual (though helpful to me) arrangement. With the exception of the first and last episodes of the season, each episode was made available via OnDemand platforms a week before it aired on USA. That may explain why ratings were down in the second season but hopefully VOD numbers and the extra income from the Toyota placement made up for it because I need a season 3.
So why should you watch this underwatched show when there are so many options available to you? Before I get to my personal reasons, you should know that it’s been compared to either Parks and Recreation or Gilmore Girls in so many reviews this season and since those are two of my favorite shows of all time, in my opinion, there is no better compliment or endorsement. Those comparisons are entirely accurate and earned. It’s a good-hearted show and will make you cry, just like Parks and Rec often did. Pinebrook is filled with some very weird people, including the main characters, just like Stars Hollow and Pawnee. And just like Parks and Rec and Gilmore Girls, you will fall in love with it and never want it to go away.
The first thing you should know about this show is that it will make you laugh. That shouldn’t need to be said with a comedy, but it does. You will laugh at least once and probably multiple times in an episode. Whether it’s physical/sight comedy, a terribly timed comment by Emma, Maggie’s entire Bosephus act, or one of these wonderful characters doing something completely absurd, it’s a funny show.
In addition to the writing on this show being very funny, this cast is fantastic. Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham are best friends and frequent collaborators and that shines through in their chemistry and timing on screen. Keegan-Michael Key has nailed everything about his performance on both a comedic and dramatic level. There is a reason there has been a small but loud outcry for him to be cast in a romcom and that reason is that he is gorgeous and plays romance really well. The supporting actors, including Silicon Valley’s Zach Woods, are similarly incredible and make Pinebrook feel like a real and weird place.
Finally, this show is a beautiful tribute to the love between friends. Emma and Maggie have been friends for forever and with that, there is a natural ease and intimacy that comes from a lifetime of shared experiences. There are inside jokes and personality quirks that need no explaining, they are just part of what makes the other wonderful. Emma left Pinebrook and Maggie by extension when her career took her elsewhere. But there was never a doubt that Maggie would always be a priority and one of the loves of her life. She dropped everything and came home for her best friend and while many of us aren’t in positions where that would be feasible, it’s the same sentiment that underlies so many lifelong friendships that are separated by physical distance. It’s a friendship that will make you laugh, smile, and cry at its beauty and authenticity.
It is an incredibly special show and whether you come for the laughs, tears, or the cast of weirdos that occupy this story, I strongly encourage you to check it out. I can already guarantee it’ll be one of my favorite shows of 2015 and hope it will be one of yours as well.