Jessica St. Clair & Lennon Parham's' 'Playing House' is 'Gilmore Girls' Gone UCB
Tuesday night, Playing House will kick off its first season with not one, but two episodes. Break out the hedgehog cupcakes, because this occasion deserves only the finest desserts in the land. As I’ve said before, the new USA Network comedy, created by and starring Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, will probably be your new favorite show. If you're not up to speed, it's a show about two best gal pals raising a baby together. A show written by two real-life best gal pals. A very funny show about two best gal pals written by two real-life best gal pals. And after seeing the UCB's Playing House: Live! performance over the weekend, I can assure you, you're going to want to go ahead and raise the roof, because we've got some serious girl power in the house.
As St. Clair tells The Wire, "We wanted to really explore childhood best friendship, because we always talked about how childhood best friends, if you're lucky enough to keep one in your life when you're an adult, they were there when your personality formed. So they're really the ones who can tell you if you're living your best life."
I may have tears in my eyes, but those tears won't stop me from sending that quote to my childhood (and current) BFF. They will NOT.
St. Clair and Parham have been BFFs for over a decade. "We met 12 years ago at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, cuz we were the only two girls wearing sweater sets," St. Clair wrote during a Reddit AMA on Monday. "Our first tip: don't wear a sweater set." (The AMA is a must-read for any diehard St. Clair/Parham/Comedy Bang! Bang! fans. Why? Morsels like this: "We have a Womp It Up podcast in the works." AHHHHHHHH!)
In the aforementioned very fun interview with The Wire, Parham and St. Clair spoke about Playing House, babies (Parham and St. Clair were pregnant while they shot the pilot), friendship, and their careers. As if I wasn’t fired up about the show already, this wonderful interview had me going nuts. I suggest you read it in its entirety.
One particular note: When the interviewer comments on the small-town feel of the Playing House Connecticut town, St. Clair responds, “Well, I am obsessed with Gilmore Girls.” And this is not just an offhanded response, Gilmore Girls fans. This is not a joke. St. Clair means it. YAAAAS.
“It's like Stars Hollow, but with a bunch of weirdoes,” Parham says.
So a town full of Kirks? YAAAAAAS. Like I needed another reason to be obsessed with Playing House. The Stars Hollow-y vibe isn't a coincidence, mind you: St. Clair also says that she has fantasized about Gilmore Girls' perfect, little town.
The show's setting is very much inspired by the dream of living in an idyllic, gazebo-y town. I'm right there with 'em. I'm never not wishing I could sit in the Stars Hollow gazebo/learn a dance routine from Miss Patty/have a cup of coffee at Luke's. (Also? G'bless daily Gilmore Girls reruns.) Playing House's small town is tiny, quaint, and not dull. How could it be dull? The Playing House world is a goddamned UCB bonanza with alums like Neil Casey and Zach Woods running amuck.
The show's cast and writing staff is jam-packed with people from the theater. UCB nerds (like yours truly) will salivate over the list of names involved with the show. Spoiler alert: At some point during the season, Ian Roberts does a striptease. IAN ROBERTS DOES A STRIPTEASE.
Saturday night, I saw Playing House: Live! at UCB. It was an hour-long improv show starring St. Clair, Parham, cast members, and writers. An hour-long improv show starring a bunch of UCB powerhouses. Was it a great show, you wonder? There were multiple scenes about a gator hunter who uses human teeth as currency, so that should give you your answer. (It was an amazing show.)
Before they got to Yes, and-ing, Parham and St. Clair gave the UCB a shoutout and credited it with helping them get where they are today.
And if you think about it, UCB is kind of like Stars Hollow in a way: It's a tight-knit, eclectic, and lovable community. You can leave Stars Hollow/the UCB, but it never leaves you. It's a part of who you are. And people love their coffee.
Image: USA Network