Alright, USA Network, it’s time to put all your cards out on the table: what’s the deal with the lack of renewal for one of your best new comedies in recent memory, the seriously delightful Playing House? How many more articles do you need written on the Internet to convince you that this is a great life decision of the highest order? Maybe one more? OK here, fine: here’s one more.
We fell for Playing House hard and fast — not just because of its awesome portrayal of female friendships, but because of everything it managed to pull off with such ease. At its center are stars and creators Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham: whip-smart funny ladies who just so happen to have a lock on what’s funny about humanity and our many people-based follies. That their characters just so happen to be female does not define or take away from their comedy — though it certainly makes the whole pregnancy storyline a bit more believable. What makes their brand of writing accessible not just to women, but all people, is that it’s a show that looks at us human types in all of our weird and wacky wonderfulness. Theirs is not business that is purely appealing to one particular sex or gender, but rather men, women, and everyone in between — because we all do crazy stuff in the name of “getting it right.”
Sure, it’s a series about two friends bumbling through a pregnancy together, but that’s what makes it different, and therefore pretty great. Do you have to have the capacity to give birth in order to find it funny? No! Just like you don’t need a penis to laugh at a good, ol’ fashioned dick joke. Comedy succeeds the most when it finds something absurd but relatable in regular life situations and blows it out for the chuckles.
Something Playing House does in spades and with a deft hand: the series consistently managed to find the something with which we can all relate about the messy humanness of being, well, human, and the hilariously bizarre lengths we go to feel some sense of control over our lives and the world around us. Which is, y’know, essentially life itself. And St. Clair and Parham? They have a cold, hard grasp on the silliest realities of that, allowing the series to exist without schtick or schlock.
To say nothing of the fact that they get some really, really great people to showcase all that. Seriously: the cast is out-of-this-world. Rounding out the St. Clair/Parham pack are a litany of recurring characters and guest star delights such as Keegan-Michael Key, Brad Morris, Zach Woods, Jane Kaczmarek, Ian Roberts, Jason Mantzoukas, Bobby Moynihan, John Lutz, Andy Daly, Larry Wilmore, Dot-Marie Jones, and Eugene Cordero. A veritable smorgasbord of comedy talent that deserves more time on screen; unlikely and lovable weirdos that continue to shape and build the entire world wherein the show lives. And not that we need to tell you twice, but Zach Woods is at his absolute Zach Woods-iest (and yes, we also watch Silicon Valley so we know what that means).
Because just as in life, the series allows the comedy to spring forth from the unique experiences and personalities of each of its characters. It is emotion as well as situations that give rise to the comedy here, making it a show that’s hilarious but not without heart. So we’re not really sure what the hold-up is, here, USA. Why not pull the trigger and just renew the damn thing already! It’s what Bosephus would have wanted, and it’s what more than a few of us around here would really, really dig.