Playing House's Besties Transferred Their Friendship To Their Daughters

Photo: Courtesy of USA.
Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham run a “child-friendly set” for their show Playing House, the second season of which premieres tomorrow on USA. That makes sense given that the show is about two best friends taking care of a baby together, and the fact that both Parham and St. Clair are mothers to young daughters themselves — daughters who apparently share their mothers’ tendency toward mischief and best friendship.

"One day I didn’t know where the babies were and I looked out and they had somehow convinced the dog trainer we had on set... to let them train their baby chihuahuas," St. Clair explained at a cupcake decorating event for the show last week. "I was like, this is classic, because they are just like us. The babies, personality-wise, interact just like Lennon and I do." Seeing their daughters — who are both about two — walk down the street holding hands is a “next level experience,” Parham said.

The fate of Playing House hung in limbo for months after it wrapped up its first season in June 2014. The renewal was finally announced in December of last year. The first season of the show left off right after Maggie (Parham) had given birth to her daughter, Charlotte. Emma (St. Clair) had come into town for Maggie’s baby shower and decided to stay when it was revealed that Maggie’s husband, the dumb-but-not-malicious Bruce (Brad Morris), was having an online affair. Now in the second season, Maggie and Emma are raising Maggie's daughter in their small Connecticut town.

"For the first season, Lennon and I were both pregnant when we were writing it, so we really wrote about what it was like to be pregnant, and then the babies came out of us, after a lot of effort, out of our vaginas," St. Clair explained.

"Normal birth effort," Parham interjected, replicating the natural rhythms the two women have on the show.

"And we went right back to work so we were really raising our babies together on set and having a lot of moments where we could come to each other for help and advice,” St. Clair continued. “So this season is really about that experience. What it’s like in the first year of a baby’s life, and how the stakes are so much higher, because when you’re going to be away from your baby, it’s important what you’re going to be doing with your life. Both Maggie and Emma are taking stock, like, what do we want to do for work? And who do we want to fall in love with? There’s a lot of romance."

Indeed, the second episode of the new season finds the women testing out the world of online dating, an adventure that leads them to encounter a man played by Darius Rucker. Yes, that Darius Rucker. As for other musical guests, this season also features an appearance from “voice of an angel” (Parham’s words) Kenny Loggins, whose song “Celebrate Me Home” was featured in one of the pilot’s most memorable moments. Season two also brings back a potentially romantic supporting player in Keegan-Michael Key, who plays Emma’s ex Mark, as well as Lindsay Sloane, as Mark’s jealous wife Tina, nicknamed Bird Bones because of her fragile, well, bones. Bird Bones, in this season, gets a male dog from Teaneck named Renée because he's "French," she says (hence the dog trainer).

But, regardless of romance, the Playing House draw is the rapport of the two leading ladies, who translate their real-life baby experiences to the screen.

The show airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

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