Playing House Gets Personal

Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham have created their most personal season of Playing House. In 2015, St. Clair was diagnosed with breast cancer. After going through treatment, surgery, and recovery, she wanted to share that experience with others by incorporating it into season 3 of Playing House. And, folks, it is their best season yet. Parham and St. Clair have mastered the balance between serious, emotional wallops and their brand of delightful comedy.

Here are three big moments where this was perfection (if you don’t have the ability to watch all these episodes on demand and are watching them each week as they air…there may be spoilers below. You’ve been warned!):

Maggie re-enters the dating world. The past two seasons, we’ve seen Maggie (Lennon Parham) really focus on being a mom. She hasn’t dated anyone. This season, though, we see her realize she is ready after a particularly hilarious game night where she is the only singleton.

Normally, Maggie would slowly get back in the dating saddle, but she is propelled by everything going on with Emma (Jessica St. Clair) to be more forward with the attractive British doctor.

Playing House

Jessica St. Clair explains Maggie embracing boldness: “Whereas before, maybe Maggie would have been too shy to ask out this handsome British doctor that she has a crush on, she kind of just goes for it, post big C.  And so, you get to really see Maggie kind of living even more of her best life.”

Emma finds out she has breast cancer. The way in which this was handled—with both delicacy and humor—by sharing all aspects of it and not just how it affects the person who has it, but everyone around them was so good.

Many of the scenes were inspired by real life. St. Clair describes approaching her experience and thinking of the show when she says, “So, as these things were happening, I was making a mental list because, as comedians, we’re always like looking out for what’s funny and ridiculous about life….We realized the doctor thought that we were a lesbian couple because my husband wasn’t there at that time.  And we kept talking about our daughter and our insurance and all….And Lennon told her that we were so happy I was going to get to keep my nipple because I’ve always been really proud of my nipple.  And suddenly, we’re discussing how I have the perfect ratio of areola to nipple.  And why is that happening?  That’s so stupid.  And then, Lennon ends up picking out my boobs because I have a panic attack about which one – which implant feels most like my own.” Indeed, those exact scenarios play out and make the situation real and relatable.

Playing House Laurie Metcalf Lennon Parham Jessica St. Clair


The Drag Queen ending. Of course Emma and Maggie would run into car trouble on their way to a double date. Of course they would get rescued by a drag queen. And, OF COURSE, they would step in and perform dressed in glittery drag, embracing the “F*ck Yes” life motto.

Emma and Maggie, as always, are the most important relationship in the show. As we’ve said before, their female friendship is one of (if not the) best examples of female friendship on tv right now. It’s important to show such a strong female relationship; the relationship is especially important in this season when things get tough. Women form such a supportive net for Maggie (the craft night scene is a great example). Parham explains, “I think that’s the village component that women have down that, you know, maybe we only really lean on each other in these really intense times.  But it’s happening on kind of another level at all-time.” St. Clair agrees: “I’ve [gotten] to see how beautiful my friends are.  And I think that every woman has felt that from their friends.  And I’m just so proud to be a woman.  I’m proud to have a daughter.  And I’m proud to know how amazingly kickass my friends are.  And that’s what we show on the show; exactly that.”

Playing House BFF


Catch up on Playing House on Fridays on USA, or online here.


Photo Credits: USA


Taraneh has been happily living in NYC for over a decade, but originally hails from the Midwest. Enamored with books at a young age, she grew up making stories, playing make believe, and loving the musical and performing arts. She is great at binge-watching TV shows. Some current favorites: Schitt's Creek, A Court of Mist & Fury, Prince Harry, and The Magicians.

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