Season three of Playing House can’t start soon enough. It’s already been a year and a half since the season finale at the Kenny Loggins concert. But now, new episodes premiere this Friday, and we have a taste of what's coming!
While filming the third season, creators and stars Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham who play best friends Emma and Maggie on the show, invited us to the shows set to play house with them. Keegan-Michael Key was there too, returning as Mark. Here are 10 things they told us about the new season.
1. It’s Based on Their Real Lives
In September 2015, St. Clair was diagnosed with breast cancer, enduring a mastectomy, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, and 12 weeks of radiation. And just like the characters they play on TV, Parham was with St. Clair through all of it. After coming out the other side stronger friends than ever, the pair of BFFs decided to write what they know.
“Some sh-- really went down,” St. Clair said. “It was something Lennon and I lived, so we decide to write about it because our friendship in real life deepened in a way that, like, we're no longer two separate people. Let's put it this way: When you hit 40, sh-- really hits the fan and that is when your friends become the most important, especially in a girl best friendship. Like, you are each other's family. I'm not going to start sobbing, but I might. This season is truly a love letter to what Lennon has done for me.”
2. Only 6 Weeks Have Passed Since Season 2
As the expression goes, life is what happens while you're busy making other plans, and so part of the wait for season three is largely due to Parham to having her second child in real life. But, in Playing House time, it has only been six weeks.
“We pick up, kind of, right after the Kenny Loggins thing because we left it on a cliffhanger with Emma and Mark,” Parham said. “So, we thought we should answer that question pretty quickly.”
3. There’s A Game Of Thrones Birthday Party
Nothing says "Birthday fun" like Game of Thrones, right? So, can Playing House pull off a Game of Thrones birthday party? They’re going to try! And you might recognize the birthday girl from St. Clair and Parham’s short-lived series Best Friends Forever, Daija Owens.
“We were actually writing it, and I would be, like, ‘Oh, we should have a Red Wedding cake,’” Parham said. “And [Jessica]'s, like, ‘Well, what's a Red Wedding?’ And I'm, like, ‘I literally can't tell you.’”
St. Claire was a bit too squeamish for Game of Thrones. She googled “red wedding” and couldn’t even get through it. But she had Key dress up as Khal Drogo, Jason Momoa’s character.
“Well, speaking in Dothraki is something I've always wanted to do,” Key said.
4. Gwen Returns For Another Movie Theme
Jane Kaczmarek is back as Emma’s mother Gwen and her episode has a Hoosiers theme. If you don’t remember, Hoosiers was THE sports movie of the ‘80s, the true story of the Indian high school basketball underdogs starring Gene Hackman as their coach.
“Why I will allow America, to see me in a pair of athletic shorts, nobody knows,” St. Clair said.
The episode is also an opportunity for Gwen and Mark to have scenes together and St. Clair called their chemistry “instant magic.”
Key added, “Now that the world's established, who can we pair up that hasn't been paired up before?”
5. Mark is Hanging Out
Out of eight season three episodes, Key is in five. “It was going to be four,” Key said. “We eked another one out, so that we worked that out!”
6. A New Beau for Maggie?
With Mark appearing in five episodes in the new season, that leaves Maggie needing some companionship and they found the perfect guy for her. Having guest starred on Veep together, they asked director Chris Addison for a recommendation.
“There is some real hot romance for Maggie,” St. Clair said. “And when I say hot, I mean we called up one of our directors, Chris Addison from Veep. We were like, ‘Who is the new Mr. Darcy? Call up your best girlfriend and ask, who is Mr. Darcy?" So he gave us the name of one person, and we looked him up online and we were, like, holy moly! He was in a professor's jacket and a vest and a shirt. In fact, we had a Skype with him, and he was, like, ‘How did you guys find me because I didn't put myself on tape?’ And we were like, ‘Oh, we know what you got going on.’”
You’ll have to wait and see who the mystery man is. “He plays a doctor and it's really cool to see Maggie falling in love,” St. Clair added.
7. Jessica and Lennon Direct
Both creators and stars try their hands at directing episodes of Playing House this season.
“I was totally scared to do it,” St. Clair said. “We've never done it before, and we decided this would be the season we would try it. We were supposed to direct later, but we had a switch up in directors. So Lennon ended up taking over the first week, which was our Hoosiers theme, which, weirdly enough, is Lennon's favorite movie.”
“It's not weird at all,” Parham insisted. “It's, like, the best sports film of all time. I watched the film. It's available for $3.99 on Amazon to rent or buy. So, buy it. Have it forever. I just watched it, and I drew little shot lists and a little camera, and I brought that in, and I was, like, ‘I want this shot.’”
9. There Are Still Playing House-Themed Commercials
Fans really enjoyed the commercials starring Parham and St. Clair as Maggie and Emma. The best way to sell a product is to have your favorite characters do an original scene about them, so they will continue in season three.
“You would think, like, maybe that's not creatively satisfying, but for us, it's just an opportunity to write another scene,” St. Clair said. “Especially Comcast and XFINITY, they're such great partners to it. They're, like, ‘Do whatever you want, as long as you talk about this feature.’ We can write whatever scene we want. So, it's been really fun.”
10. The Season Finale Rocks
Even with Hoosiers and Game of Thrones episodes, the biggest them of all will be in the season finale.
“All I will say is two words: Tina Turner,” Parham teased. "We do have dancing. We have dancing that is going to fucking knock your socks off in the finale.”
Don’t get your hopes up too high for another Kenny Loggins situation though.
“Tina Turner's not going to be in it,” Parham clarified. “Don't get too excited, all right.”
Playing House premieres this Friday, Jun. 23, at 11/10c with two back-to-back episodes! Binge the first two seasons NOW on USANetwork.com!