A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Playing House is a comedy about two best friends who band together to raise the baby one of them is pregnant with. The vibe here is mostly sweet and charming, and the show includes a very realistic and positive portrait of an adult female friendship. The main thing that may give parents pause are the frequent rude and often sexual jokes, which revolve around body parts, pornography, bodily functions, and sex in general. There are discussions about the particulars of a pregnant woman's private parts, a bridal-shower scene with diapers smeared with melted candy bars, a discussion of foreign food causing diarrhea, and other very bawdy scenarios. Viewers will hear some cursing as well, including unbleeped four-letter words, and words that refer to body parts. There are references to drinking, but a pregnant woman opts to drink milk instead of alcohol.
What's the story?
When Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) catches her husband cheating and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) moves in to help her get through her pregnancy, the two are PLAYING HOUSE. How hard could it be to raise a baby, right? But before these clueless two find out, they have a few hurdles to get through first. Emma has just dumped her prestigious job in China and has no idea how she's going to make ends meet. Plus she just knows she's going to go stir-crazy in her tiny old home town, where she keeps running into people she used to know and never wanted to see again, like local cop Mark (Keegan-Michael Key) and his "bird-boned" perfect wife Tina (Lindsay Sloane). But with only so much time before Maggie and Emma are co-moms of a sort, the two of them are going to have to find a way to work it all out.
Is it any good?
Viewers may (or may not -- it didn't last longl) remember St. Clair and Parham from heir short-lived NBC sitcom Best Friends Forever. If so, you may recall that the two have positively potent comic chemistry, perhaps because they're real-life best friends who created both that show and this one together. So it's no surprise that Playing House has a refreshing ladies'-first feeling that brings a kind of sweetness to jokes that liken Maggie's pregnant boobs to a waterbed.
In addition to the adorable interplay between the show's two leading ladies, the plot points are absurdly funny without being sitcom cliche antic, such as an attempt to de-raccoon a child's playhouse, or a local mystery involving disappearing garden gnomes. Yes, there are some pretty rude jokes, but the whole feeling of the show is fizzy, funny and cute, sorta like a slightly-cleaned-up network TV version of Bridesmaids. It's worth a watch for parents, and maybe even a space on your DVR schedule.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the setting of Playing House, which is a common one: A character returns to their small hometown and decides to stay. What other shows or movies can you think of with this basic plot device? Why is it so popular? What comic or dramatic potential does it hold?
Is the audience supposed to like Maggie and Emma? How can you tell? How are they presented and how is that different from the way "bad" characters are seen and heard?
Are the characters on Playing House wealthy? College educated? Successful in their careers? How can you tell?
Themes & Topics
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