The warmly romantic “Officer of the Year” and the cameo-filled “Celebrate Me Scones” close out Playing House’s second season, a season marked by strong storytelling and anchored by honest performances.
As Playing House’s second season winds down, “Kimmewah Cup” continues to explore how the transitions in Emma and Maggie’s lives have affected their friendship, but the episode overall is a retread of themes and ideas the show has done better in the past.
“Employee of the Month” continues Playing House’s trend of strong emotional episodes, as it deals with the aftermath of “Knotty Pine,” and Mark and Tina’s decision to get a divorce. The focus on grounded, personal stories, like relationships unraveling, the unwavering support of friends, and feeling scared in the midst of transitions, is the show at its best.
“Knotty Pine,” the fourth episode of Playing House, marks the mid-point for the season and the show’s finest installment, deftly moving between comedy and drama to deliver the best of both genres. The episode culminates with an emotional conversation between Tina and Mark about the future of their relationship, a powerfully broken moment for a comedy, but one that feels completely at home in the world of Playing House.
“Cashmere Burka” continues to strengthen Playing House’s identity as a small-town show: just like in a small town, the people who live there are involved with various aspects of daily life. So bringing back side characters to play the ensemble in an episode, or quick scenes at Rosie’s, or the long and tumultuous story about chicken salad that Emma tells, all of those things build towards making Pinebrook feel like a lived-in place.
What’s apparent in “Hello, Old Friend” and “Sleepless in Pinebrook,” the two episodes that open the season, is that Playing House is stealthily one of the best shows on television about living in a small town. Between awkward run-ins in public places to finding out an old driving instructor is on Tinder, the show captures the familiarity and slight claustrophobia of being in the same small place for a long time.
Fans of USA Network’s sitcom Playing House, and/or of creators Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair can rest easy, as Deadline is reporting that the channel has renewed the show for an 8-episode second season, following six months of speculation about the show’s fate after its first season finale. This news is particularly heartening, as …