PLAYING HOUSE: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham on Their 'Cinderella Story' Renewal and Season 2 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PLAYING HOUSE: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham on Their ‘Cinderella Story’ Renewal and Season 2

August 4, 2015 by  

Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/USA Network

Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/USA Network

PLAYING HOUSE returns for its second season tonight on USA Network, and, thankfully, the show is as hilarious/heartwarming as ever. (If you aren’t watching this with your own best friend…why not?!)

Season 2 picks up a few months after we last saw Emma and Maggie, and the duo are raising baby Charlotte — adorably awkward family portrait, and all.

But as fans of the show know, PLAYING HOUSE season 2 was never a sure thing — and as a result creators/stars/real-life best friends Jessica St. Clair (Emma) and Lennon Parham (Maggie) have been cherishing every moment they get to play in this world.

I spoke with the duo about the ridiculously long renewal process, making the show to bring them joy, and more…

During the long period between the show’s season 1 finale and the season 2 renewal, what was your mindset? Did you think it would come back?
Jessica St. Clair: We definitely thought it was dead. We had grieved it, we had mourned it, we had really resigned ourselves to the fact it wasn’t coming back.
Lennon Parham: We were trying to come up with new ideas for the next project. And we couldn’t, because we were still holding on, because it hadn’t been officially announced that it was over.
JSC: And then we got a call.
LP: Unbeknownst to us, there were secret angels [working] in the back.
JSC: And the truth was our fans and reporters were so crazy-passionate, that it is one of those Cinderella stories. It’s like that movie, RUDY, which of course I never saw, just the trailer…
LP: She keeps quoting it and comparing it.
JSC: But it felt like it was a movie. All the chips were down, and it got almost embarrassing we hadn’t been picked up. People were getting verbally abusive in their headlines! Like, “Hey, USA, get your head out of your ass!” And then it got picked up. And it was because there were just as many passionate fans behind the scenes at the network that were secretly working for us. It was so special when it got picked up, because we knew it had been a labor of love.

Given the outpouring of love for the show in its limbo, how did that impact the way you approached season 2?
LP: You know, what we did in season 1 was just totally truthful to what we think is friendship and comedy and heart.
JSC: It was the show we always wished was on TV, that we decided to write. And USA let us do it, which is so rare.
LP: And they really let us have our own voice, which in comedy is really sweet. Because if you’re not doing what you truly think is funny, you can see it. [In the beginning], there was a little fear, I would say…because we were creating a world and we had no idea if people would care about it. But with season 2, we were just —
JSC: Balls to the wall.
LP: Let’s just do this.
JSC: We don’t have balls, but if we did, we’d put them on a wall.
LP: If it’s not funny, if we don’t love it, we’re not doing it.
JSC: [We asked,] “What’s fun?”
LP: We were going for it, one hundred percent.
JSC: We said every day, we want to have the best time of our lives in the writers’ room.
LP: So we cast all our friends, we had a big board with every person we know and love on the wall. We had dream people like [season finale guest] Kenny fucking Loggins. And then we wrote stuff for them. We said, “We’re writing something for you, we love you, will you do this?” And 99 percent of the time, they said yes.

PLAYING HOUSE airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on USA Network.

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