PLAYING HOUSE: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham Tease Rob Riggle 'At His Best,' Keegan-Michael Key Going Full SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PLAYING HOUSE: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham Tease Rob Riggle ‘At His Best,’ Keegan-Michael Key Going Full SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and More

August 18, 2015 by  

Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/USA Network

Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/USA Network

PLAYING HOUSE is continuing its streak of stellar guest casting with tonight’s new episode: Rob Riggle stops by!

“[He plays] a very overly sexual woodworking teacher that rolls into town and destroys marriages,” PLAYING HOUSE co-creator/star Jessica St. Clair (Emma) teased. “And it’s Rob Riggle at his best: and by that, I mean he’s at his rudest and his most misogynistic.”

And as great as the fabulous guest/supporting cast constantly are on PLAYING HOUSE, part of what makes it one of the best gems on television right now is its incredible (and unparralled) look at female friendship.

I sat down with St. Clair and PLAYING HOUSE co-creator/star Lennon Parham (Maggie) after their recent TCA panel to speak about the impact the show is having on people, showcasing realistic female friendships, working with Kenny Loggins, what’s to come in season 2, and more…

At this point, people seem to be very invested in your reel and real friendship. What kind of fan responses are you getting?
Jessica St. Clair: Someone last night tweeted to us…
Lennon Parham: He’s new.
JSC: He’s a new Jammer, but he’s been very active lately. And he said as someone with deep depression, PLAYING HOUSE has given me a much needed ray of light. I read that and I was like, that’s exactly why I ever wanted to do comedy or TV. Television can be a real comfort. It was for me. GILMORE GIRLS got me through a really dark time. And if we can provide that for someone else, for me, then that’s it. That’s why we’re doing it.
LP: I’m not doing it [only] for other people; it’s a fringe benefit, to be honest. I do think what we do is important, but I originally did it because it makes me feel good. And then also if it’s making everyone else feel good, that’s my larger part in the world. But I learned that lesson, not initially.
JSC: I think before we created this show, it was always in my mind, that I wanted something that after you watched it, it made you feel that people love each other and all is right in the world. Because that’s what I got from television when I was little.

For as many phenomenal female characters that are on TV right now, there is still this bizarre absence of prominent female friendships —
LP: There are more now than there were a couple of years ago.
JSC: There was a dearth of female duos for a long time, and we really don’t know why. We grew up watching I LOVE LUCY, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, and KATE & ALLIE, and [THE MARY TYLER MOORE’s] Mary and Rhoda.
LP: I think we saw them less in comedy. I guess they did exist on GREY’S ANATOMY…there were some dramas that had some really good long-term friendship. But not necessarily in the comedy [world].
JSC: Honestly, Amy Poehler and Tina [Fey] and Maya [Rudolph] and Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, they really ushered in this golden age of the female duo back.
LP: What was the question? I think we just started talking.

Well, with people connecting to Maggie and Emma’s friendship so much in season 1, how did the awareness of that — and the knowledge of lack of representation of female duos — play into how you wrote season 2?
LP: I think we just write what we know. We have that in our real lives, and we’ve experienced that.
JSC: We just have really beautiful female friendships in our lives. It’s one of my biggest sources of joy. I have Lennon, and then I have some childhood best friends who are everything to me. We just wanted to realistically portray what women are like to each other, which is, we have each other’s backs, one thousand percent. You very rarely meet a woman who doesn’t have a best friend.
LP: Who would literally drop everything to help them go raise a baby were they in need.
JSC: If my childhood best friend was like, “I don’t have the money, I need your help,” there is nothing I wouldn’t do. That’s how women are to each other. We support the shit out of each other. So, yeah, it’s great to see it on television, because that’s how we have been since the beginning of time. It takes a village!

When we last spoke, you were about to film with Kenny Loggins. What was that experience like?
JSC: It was everything we thought it would be, plus more.
LP: I get nervous when I meet someone like that, that I’ve idolized for so long. You’re worried he’s going to be a jerk —
JSC: Or weird.
LP: He’s a living icon. And he was so sweet, and wanted to give us whatever we needed.
JSC: “Celebrate Me Home” is on the piano, and he learned, on his own, to play it on the acoustic guitar just for our show.
LP: It’s a guitar he’s had for 50 years. It sounds so good.
JSC: He’s so giving.
LP: His voice is so amazing.
JSC: Just like any good actor, I feel like any good singer has to be someone who lets in emotion.
LP: Do you remember when we did our coverage, we had already shot Kenny’s coverage, so we turned around to us, and he was like, “Wait, I want to do it again so I can give you a better set up.”
JSC: And we’re like, “You’re Kenny Loggins. You could be asleep right now. You should be in your Santa Barbara mansion right now.” The same thing with Darius Rucker. He was a huge fan of the show on Twitter.
LP: And I DMed him [about appearing on the show]. And for two days, there was no response. And then all of a sudden, I get a DM that says “I am SO in. I have a concert the night before for 75,000 people, and I will take the first plane.”
JSC: And he showed up, and this is why these people are superstars: they’re not only great at their jobs, but they’re wonderfully kind, nice people.
LP: And they’re very talented. [Rucker] knew all of his lines, he was such a good actor, he was such a professional, and his voice is delight.
JSC: He’s such a good actor…and you see Lennon is having trouble [with] blushing and getting her lines out.
LP: There were not a lot of usable takes.
JSC: There weren’t. There was like one where she wasn’t like [fakes laughing], “Oh Mr. Darius Rucker.” I’m like, “You’ve got to get it together, man.”
LP: We had chemistry.
JSC: She fell down into the booth and laid down…and said, “I’m gonna go to Disney World” after the scene was done.
LP: “Disneyland.” Don’t misquote me.

This season, you filmed the show totally on location. How did the lack of standing sets impact the way you shaped season 2?
LP: I don’t think it really changed the way [we did things]. We wrote the first season, and we had a stage, and we shot a lot of it off the stage. And then we wrote this season, and we ended up shooting it inside the house. It’s kind of like, what’s clever, Trevor? You just do what you do.
JSC: The house, we shot the pilot in a practical house, and the set was made to look like the house. I don’t know if people noticed the difference [this year] — did you?

I didn’t, and it was a little freaky because I knew the set was gone. I wasn’t sure if you had ended up using the set again…
JSC: They built that porch on to the man’s house.
LP: Because it our original pilot [house], they sweetened it and opened it up. The kitchen is very, very different —
JSC: We don’t use the kitchen much.
LP: But the rest of it is similar.
JSC: The only difference is it was hotter. We were in Pasadena in the summer. It was hot as hell.
LP: We were in Glendale.
JSC: It’s the same thing.
LP: It’s nothing alike.

Looking ahead, what are you excited for fans to see?
JSC: Episode 4 is one of our favorites, because I think it has exactly what we’re trying to hit the balance of: it’s hard-hitting comedy — Rob Riggle [guest] stars as a very overly sexual woodworking teacher that rolls into town and destroys marriages. And it’s Rob Riggle at his best: and by that, I mean he’s at his rudest and his most misogynistic.
LP: He’s very handsome.
JSC: He was a marine, and he showed us a picture of himself at 21 and he looked like Tom Cruise.
LP: Never looked better.
JSC: We got him in a welding mask, because Channing Tatum had one for the MAGIC MIKE [trailer]. And then some really big things happen, storywise, and some very emotional things.
LP: It’s got a little bit of everything.
JSC: And then episode 7, it all takes place at a policeman’s ball. It’s as close to my olden days fantasy as we could get.
LP: Dancing.
JSC: Stolen moments on a veranda. And it’s hot to the hot.
LP: Keegan[-Michael Key (Mark)] and I have some fun stuff coming up.
JSC: And episode 5! Episode 5 is one of our best, and I keep forgetting because we’re editing them all out of order. 5, Keegan spends the entire episode wearing a garbage bag, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK-style. He’s lost his mind, and it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen him do.

Before I let you go, what do you want to say to the fans?
LP: Keep converting people to Jammers. Keep binging it, keep watching it, keep letting us know what you like, and what you’re connecting with. And also straight up thank you.
JSC: Without you, we would not have had this dream. We owe you everything, we’ll never forget that, and tweet us pictures of you at your graduation and of your baby, because we think of you as family and love you with all of our hearts.

PLAYING HOUSE airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on USA Network.

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