The likable sitcom “Playing House,” which premieres 10 p.m. Tuesday on USA, was created by real-life best friends Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, who co-star as Maggie Caruso (Parham), a very pregnant suburban mom, and Emma Crawford (St. Clair), a world-traveling businesswoman with little time for a personal life and only a few minutes here and there for cellphone calls to friends.
Emma returns to their Connecticut hometown for Maggie’s baby shower, during which the mother-to-be discovers her husband is having an online affair with a German woman. Emma’s loyalties are divided between wanting to support her best friend and needing to repair a major business deal in China that fell apart when she dozed off during a Skype conference.
You already know what she decides to do.
The premiere episode is promising, but the second episode, “Bird Bones,” is solid, as it not only makes good use of the ensemble cast but better displays the show’s offbeat comedy. That cast includes Keegan-Michael Key as Mark, a local cop and Emma’s high-school boyfriend; Lindsay Sloane as his delicate, “perfect” wife, Tina; and Zach Woods doing his weird geeky, gawky bit, which we know from “The Office” and “Silicon Valley,” as an old high school friend of Emma and Maggie’s.
Lennon and Parham co-starred in “Best Friends Forever” on NBC, which lasted only a few months. The new show has a more developed feel to it. Parham and St. Clair continue to play well off each other, but the writing is tighter and the ensemble cast is better.