Last year, I fell in love with USA’s new series Playing House. The show follows two friends, played by Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, as they navigate small town living, single parenthood and romance. In an interview, Parham compared the show to the classic Gilmore Girls. Like a starred item on a menu, I was sold without further explanation. Parham describes the Playing House location as “like Stars Hollow, but with a bunch of weirdoes.” While she may be referring to my hometown, the comparison works. Playing House is a similar series. Both shows have fast-talking leading ladies, a rag-tag group of supporting characters and seemingly unobtainable love interests. This comparison begs the question: Which show is better?
Similar to the Michael vs. LeBron debate, it is difficult to determine a person’s potential compared to a person’s legacy. And yet, the conversation continues.
To identify the worthy series, we will judge the shows on four scientifically proven criteria before the second season of Playing House starts August 4th.
Lorelai and Rory are the gold standard for what you want to see from two women on screen. My mom and I are a poor man’s Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. We aren’t as quick-witted. We aren’t motivated by coffee, but more so by cheese covered items. I think what is so loveable about the mother/daughter duo is that they have bits. Secretly, I believe that they were taking improve classes together to be more adorable in public.
In Playing House, Maggie and Emma have also been graced with the ability to riff off of each other. Subjects include, but are not limited to, the rules of brunch, keeping things right and tight and how “sisters are doing it for themselves.”
Overall, I’d happily transport myself into either one of these pairs. I would, however, choose Playing House because Lorelai and Rory, at times, seem overly dependent on each other.
Here’s a controversial statement for you: Sookie, from Gilmore Girls, is too much. Sookie is mentally taxing. Her manic energy is overwhelming. If you have ever spent time near a skittish Chihuahua, you know they make your blood pressure rise. I can’t imagine Sookie being a good cook. Her quick, unnecessary movements would cause all the soufflÃ©s to fall.
This is a common thread of the supporting characters in Gilmore Girls. Kirk, Paris, Michel and Taylor Doose were all approaching unbearable. All of the frustration from the supporting characters helps make Lorelai and Rory seem more loveable.
Playing House is more relaxed. The pace of the show is still as frenetic as GG, but the citizens are a little less uptight. Keegan-Micahel Key, Jane Kaczmarek, Bobby Moynihan, Andy Daly and Larry Wilmore all appear as residents of the charming Pinebrook, Connecticut town.
Without a doubt, Playing House has the more likable supporting characters.
There were almost as many cups of coffee as there were love interests on Gilmore Girls. The Gilmore’s cups runneth over with Lukes and Christophers and Deans and Logans. It seemed like Lorelai and Luke always seemed to get in their own way. Luke and Loralei never had an onscreen wedding. We, as an audience, gave the Gilmore Girls seven seasons and we never got a proper wedding.
In season two of Playing House, rumor has it that Darius “Hootie” Rucker and one half of HGTV’s Property Brothers will play the love interests for Maggie. Could you dream up two better middle-aged suitors?
Probably, but let’s not split hairs.
Hootie > Luke Danes
I can appreciate a show that sets unrealistic expectations. No one wants to see what a normal baby shower looks like. We have all been to those. We want to watch shows where the characters spend thirty seconds preparing for a party onscreen and the outcome is a Martha Stewartian Dream.
Both Gilmore Girls and Playing House play towards these aspirations. No one can throw a better themed party than the Gilmores. If you or I were to throw a Tarantino themed party everyone who show up as the bride from Kill Bill. Rory gets variety at her themed parties. That’s why Rory gets to date the Logan Huntzbergers of the world.
In the episode, “Spaghetti and Meatballs,” Playing House tries its hand at the themed-party episode genre. Emma is tasked with throwing together a fundraiser for Chihuahuas with nerve disorders. There is a spaghetti dinner and afterwards a little strip tease from the local cops. The episode is a perfect combination of Magic Mike, Remember the Titans and Save the Last Dance. If you watch one episode of the series, this would be the one to watch.
*I am only besmirching the name of Gilmore Girls to provoke you to watch Playing House. I need more people to talk to about this show (preferably over a cup of coffee while a grumpy store owners sulks in the corner.)