A Renewal Performance at TCA

PlayingHouseThe purpose of the TV Critics Association winter press tour is to present an endless string of press conferences for a crush of new shows, and to provide brief availability of stars and executives for questions.

And there a number of announcements squirreled away for the event as well, taking advantage of a room full of television journalists.

Most are just declared by executives flatly, but one announcing a new season of the USA sitcom “Playing House” came with a little skit.

As Chris McCumber talked about shows like “Mr. Robot” and “Walking Dead,” they were interrupted by a pair of pretend reporters.

“Excuse me. I’m sorry. Mr. McCumber, I just have a question in the back,” said a woman standing in the back (ignoring for a moment that reporters neither stand nor interrupt executive speeches at these things).

“It’s Messica St. Clam and Lemon Parsnips. We’re from “Cat Fancy Monthly.”

(And we don’t identify ourselves before questions usually either).

“We just had una pregunta.”

“That’s ‘a question’ in Spanish,” the other piped up.

“About the show ‘Playing House.’ I don’t know if you remember. It was critically acclaimed.”

“Thank you, critics. Bless you,” said the other, “for all of your good service.”

“We just had a question whether or not it was gonna be picked up for season three.”

“We haven’t heard anything.”

They kept going, back and forth, line by line.

“It just would be such a shame, you know, because the show, it ended up on multiple Top 10 lists for 2015.”

“I think it was revolutionary.”

“I mean, two real life best friends. They write it. They star in it. That’s chemistry.”

“That’s lightning in a bottle.”

“Can’t beat that, and our numbers on demand were, like, through the roof. Remember?”

“And, I mean, we left our loyal fan base with a cliffhanger. It’s like Mark and Emma, you know, are they going do it?”

“We don’t know yet. We haven’t written it.”

“Right. But I will tell you something, Mr. McCumber, America needs to see Keegan Michael Key with all of his clothes off!”

“That’s right!”

Then it was time for the executive’s part in this little play.

“I agree with you,” McCumber said. “America does need to see Keegan Michael Key with his clothes off some more. So that’s why I’m here to announce that ‘Playing House’ is coming back for Season 3.

At which point its stars, who had been posing as these reporters, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, began to freak out.

“Shut your mouth!”

“If you are f***ing with us, sir, I will have you arrested!”

“This is our life and our heart, and it’s our baby!”

“Say it again!”

“I want you to say it again to my face!”

Assured they had a renewal, they began to scream, “We got a season three! We got a season three!”

Then they tried to tone it down. “Let’s keep it classy-like,” St. Clair said. “We’re going to keep it classy like Shonda Rhimes would.”

And they were gone.

“Playing House,” which is just about the only original comedy on USA, returns in the summer.


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