Pop Culture Care Package Pt. 8: Playing House and a Live-Tweet!

FRIENDS! WE MADE IT TO TODAY!!

Dear Darling Dames Nationals, before we dig into the meat of this issue, we just wanted to send you all a sincere thank you for the many sweet emails and kind words you took the time to share with us this week. 

We are so delighted that our choice to send out short, daily newsletters has pleased so many of you. To know we’re doing something that makes your days better during this exceptionally stressful time is a real balm to us. In that spirit, we are going to keep going with daily emails through at least next Friday. 


LATE-BREAKING: Livetweet A SIMPLE FAVOR with us tomorrow night!

Our sentiments about any work you may be struggling to focus upon or any children you are failing to presently corral or educate. 

Inspired by Linda Holmes’s decision to livetweet the (still excellent) SPY last weekend, we wanted to watch another terrific film from Paul Feig’s oeuvre: the deliciously batty, slyly funny, unabashedly maximalist domestic thriller, A Simple Favor, which is presently streaming for free on Hulu and available to rent for minimal ducats on many other platforms. The movie is R-rated due to “nudity and sexual encounters, some violence without significant gore, more than 50 F-words and other profanities, and lots of cocktail drinking”, according to Kids In Mind’s review. “Lots of cocktail drinking” is surely what moved the rating from PG-13 territory to an R. Quel scandale!

What: Streaming A Simple Favor either on Hulu or via the streaming platform of your choice.

When: Saturday, 3/21, at 7:30 PM EDT

Where: Under the hashtag #ASimpleSaturday on Twitter or in our newsletter-only chat thread. Ooooh, fancy! Yet accessible!


Today’s Joint Recommendation: Playing House

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A super-high-quality rerun for you all! SPEAKING OF deeply romantic friendships, we are thrilled to once more rave at length about USA’s sitcom Playing House, arguably the best televisual depiction of friendship since Parks and Recreation went off the air! The show, about a high-flying businesswoman who moves back to her small Connecticut hometown to help her best friend raise a baby, is probably the best gift Dame Margaret ever gave Dame Sophie-- she bought Season 1 for her on DVD as a surprise and that exact box set has now been sent around the country to many OTHER friends, building #Damespal by #Damespal the cult that this terrific show deserves. 

Maggie and Emma, the best friends in question, are played by real-life best friends Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, who also serve as the show’s head writers. The friendship is warm, specific, and heartbreakingly tender. The Will They, Won’t They romance between Emma and her high school sweetheart Officer Mark is as fizzy and  swoony as what you’d find in any truly classic romantic comedy and will forever cement Keegan-Michael Key in your heart as a Crush to End All Crushes.

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Corniness and dreaminess in perfect proportion, phew

Everything about this show is perfectly, lovingly constructed, from the Besties Making A Life Together plotting, to the mini-Stars Hollow features of Pinebrook, to the guest characters. Maggie’s ex-husband Bruce starts out as a rather pathetic, philandering boob, but eventually finds his footing as a competent & loving father. Emma’s mother -- in a master stroke of casting, played by Jane Kaczmarek, whose dimples exactly match Jessica St. Clair’s -- is an impossible, Talbots-clad nightmare, but is also exactly the kind of mother you can see raising a young, rebellious Emma. Let us not even speak of the glories of Maggie’s brother Zach (who you may already know as Jared, the true hero of HBO’s Silicon Valley) and Tina, aka Bird Bones! Even people who show up for just one or two episodes (Maggie’s divorce lawyer, Emma’s surgeon) are beautifully integrated into the whole.

And THE JOKES. MY GOD, THE JOKES! There are SO many of them and they are all SO funny! Parham and St. Clair have created a show where there’s snappy scripted dialogue galore, and plenty of room for really successful improvisation. Ready to watch yet? GREAT! Unfortunately, none of the seasons are presently free to stream but you can purchase them outright on the platform of your choosing. We feel confident you’d come to regard it as a very worthwhile investment.

The interview here between Jessica, Lennon, and #Damesfav Linda Holmes, speaks about the plot of Season 3, but not in a way that would damage your enjoyment of it, and it does such an incredible job of illustrating how the creators’ real friendship informs their show, and their capacity to wring body-shaking humor from even the most challenging circumstances. And, when you’ve devoured all three seasons, you’ll want to check with our dear friend Kathryn’s essay about the incredible emotional-humor balancing act Parham and St. Clair achieve with season 3

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Is Dame Sophie tearing up just thinking about how soothing & nourishing it will feel to rewatch the entire run? Who can say???


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