We’ve waited nearly two full years (!) for it, Jammers, but it’s finally here: Playing House is back… and it’s like we never left the cozy confines of Pinebrook.
Friday’s two-part Season 3 premiere kicks off (hi-yah!) with Emma and Maggie taking a self-defense class, learning “eyeball scoops” and other lethal tactics from a seriously toned instructor named Cookie (Looking‘s Lauren Weedman). Maggie’s a real teacher’s pet, flipping poor Emma around with ease. (“I think you snapped my solar plexus,” Emma complains.) Cookie even invites Maggie to join her squad of elite students, “The Cookie Jar”… but Maggie starts feeling a little punchy herself after her ex Bruce introduces her to his new girlfriend: Hey, it’s Cookie!
And yes, Emma and Mark are still together, and all mushy: The cop writes her a fake ticket for “being too sexy.” But the two haven’t actually done the deed since they reunited, and Emma’s a bit concerned about the passage of time. She frantically asks Maggie, “Do penises age?” After a hilariously terrible dinner cooked by Mark — an unidentifiable meat, some dry pasta and “a warm banana, halved, microwaved for two minutes” — the two try to get romantic, but Emma ruins it by getting all self-conscious about her body. (What, shouting “Pay the toll! Find the troll!” isn’t sexy?)
This all leads to a disastrous game night, where Bruce and Cookie gross Maggie out with their explicit PDA — they met buying personal piñatas at a Party City — making Maggie feel utterly alone. Mark sneaks into Emma’s bedroom, “Dawson’s Creek-style,” to spice things up, but she forces them into the closet to hide her body in the dark, and Maggie ends up punching Mark in the larynx, thinking he’s an intruder. But after the two BFFs exchange pep talks, Emma finally works up the courage to show Mark all the bedroom moves she’s got now. And not in the dark!
Episode 2 sees the return of the much-loved, much-derided Bird Bones, aka Mark’s skeletally fragile ex Tina. (And yes, her body still be bangin’.) Emma tries to duck her because she never told her she and Mark are together now — “I drafted a few texts that said, ‘Hey, we good?'” — but she ends up getting roped into Tina’s new business venture: selling a couple hundred boxes of cosmetics as part of a pyramid scheme. Hmmm… maybe her business sense not be so bangin’.
Meanwhile, Maggie’s in training to be a nurse and trying to win the approval of Dr. Ericson, a humorless British doctor nicknamed “Dr. Freeze.” (If he doesn’t like you, Maggie’s nurse friend Jeff warns, “it’s urology for the rest of your life.”) Jeff crumbles under pressure, losing a battle with a loudly beeping heart monitor, but Maggie swoops in and saves the day, eventually earning the grudging respect of Dr. Freeze… er, Ericson. Are we sensing a possible hospital romance between these two?
Emma offers to use her business savvy to get Tina off the hook by sweet-talking her cosmetics dealer Vanessa (June Diane Raphael), but the hard-charging Vanessa isn’t having it. (She actually says, “Bitch better have my money”!) Emma and Tina team up to sell off the cosmetics surplus — “Make me look like Vanna White,” the gruff Mary Pat demands — but they only succeed in plumping Maggie’s lips beyond all recognition. (Jeff: “Why do you look like Lisa Rinna melted?”) But they get revenge on Vanessa by ratting her out to a local TV scam-buster. Serves her right!
And the best news of all: Starting Saturday, all eight Season 3 episodes will be available on-demand… because we’ve waited long enough, right?
Your turn, Jammers: What’d you think of the two-part premiere? Give it a grade in our poll, then hit the comments with your thoughts.