Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair's sweet, silly and totally unique Best Friends Forever was easily one of my favorite new shows in 2012. Naturally it was canceled by NBC after six episodes, leaving me praying another network would be smart enough to tap these funny ladies to shepherd another comedy, immediately.
Thankfully USA stepped in and greenlit their new pilot, Playing House, which sees the real life BFF's once again playing BFF's -- but this time there's a baby in the mix. I caught up with Jessica St. Clair at USA's Upfront Event in NYC to talk/gush about the dearly departed Best Friends Forever, find out what fans can expect from their newest union (like a Queenetta cameo!) and see how life has changed since Jessica's become The Pope of Designer Fashions For Less!
ETonline: How did you and Lennon pitch this show to USA?
Jessica St. Clair: We were like, "Listen, we got to work with our best friend every day and this can't stop now, so will you please give us money?" And then they said OK ... we kind of cannot believe it. I'm just so excited.
ETonline: How do you describe Playing House?
St. Clair: It's about two best friends, Lennon's husband cheats on her while she's 8 months pregnant -- which Lennon actually was when we shot the pilot -- so we kick him out of the house and I move home to help her raise the baby. It's two ladies and a baby, essentially with girls who are friendsbians. They're so close they might as well be lesbians. Just like Lennon and I, she's basically my wife.
ETonline: Tonally, how would you compare it to Best Friends Forever?
St. Clair: It's very similar in that the way Lennon and I write is we improvise and tape ourselves. The way we talk on the new show is very much like BFFs because that's how we are in real life. What's also great about this show is we got to have a whole cast of improvisers, so Keegan Michael Key from Key and Peele is there and Zach Woods from The Office plays Lennon's younger brother. It's a fabulous group.
ETonline: What are the chances you'll bring back Daija Owens, who played Queenetta on BFF?
St. Clair: Oh! Listen to me, I will have Queenetta in the show if it kills me. Daija still calls me all the time. She steals her auntie's cell phone to call and ask what I'm wearing. [laughs] She's amazing.
ETonline: So you basically just let Daija improvise all her lines?
St. Clair: Pretty much. Like one time she asked me, "Did you wear that sweater yesterday?" And I was just trying to survive, so that went in the show. Honestly. She just wanted me to mix it up. We'd love to have her on again.
ETonline: I'm so excited that you're back, but, be real with me, doesn't that Marshalls gig mean you could never work again and just swim through your money like Scrooge McDuck?
St. Clair: It's true. My house is filled to the ceiling with gold coins ... and designer handbags that I got for less. I'm telling you what, that is the best job in the world. I hope to be 85-years-old and still telling people not to pay full price for fabulous.
ETonline: Has it led to women approaching you on the street?
St. Clair: Women attack me every day to show me their flats. Like I'm their fairy god mother. I'm the pope of designer fashions for less.