Courtney Boches

Designer | Director | Teacher | Actor


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Why PLAYING HOUSE Speaks To My Soul

Posted by cboches on December 31, 2014 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (5)

If y'all aren't familiar with the USA Network sitcom PLAYING HOUSE, please remedy this right now.

Go here:  Learn about BFFs Maggie and Emma and then report back to me.

Right now.

I'll wait.

Great, thanks.  Production has just started on Season 2 and I need to take a sec to explain how this show is everything that I've been dreaming of since I was but a wee tot imitating Lucille Ball's facial expressions in the bathroom mirror.

I've always been a huge fan of funny ladies.  I always sensed that I was vaguely amusing, but it wasn't until I saw all of these amazing broads on my television that I began to really appreciate that this was a thing that people did in life.  There has always been something that drew me to view these women as something of an anomaly, even before I understood that the Boys Club was real and before everyone jumped on this new wave of feminism.

Lucille Ball was everything to me as a child.  She was glamorous and had great clothes and was smart and well-rehearsed and made the best faces I'd ever seen.  Then I discovered Carol Burnett.  And Madeline Kahn.  And Natalie Schafer (Lovey Howell was the funniest person on that island and don't you dare tell me otherwise).  The Mullally.  Tina and Amy.  These are my people.

I was the only six year old at the party who could do an Eva Gabor or Jackee Harry impression.  I only played loud comedic best friends or cranky old ladies in musicals because who wants to be an ingenue anyway?  I worked on my timing.  I made obnoxious faces.  I learned the rule of three.  And then I began to write.


Surprisingly, my writing ended up being mostly heartwarming with a side of funny (and some clever zingers), but truth be told, that's really the way I like it.  Without a story underneath all the mugging and the pratfalls and the clever quips, there's nothing.

Which brings me to PLAYING HOUSE.  Jessica and Lennon have created a show that exemplifies everything I love about comedy - funny ladies, smart and quick writing, and a warm gooey heart at its center.  (Also Jane Kaczmarek, who I've loved since I was a lowly intern in the writers' office at MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, as a recurring character whose nom de plume is Phylicia Rashad - amazing).

I discovered Maggie and Emma quite by accident from an internet review.  It was a week after PLAYING HOUSE had premiered last April.  It was also while I was writing a play in which my two main characters were named Maggie and Emma.  (They still are - I can't rename them, as hard as I've tried).

This is but one of MANY weird-ass coincidences that pop up in my life ALL THE TIME.  I'm not trying to claim any sort of psychic or mediumship skills, but things that end up being important in my life always present themselves initially in a creepy coincidental way and this was one of them.

Anyway.  I paused in trying to complete my scene for the next day's playwriting class to read up on this new television show, which I could tell from the get go would be one that I would enjoy thoroughly.  And not just because the similarities were staggering.

Their Maggie and Emma are BFFs.
My Maggie and Emma are BFFs.

Their Maggie is pregnant.
My Maggie is pregnant.

Their Emma shows up and is thrown into this baby situation.
My Emma shows up and is thrown into this baby situation.

Their Maggie is called "Magpie" by her brother.
My Maggie is called "Magpie" by her sassy gay friend.

This is the first promo photo I saw from the show:

The scene I was writing when I discovered this photo was a scene where Emma, Maggie, and belly are sitting around stuffing their faces with all the take-out food while watching THE GHOST INSIDE MY CHILD.


In my play Maggie does not have a cheating husband and the two ladies are of drastically different ages, which leads to some co-dependent and important mother-daughter type relationship stuff, but that's another story.  And it is.  My play is a totally different story, but seeing these similarities was at first creepy, but then immensely reinvigorating.

I fell in love and I fell hard, you guys.  The writing was crisp and witty and sounded like what I produced in my wildest dreams.  It was filled with references and slang and pop culture jokes, things that populated the pages of my play until I felt like I was overdoing it.  But Jess and Len reassured me that I was not.  I felt like my voice was being head on television and it was exhilarating.  After spending years writing TV specs and interning and changing careers and applying to writers' workshops and getting rejected (although ... top 5% at Warner Brothers - boom), I was reaffirmed that my voice was not "wrong."  And that others share it.

It's a female voice.  One of building each other up.  One of friendship and inappropriate closeness and jokes about old sitcoms and the ladies that have come before us.  It's a voice of love and sassiness and things that are too ridiculous to be true, but are anyway.  

(Real Life Mom Quote: "Yikes, it sounds like you wrote this show.")

So, let's add Jess and Len to my list of amazing funny women who are, have ya heard, doing it for themselves.  And are making us laugh and touching our hearts at the same time.  Thanks, ladies.  <3

PS:  Like, if you guys need PAs or costume assistants or general getters of tea (I don't know anything about coffee), I'm applying to shows and I have no shame.  :)


Posted by cboches on January 3, 2013 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)


Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner on Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

My church.  

Also, my favorite Hollywood bromance.