Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Bosephus and the Catfish” | Aired May 27, 2014
At its core, Playing House is a show about family. They may not be a conventional family, but Maggie, Zach, Emma and even Bruce are tied together by Maggie’s soon-to-be-born baby daughter. And even though they’re not all related by blood or even marriage (anymore), they’re definitely acting like a real family would: looking out for each other, making sacrifices for each other and annoying the crap out of each other.
When Zach has a date with a model named Cecilia whom he met online (firstname.lastname@example.org), Maggie and Emma are skeptical. Not wanting to let him get catfished, they do some snooping on his dating profile. They discover that Cecilia’s photos were all taken professionally, and one is even from an Anthropologie catalog. They assume that this means Cecilia is actually a fat old man with an inverted penis, so Maggie and Emma try to convince Zach to cancel his date. Not liking the implication that he couldn’t seriously land a girl as pretty as Cecilia, Zach asks them to butt out.
Meanwhile, Emma discovers that Bruce has been squatting in the storage locker she rented out to to store her furniture and decorations from China. Turns out his mom disowned him after he cheated on Maggie, and now he has nowhere to live. Emma reluctantly agrees to help him find a place to stay, with the stipulation that he call off the mandatory couples’ therapy he fought for in the divorce.
Enter: Business Emma. We know she was a high-powered executive before moving in with Maggie, but Emma shows off her negotiation skills in a scene with Bruce’s mom (Sandy Martin, Napoleon Dynamite). She explains to Bruce’s mom that he may be a piece of garbage, but he’s her piece of garbage, and she can’t just leave him out in the road, smelling up the whole street. And it works! Bruce’s mom agrees to let him live with her again — but in the garage. Bruce immediately whines and the deal is off.
Needing a drink, Emma heads to Rosie’s, and while she’s looking for Maggie at the bar, a creepy dude with a mullet offers to pay for her drink. J.K. It’s not a creepy dude at all — it’s just a creepy Maggie, dressed up as “Bosephus.” She’s in disguise to spy on Zach, whose date is really, really late. She hands Emma a bandana, asking her to play along as her lover, Jandana, as Maggie continues her stakeout.
A man approaches Zach’s table and Maggie freaks out. Unable to control her sisterly impulses, she approaches the table to tell him off. But he’s not a catfish — he’s just asking to borrow ketchup. Zach realizes it’s her immediately, but of course, Cecelia walks in just as Maggie and Emma are standing next to his table. They try to keep up the Bosephus/Jandana charade, but Cecilia isn’t stupid. She obviously knew that Maggie was actually a woman and Emma was actually a man. Oh no, wait, it’s just the misleading shoulders.
The next morning, Emma finds Bruce a real apartment, furnished with the stuff from her storage locker. She pays the first month of rent for him to pay back later — a small price to free Maggie from the horrors of couples’ counseling with that weirdo. Emma’s a problem-solver, and especially when it comes to her best friend, no problem is took big to handle.
Back at Maggie’s house, Zach is just arriving home after a wild night with Cecilia. And by wild, I mean she tried to rob him and then he ended up calling the cops on her. After gulping down some chicken broth, Zach explains to a seriously concerned Maggie that this was actually the best night of his life, and though she’s a little worried by that, Maggie’s accepts it. Because all that matters to her is that her brother is happy. The siblings share a heartfelt moment in which they remember how important family is for them, especially since both of their parents passed away.
“You’re gonna have another little weirdo to look out for soon,” Zach reminds Maggie. The Playing House family is about to get a little bigger, and that baby is gonna have the coolest role models. (Well, except for Bruce.)
• Zach: “Everything on my person is from the Banana Republic Mad Men collection.”
• Emma: “Look at you, Don Draper!”
• Zach: “Actually, I think of myself as a male Joan.”
• “What website did you guys first meet on? OKStupid? Hah, nailed it.” — Emma
• “I will go full Thelma and Louise on your ass! I will shoot you in the penis, sir!” — Emma
• “It’s just lady-porn. Porn for women. Story-driven porn.” — Maggie
• “I think we can all agree that Bruce is a piece of garbage.” — Emma