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|Index||23 reviews in total|
"Party Down" is pervasively bleak - and even depressing at times - but
it is also riotously funny. In a sense, it's the perfect show for our
troubled times - at the height of an economic recession, with all these
disasters occurring over the past few years, never has apathy and
pessimism seemed so natural. As such, the show really taps into a
broken-down, bitter attitude, using the LA wasteland as its source of
inspiration...but it remains strangely optimistic because of the
relationships between its cast members, whose characters struggle with
their awful catering job but, at the end of the day, stick by each
other. There's a sense of family amongst these broken-down rejects, and
that's why we love watching their weekly miseries.
Adam Scott (a seriously underrated actor) is the "straight man" for the show - he enters season one as Henry, a new employee of Party Down Catering. He's a failed actor out of Hollywood who has finally accepted that he's too old and past his prime to ever achieve his dreams of becoming a star, so he has resorted to bartending for the company. Scott is wonderful at playing apathetic, and gives some of the best facial expression reactions I've seen in comedy. I'm used to seeing him as the meaner or wackier characters in titles like "Step Brothers" or "Eastbound and Down," but here he plays a very empathetic and human character, and is really the heart of the show.
Lizzy Caplan is the other relatively normal character in the show. She plays Casey, a stand-up comic treading water. As the season progresses, she becomes romantically involved with Henry, who is essentially her (and our) anchor amidst all the other crazy and eccentric people they encounter.
Ron Donald (Ken Marino) is the manager for Party Down, but the show avoids giving us the clichéd mean boss: he is painfully nice and sincere, with a perfectly goofy Brendan Fraser-style haircut that looks like someone just evened off the top rather lazily. Toward the end of season one he has a bit of a relapse with liquor and by season two his hair has grown out and he's smoking pot and drinking all day and lamenting his failed love life.
The rest of the cast consists of geeky Roman (Martin Starr), an aspiring elitist sci-fi writer whose writing actually rather sucks; Kyle (Ryan Hansen), a vain pretty-boy with another ridiculous haircut; and Constance (Jane Lynch), who exited season one to join the cast of "Glee" and was replaced in S2 by Lydia, a character played by Megan Mullally, who, it must be said, actually did a pretty good job filling in the void.
News spread yesterday that "Party Down" was canceled after the season two finale because it barely nabbed 700,000 viewers. Starz mishandled this show from day one, from not securing actors' contracts correctly (Adam Scott, unsure of whether the show would be renewed months ago, joined "Parks and Recreation" instead, and Ryan Hansen was also rumored to be moving on) to not really advertising it very much -- and then relying solely on viewing numbers instead of Netflix streams or illegal downloads. (Because they were dumb enough to NOT provide legal downloads on iTunes, which probably would have worked really well for them.) I've heard a lot of positive word-of-mouth lately, with everyone I talk to streaming it on Netflix's website. I don't know a single person who even subscribes to Starz. I'd say 700k views for a season finale on a premium channel that no one watches is pretty good! But I'm actually kinda glad that they went out on a good note rather than running the show into the ground. They provided two very consistent seasons, and with Adam Scott's definite departure from the show, it really just wouldn't have been the same. Hopefully the show will pick up some more word-of-mouth and become a cult hit on DVD, and Starz will do some kind of special a couple years down the road (like Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant did with the British "Office") - then the full cast could return. Even though I'm glad the show didn't outstay its welcome, I liked these characters enough to be interested in where they'd be at in a few years.
"Party Down" is destined to be one of those titles you'll see on critics' "canceled-too-soon" lists over the next few years, right up there with "Arrested Development" and "Freaks and Geeks." It was a pleasure to watch every week, oddly reassuring in its pessimism, finding humour in the strengths of likable and empathetic characters, even when they were suffering through some pretty rough times. I feel like much truly great comedy finds the truths in common human weakness, causing us to laugh at misfortunes that we can relate to, and "Party Down" excelled at doing so.
This show is so great already and has even more potential. The first episode was just OK but man after that each episode keeps getting better and better. The show is about a group of caterers that go to their events but always end up being sidetracked by themselves. Every character has a unique personality and they all mesh perfectly. I wouldn't have thought that Starz could get so many actors and actresses that are hilarious but they managed to nab 3 actors from the Apatow crew (needless to say they are funny) and the Mean Girls lesbian and the dude from Wet Hot American Summer. If you have Starz this is a must watch show.. Premium Channels are saving comedy one show at a time.
Where to even begin. I stumbled upon this when browsing New TV Comedies
on Watch Instantly from Netflix and decided to give it a shot. And I am
very glad I did. I have burned through all my TV Comedies forty times
over. The Office, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 30 Rock, Arrested
Development, and all of those. This one easily fights for my number one
spot of favorite TV Sitcoms. The show doesn't try any quirky gimmicks
(which drove me quickly away from watching too much 30 Rock), or
anything over the top. The film is based on a Motley Crew of Caterer's
of has-beens or aspiring actors who do the dry waiting job while they
wait for their big break.
Every character is hilarious and none are annoying. Granted, some will have their episodes where they are the heel, but the writers have a great punishment regiment in each episode which makes you feel like you weren't harassed the entire episode by horrible writing just to create an annoying personality.
The show has enough story to sync them all together and to keep you interested in the chronological history of everything, but not so much that it becomes a drama or a sinking point. The comedy is purely adult with minimal if any at all slapstick. It's namely realistic and witty humors launched from all sides with realistic and sideshow situations.
Over all this show is great for those like me who have exhausted all the better comedy shows out there and need something new and unique. I have never seen a show like this one or sell it like this.
I thought this show was GREAT! The reason I found it in the first place
was because Veronica Mars ended and so I wanted more of Rob Thomas.
Well, turns out there is quite the slew of people working on this show,
and the product is wonderful (to me, of course). I am a huge Veronica
Mars fan, and so it was neat to see various cast members guest star on
all the different episodes. I thought it was humorous and well-written.
The pilot episode doesn't quite grab you, but once I got in to a couple
episodes, I quickly appreciated the first ones.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a light, funny show. I can't wait for season two (if there is one). It definitely leaves you wanting more.
After the guilty (far too old to be it's intended audience) pleasure of
Veronica Mars I stumbled across this series trying to find something
else by Rob Thomas ...and what a gem! The contrast between Ron(KEN
MARINO)'s touchingly earnest efforts, while his team of caterer's
resent every minute of a temporary, crappy job is pitch perfect.
Also, eccentric clients (every episode is at different gig) provide some great guest cameos (Steven Weber's is my current favourite). The cringe-worthy situations that develop and basis of characters 'on the edge' of show-business remind me of Ricky Gervais's 'Extras' - but this is FAR funnier. The weakest element so far is the romance but let's see what happens with it. I just ordered the DVD of series 1 too. Bravo all involved!
Party Down is an excellent and original new show. To best describe the show I would say it would be like having Seth Rogen and Jud Apatow guest directing an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Ken Marino is excellent in Party Down as well. He plays the roll of Ron Donald perfectly and is a highly underrated comedic force. This show is a breath of fresh air to the mundane world that is comedy on television. It also features many of the actors from Veronica Mars, including Kristen Bell herself. If you are expecting a second Veronica Mars though than this show is not for you. All in all though it is an excellent comedy that should keep the laughs coming for as long as it is running.
I don't have Starz, and didn't even know this existed until I heard
about it on a podcast.
This show is smart and funny, and not at all pretentious. It's also kind of human, in a time when that's becoming rare.
A lot of comedy now seems to be aimed at getting the audience to enjoy it when someone is debased. And most of what's left over is either fairly raw schtick. And there's super sappy, syrupy stuff.
The premise of this show is that people who work for this crummy cater waiter company are entitled to their dignity. It deals with inequality and unfairness unflinchingly, but also with good humor. Mostly it takes the position that unfairness is kind of absurd, and because it's absurd it can be mined for humor.
I know this review doesn't make it sound funny, or fun. But that's because I'm not really funny, and I'm not great at conveying humor in my descriptions.
It really is very good.
Party Down is / was amazing.
Stars Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan (swoon), Martin Starr and other Apatow / Veronica Mars / The State fixtures.
F*cking hilarious and incredibly good--on par with the British Office--and sorely overlooked because it was produced by Starz, which no one will ever subscribe to.
The silver lining: it's streaming on Netflix. Highest possible recommendation.
(And because this interface forces reviewers to write ten lines of text, I'll parenthetically add, as an appetizer: at some point during the series, Steve Guttenberg will get naked in a hot tub, after having discussed German Expressionism.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must admit, I was a little reluctant to watch Party Down after the
mixed reviews I've been seeing on the Internet. How wrong was I. Season
one is way better than most of the current comedy shows on TVs. Party
Down is about a group of wannabe-Hollywood-artists whose careers didn't
go as well as they hoped, so they've started to work in the titular
catering company, and every episode is set at a different party, like
for example a Sweet 16 of a spoiled girl or Senior Singles seminar.
The cast of the show is awesome. From the Veronica Mars alums (Ken Marino, Ryan Hansen) to other familiar faces (Martin Starr-"Freaks and Geeks" and Lizzy Caplan-"Cloverfield") etc. everyone fits in they're role perfectly and delivers the jokes flawlessly. Special praise in my opinion goes to Adam Scott, who plays Henry, and Jane Lynch, who plays Constance. Henry's recognizability due to the fact that he played in a beer commercial and the great catch-phrase that came along with it are the cause of many laughs throughout the season. Jane Lynch on the other hand is great as an oddball in the group, the arguments that she has with the groups "hardcore sci-fi veteran" Roman are also very hilarious. But those characters are not the only ones who bring laughter to the viewer, the guest stars are also great, from the foul-mouthed JK Simmons, whose basically JJ Jameson with safety off, to Veronica Mars herself- Kristen Bell as an strict catering team leader, they make every episode memorable.
The writing is also top-notch, dialogues are awesome and the situations that the main characters find themselves in every episode, which to say always end in failure, are clever and hilarious. The only downside to this show that I could find is the mandatory in these types of shows (see Jim and Pam, Ross and Rachel, JD and Elliot) "will they or won't they" storyline with two of the main characters- played by Scott and Caplan. The banters between the two are great, but in the end, the relationship feels kind of forced and unneeded. Either way, Party Down is a great show, that I recommend to anyone who likes a good laugh once in a while. It does a pretty good job of filling the void left by cancellations of Veronica Mars and Arrested Development, though if I might say, longer seasons wouldn't hurt.
Party Down is a refreshing voice that has recently been non-existent in the television community. It's a great grasp on what young people today conceive as hilarious and for those that aren't capable of enjoying this satire on Hollywood, they are mistaken. Party Down gives the viewer the perspective from a down and out actor struggling for acceptance and satisfaction from an industry that only values profit. While also embracing the fact that happiness isn't measured by a dollar sign. Henry's struggle for the equilibrium in his professional career as well as his love life transcend the screen. For all the shows from premium channels, this show has a lovable cast that the viewer ship can relate to; Which is more than I can say about other television programs.
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