Party Down: Season 1
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Party Down is a Starz original series about a group of struggling dreamers who are stuck working for tips while waiting for their big break. As employees of the L.A. catering company “Party Down,” these misfits mingle with guests at everything from sweet sixteen parties to the most lavish Hollywood soirees. Follow these engaging wannabes as they wait on guests while waiting on something better to come along.
Stills from Party Down: Season 1 (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are a VERONICA MARS fan, the show is ceaselessly fascinating. The show focuses on a group of Hollywood wannabes and wash outs who work for Party Down Caterers. The manager is played by Ken Marino, who was memorable on VERONICA MARS as shady private eye Vinnie Van Lowe. One of his employees is played by Ryan Hansen, who was the magnificently lame Dick Casablancas. Adam Scott and Jane Lynch, who play two other Party Down caterers, had guest roles on VM. And virtually the entire rest of the cast of VM make guest appearances, from Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars) to Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls) to Alona Tal (Meg Manning) and many, many others, including Veronica Mars (who has a wonderful turn as the sadistic head of a rival catering company). The show has been renewed for a second season and I'm pretty confident that many, many others from Neptune will put in appearances in the future. None of this is too surprising. One of the co-creators of PARTY DOWN is VERONICA MARS creator Rob Thomas and two writers from that series, John Enbom and Dan Etheridge, also served as co-creators. The final co-creator, Paul Rudd, guest starred. As I said, if you are a fan of VERONICA MARS, you will get a blast at seeing all the actors you have loved from the earlier series.
PARTY DOWN is the flipside of ENTOURAGE. If the latter is about largely undeserving people basking in the glory of another's success, this is about people striving for their own success and failing abysmally. Except for Ron, the manager who dreams of having his own fast food franchise, the Party Down employees are all working on the fringe of the film and television industry. Constance (Jane Lynch) is an aging "B" movie queen, star of such classics as DINGLEBERRIES. Roman (FREAKS AND GEEKS's Martin Short) is an aspiring Sci-fi script writer (one of the season's highlights is Roman cornering George Takei in a bathroom and peppering him with questions about the Mind Meld, which Takei keeps trying to explain was not his thing). Kyle and Casey (the latter played by Lizzie Caplan, seen earlier this season as Jason Stackhouse's vampire draining girlfriend on TRUE BLOOD) are both still working the dream, always waiting to hear back from their agents and dreaming of a big break. But Henry (played by Adam Scott), the show's emotional center, has given up. His hard work paid off in only one real "success," a beer commercial in which he uttered the tagline: "Is anybody having fun yet?" Deeply ironical, given the dead end job everyone is working. It is a great cast and they work wonderfully with one another. Late in the season, however, the incredibly funny Jane Lynch leaves the show. I haven't read why, but my guess is that it was so that she could work on the pilot of the new FOX series GLEE. I don't know if that means she won't be back or to what degree she will be involved with the show in the future. Luckily, her replacement was the equally funny Jennifer Coolidge. (Interestingly, Lynch and Coolidge were paired - in more way than one - in BEST IN SHOW, as the trainer and owner respectively of a full size poodle.)
Every episode of the show takes place at a catered event. There are no scenes outside of the workplace. We see them at a couple of weddings, at a birthday party, at a meeting of Young Republicans, at a party to celebrate someone who might be a Russian mobster getting off on a murder charge, a porn awards ceremony, and other wonderful affairs. Hilarity ensues. My favorite moment might have been when a Russian gangster goes up to Jane Lynch and recounts poetically, passionately, and almost reverentially a scene from one of her movies. And she, touched, replies, "You've seen DINGLEBERRIES?!" Not exactly a title you'd assume could provoke any such response.
I love the relationships that develop among the characters. Ron's almost sad attempt each week to get his workers to perform their jobs with some degree of professionalism. The way that Kyle and Roman continuously dig at one another. Constance's consistently over familiarity with the party guests. Henry and Casey's romance-in-all-but-name and Henry's chagrin when people recognize him from his beer commercial and his persistent reluctance (except on one occasion when he feels it might save his life) to say his famous beer commercial line.
I suspect that this is a show that most people will get to know via DVD, since not everyone manage to get Starz. Do yourself a favor and check this out.
All of the waiters are (of course) dreaming of making it big in the entertainment industry. The one exception is their manager, who dreams of one day operating a franchise called Super Crackers (or Soup-OR-Crackers... not sure which). The actors hail from great shows like Freaks and Geeks, The State, and every awesome movie made in the past 15 years (I'm looking at you, Jane Lynch), and are pitch-perfect in every episode. I can't wait for Season 2!