A couple of years a show that was near and dear to my heart was placed on the chopping block and didn't make it off. This was one of the most well written, smartly funny, mysterious, and just all around best shows on television at the time and to see it canceled was heart-breaking. That show was of course, Veronica Mars. The show introduced me to the greatness of Rob Thomas (No relation) and of course the beauty of Kristin Bell, a crush that remains to this day. But tonight the great Rob Thomas returns to television with another fast paced, hilarious show: Starz' "Party Down."
The show centers on a catering team, called Party Down, that’s based in Los Angeles, which means most of them, are of course struggling actors. And when you put that many self-conscious, self-centered people together hilarity is almost guaranteed. The show is a whose-who of the funniest, if not so well known, actors of our time. Ken Marino (Veronica Mars, The State), as Ron, the leader, Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks, Adventureland) as Roman, the DJ/ resident film geek, Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield, Tru Blood) is Casey, the server whose marriage is falling apart, Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) is Kyle, the up-&-coming actor/model, Jane Lynch (Role Models) is Constance, the one whose been through it all, and Adam Scott (Step-Brothers) is Henry, the “prodigal-bartender” who returns to Party Down after his promising acting career falls apart.
Each episode focuses on one job be it a party for a Homeowners Association or a septuagenarian single mixer. And the show, while scripted, feels improvised, which makes it feel more realistic. I’ve been sick for the last two weeks, so unfortunately I’ve only had a chance to watch the first of the two episodes I was sent. But the pilot is hilarious.
In the first episode we are introduced to everyone at the aforementioned Homeowners Association party. We are introduced to Henry as he shows up for his first gig with PD in several years. And it’s soon clear that he’s not a fan of Ron, who is oblivious to his own racist comments and has surprisingly humble dreams. We quickly learn that Casey is a comedian whose husband wants her to give up on her dream and move away from California. Meanwhile Constance is giving Kyle pointers on how to score a role on ‘Pacific Palisades’ which is clearly a spoof of The O.C.
And the great thing about the episode, and hopefully the series, it that it focuses on the issues of the people they are serving almost as much as the servers themselves. In this episode we get to see the great Enrico Colantoni (Mr. Mars on Veronica Mars) have a mid-life crisis during his wife’s party. Meanwhile his teenage daughter is hooking up with Kyle, whose clearly too old for her. And everyone is trying to figure out how they know Henry.
I really think Thomas, along with fellow creators Paul Rudd, John Enbom, & Dan Ethridge, have a great show on their hands. But be warned, it’s not for the kids, at all! It’s on Starz where there can be all kinds of adult language and situations and they use it to their advantage. But if you don’t mind those things, tune in tonight for the premiere, it’ll have you in stiches.