Unless you read my blog around this time last year, or we're as cool as I am, you may have missed a little show called Party Down. The series takes a hilarious look at a group of Cater/Waiters in LA. The main reason the show was on my radar last year is that its creators included two of my favorite people in Hollywood, Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars, and Paul Rudd, hilarious actor. The show wasn't a huge success ratings wise, but it got enough critic love to get picked up for a second season, which begins tonight at 10/9c on STARZ.
If you're one of the many, many people who don't have Starz you can catch the first two episodes of Season 2 online at Starz Website. And if you missed the first season you can catch up by buying it at Target or Wal-Mart for $15. (Wal-Mart's version contains the first two episodes as well, which is fortuitous because my screener got lost in the mail and it's how I'm bringing you this review) You can also catch up with some episodes on NetFlix Streaming (at least the last time I checked).
To catch you up, Party Down follows a small group of struggling actors, writers, entrepreneurs, etc as they hold down a day job as they follow their dreams. Each episode is set during one of their catering jobs, which range from hilarious to hilariously uncomfortable. Last season the crew consisted of Ron Donald (Veronica Mars' Ken Marino), the team leader who dreams of quitting to start his own Soup'er Crackers restaurant, Kyle Bradway (Veronica Mars' Ryan Hanson) a struggling young actor, Roman DeBeers (Freaks & Geeks' Martin Starr) a struggling "hard" sci-fi writer, Casey Klein (True Blood's beautiful Lizzy Caplan) a struggling comedian, Constance Carmell (Glee's hilarious Jane Lynch) an actress, and Henry Pollard (Step Brother's Adam Scott). Henry returns to Party Down after his dreams of being an actor come crashing down after he finds success in a series of ads, which everyone remembers for one line "Are we having Fun yet?" Last season ended with Casey and Henry ending their short romance as she went off to perform comedy on a cruise ship and Ron quitting to finally start Soup'er Crackers.
This season's premiere, Jackal Onnasis Backstage Party, picks up 8 months later, with Henry the new team leader. He's clearly had a tough time getting his team, which consists of Kyle, Roman, and Megan Mullally's Lydia Dunfree, motivated to take the job seriously. After an on the job firing he has to call his boss to send a replacement. That replacement just happens to be ex-girlfriend, Casey, who's back after her time on the cruise ship. To say it's awkward would be an understatement.
Just as last season Kyle and Roman are constantly bickering, with Kyle always managing to get the girls, while Roman always manages to completely screw up any chance he has with the ladies. This episode is no different, even though Roman has an amazing opportunity, from a situation I won't spoil.
Meanwhile Megan Mullally's Lydia, the stage mother of a "triple threat", comes across as weird and clearly someone knows no bounds when it comes to personal space and privacy. She's funny in the role, but she doesn't replace Jane Lynch, who left the show to do Glee. And for those fans worried about Ron Donald, don't worry he's still around, spending this episode trying to impress a girl by getting her backstage to meet guest star Jimmi Simpson's Jackal Onassis.
I haven't had a chance to see the next few episodes, mainly because FedEx managed to screw up the delivery of my screener. But I've heard that they are just as good as last season's episodes. And from what I hear they continue Party Down's trend of casting amazing guest stars. Tonight's episode wasn't my favorite, but it was nice to see the show come back.
Next Week: 'Precious Lights Pre-School Auction' featuring the return of J.K. Simmons' Leonard Stiltskin and Joey Lauren Adams' Diandra Stiltskin, from last season's 6th episode.
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