Review of Party Down season 3: New cast, still the same

In 2009, party feels like lightning in a bottle: a fusion comedy starring some of the industry’s most famous figures, created by Veronica Mars genius Rob Thomas (no, not that Rob Thomas), along with John Enbom, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd (yes, That Paul Rudd). The two-season show on Starz, tells the story of a group of Los Angeles caterers, budding, bitter creators struggling to make ends meet in a town that hates them. You already haveParks and Recreation Adam Scott, with a post-Bad girls Lizzy Caplan, along with pre-Silicon Valley Martin Starr and QueenVeronica Mars Ryan Hansen, not to mention a pre-delighted Jane Lynch and the Eternal Genius (and former member of Government) Ken Marino.

party gained a large following, but ended its run early due to its talent being attracted elsewhere. I remember it being what I felt like an ingenious discovery in the early days of streaming: me and my college housemates had never seen a sitcom that suited a sense of humor. Our silly humor is like that. It also helps party not too plot-driven – like sitcoms of the day, it’s mostly about vibes and workplaces, each focusing on a different event. We rarely see the crew of Party Down without a job, denying their existence outside of their mundane work. This is the worry of many in the service industry: often degraded and often underpaid, these workers fear that their customers — rude, crazy, demanding customers — would never consider them anything more than that. partyTheir ragtag group of caterers are delusional in their own right, but never crazier than any of the people they work for.

The show is now back with a limited six-episode run on Starz after years of fan-led campaigning. This is often a reaction to Thomas’s work, because Veronica Mars finally turned itself into a fan-funded movie a few years after its initial release (and then its own Hulu revival). In many ways, it seems like the perfect time for a show like party return; After all, who has faced the worst of society’s chatter or worse conditions over the past few years than food service workers? But the new one party episodes, perhaps to their detriment, just want to deal with the COVID of it all point. The first new episode serves as the series’ prologue, set in March 2020 and filled with altruism “2020 will be my year”. If only they knew! But subsequent episodes wind through the pandemic almost entirely.

Ron Donald (Ken Marino) stands in front of a Party Down truck looking disheveled in shorts.  Logo with penis spray painted on it

Image: Star

Lydia Dunfree (Megan Mullally), Constance Carmell (Jane Lynch), Ron Donald (Ken Marino) standing and looking shocked at something offscreen in a still scene from Party Down season 3 episode 1

Image: Star

Since we last saw them, Marino’s Ron is building out its Party Down catering service, with Roman (Starr) being one of the few employees left under his tenure. Henry (Scott) is now a high school teacher, married to an off-screen woman and has several off-screen children. He suffered classic pain, for giving up on his acting dreams and also because he always has been. Caplan’s Casey doesn’t return in these new episodes, though she’s never far from Henry’s mind: a member of SNL and a tabloid fixture, we hear about her all the time on news. Lydia (Lynch) and Constance (Megan Mullally) are back, the former newly married to a wealthy older man and the latter still overly focused on their daughter Escapade’s career. The premiere of the season is almost an indie experience, a prologue, so to speak, as the group reunites to celebrate Kyle (Hansen), who has just been cast as “Nitromancer” in a movie Some new big superhero is expected to make a splash. .

There’s always something going wrong at one point party party: depressed about his impending popularity, a member of Kyle’s former band, Karma Rocket, has leaked footage of Kyle singing their song “My Struggle,” which is rife with allusions. unintentionally to the Holocaust. This would be a funny and surprising revelation, if only longtime fans didn’t remember that “My Struggle” was such a big part of the season’s first episode. Kyle’s insistence that it was all a coincidence — that the references to “being put on a train” and “being assigned a number” were about Hollywood — is amusing, if not familiar. . With Kyle once again working at Party Down, soon followed by Henry, the group is now back to their old catering contract, as if nothing had changed.

In fact, many new episodes of party feel familiar, the program content plays hits from decades ago since the first play. The team caters to a quirky neo-conservative event in the third episode, “First Annual PI2A Symposium,” a throwback to the first season’s “University of California Conservative League caucus.” . There’s an extended mushroom ride in the fourth episode, “KSGY-95 Winner’s Luau,” which is reminiscent of the first season’s “Sin Say Shun Awards Party.” The pervasive familiarity of these new episodes is both a feature and a bug. His best, party spins its wheel: The whole joke is that these people will never go anywhere or do anything, and their striving is something to be ridiculed. Their worries – not tasty enough, not hot enough, incompetent to run a Soup’r Crackers – over and over again just for the sake of their customers. It is dark, frustrating, and cruelly funny. But the new episodes focus less on the monotony of the work, too crammed with loosely coupled episodes and half-hearted attempts to mock the state of Hollywood today. Things have changed, but they haven’t changed either; More similar does not necessarily imply sharper commentary.

Sackson (Tyrel Jackson Williams) standing in the kitchen

Image: Star

    Evie (Jennifer Garner) is standing and pointing at Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) during a scene from Party Down season 3

Image: Star

In part, that’s due to some of the new characters introduced by the show: Sackson (Tyrel Jackson Williams) and Lucy (Zoë Chao) are newly hired Party Down employees, the former being “content creators” ” and the latter is modern cuisine. While Williams is undeniably energetic and humorous, party there’s not much to say about the fact that joining TikTok is a job other than “That’s crazy isn’t it?” and “Aren’t the dances too stupid?” There is a tacit acceptance that for some people, posting is labor, with less investigation than that (including the often mentioned but rarely discussed fact that Roman is now a YouTuber, apparently. clear). Lucy, similarly, feels a note and observes, a foodie looking for an audience that will appreciate her avant-garde, abominable dishes. Each episode, she conjures up a new dish, only to get frustrated when Ron scolds her for giving up cakes or whatever snack is required of them.

Both Williams and Chao bring cheery energy to the group and it’s good to see the show trying to diversify its very white cast, but it’s clear that the screenwriters aren’t quite sure how to incorporate it. them with the cast back. party can’t decide if being a full-time content creator is worthwhile work, and can’t determine if a person of food service integrity can become a provider what the food is like (although there are a lot of famous personal chefs on TikTok doing great in Los Angeles, according to my feed). Jokes in party It’s less about the nature of the work and more about the ambition that drives it, but it’s hard to see why Sackson or Lucy would end up with a gig they feel isn’t right for them.

The other key addition to the show is Evie (Jennifer Garner), a well-known producer interested in Henry. party didn’t want Garner to take on the role of Caplan, but she’s a difficult person to fit into the cast. Garner is a game geek and an eager performer — I never go crazy when she shows up — but it’s an odd matchup with the always sarcastic Scott. It’s hard to know where their plot will go after only watching five of the first six episodes and knowing partyits brutal tone, it may not be good anywhere. But her presence is proof that the series is intended to comment on Hollywood, the industry’s ruthless, arbitrary indifference, rather than its food service workers. Not to mention, the dynamic between Evie and Henry is largely, unfortunately, rather boring.

The program’s skip from March 2020 to some point in late summer or early fall 2021 largely ignores the hardest parts of the pandemic for workers, noting only that Ron overcame it, suffered from COVID multiple times, his various side effects pop up when comically effective (and in Marino’s hands, a lot). party never a serious commentary on Hollywood or the service industry, but its return is so steeped in the injustice and inequality of a Hollywood that has always been the same that it forgets an industry that has completely dissolved. broken in the past few years. The fact that the new episodes feel so much like the old ones isn’t disappointing as we look to the show for bitterness, but it doesn’t tell us anything about an industry. omission is on display purely for its savagery since the show first aired. If comedy in general “hits differently” in a post-pandemic world, why rely on such familiar rhythms?

In a crowded scene of reboots and revivals, the new party episodes are neither the worst of the worst nor the best of the best. This is still one of the best casts of all time, full of actors who haven’t lost their edge. Marino, in particular, is a welcome presence on the television scene, one of the most adept, euphoric and original comedians of a generation. Ron Donald, too, is an all-time creation. I could watch him scream forever, and part of what I realized watching this latest season is that he probably will. These new episodes will please those who missed out on the series’ undeniable entertainment. It’s the secret to party show and Party Down the company: This job has always been assumed to be a side job for these characters, who are eager to move on to something else. That these characters are still stuck in a revival, polished and polished, cheap and miserable, like the stuff in the original. party will be satisfied with the skewers. Around the world party it seems as bleak and unforgiving as it did decades ago is not their fault; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result.

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