Review: Party Down 1×1

Please get the party started. Please

Party Down

In the US: Friday, 10.30pm ET/PT, Starz

This ‘comedy’ has been sitting, waiting for ages to be made. So long has it been waiting to be made, that the original star Paul Rudd has become famous – too famous to appear in it any more – so now he’s exec producer.

Which is a shame, because at the moment, here’s the tally on the show:

Good things: Lizzy Caplan
Bad things: Everything else

They could have done with two good things.

“Party Down” follows a Los Angeles catering team – a sextet of Hollywood wannabes stuck working for tips while hoping for their “big break.” Each episode of this half-hour comedy finds the hapless catering team working a new event – – and inevitably getting tangled up with the colorful guests and their absurd lives.

Starz has tapped Ken Marino (“Veronica Mars,” Role Models), Adam Scott (“Tell Me You Love Me,” Step Brothers), Jane Lynch (Role Models, The 40 Year Old Virgin), Martin Starr (Knocked Up, “Freaks and Geeks), Ryan Hansen (“Veronica Mars,” Friday the 13th 2009) and Lizzy Caplan (“True Blood,” Cloverfield) to star in the project from creator Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars,” “Cupid”). The show will air in March as a companion to the returning comedy series “Head Case,” starring Alexandra Wentworth.

The series is created and executive produced by Rob Thomas, along with John Enbom, Paul Rudd and Dan Etheridge. Enbom also serves as show runner. Co-executive producers are Jennifer Gwartz and Danielle Stokdyk. Jennifer Dugan will produce the series. William J. Hamm, executive vice president, originals productions, Starz Media, will oversee production.

Is it any good?
No. In fact, I could probably sue them for describing this as a comedy. It really is “one slight snort of laughter every half hour” comedy at its Starz finest.

The episode – which feels like improv but the kind of improv you leave on the cutting room floor from three hours’ of footage once you’ve found the good stuff that works – is yet another show that’s about losers losing for a reason: namely, they’re rubbish and they don’t realise it, yet we – because obviously we’re not losers, oh no – know they are and why they are and are supposed to laugh heartily at them as they put each other down for being losing losers.

Ha. Do I have another one? Oh yes. Ha.

But that’s only because I didn’t use them up during the show.

The characters aren’t enjoyable, the performances vary from the exceedingly obvious and poor to “wasted on this show”. The scripts are cringe comedy at its least funny. The only parts of the episode that are good are the bits with Lizzy Caplan in them, because she’s great, and the bits where they stop trying to be funny and just give you a slightly depressing look at some people who haven’t achieved their dreams and probably never will. Actually, if they’d described it as a tragedy with comedic moments, it might have been bearable.

So avoid it. Just do. Except if you’re a Kristen Bell fan because she’s popping up in an episode since Rob Thomas is one of the producers.

Here’s a trailer, the absolute best two clips from the show I could find, followed by the whole bastard episode. Yes, the whole thing.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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