Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Party Down

Well this appreciation entry has been long delayed, for various reasons. I just get distracted, and really, to do this how I'd like, I'd like to have unlimited amount of time at my disposal. Well, I of course don't, or don't discipline myself enough in order to.

Blah Blah.

So, this show I 1st heard about a couple of years ago. I'm not sure how long after my initial Freaks & Geeks craze it was, but I remember seeing Martin Starr was in it and it was written by Rob Thomas who I loved his work on Veronica Mars namely.

Actually, come to think of it, it was sometime in the Spring of 2009, because I remember finding out about 3 of Rob Thomas's shows:

-the failed remake of Cupid (which actually like the original which I still haven't seen, but know enough about, was actually pretty good).
-Good Behavior which had Gary Cole, Jeffrey Tambor and a lot of other good cast. It kinda sorta became Scoundrels, which I should have more on in another entry hopefully soon, since I'm getting into that show finally.
-Some involvement with and then pulling away from I believe the Melrose Place reboot.

And then this show, Party Down. However, it was on the Starz network, and so I kind of figured I'd never see it, or it might be awhile at least.

Well, thanks to some online resources, I finally got around to seeing it this past May. A show about a group of people in the Hollywood area, struggling to get by until they get their big breaks, that run a catering business.

And man, it was probably as good, if not better than I expected. I watched the whole 1st season in about 4.5 hours 1 night. And then most of the 2nd season on a weekly basis in June.

The cast I really dug:
-Adam Scott (Henry): funny, cool, calm collected, and not annoying like his character in Step Brothers. I could easily say I became an Adam Scott fan thanks to his work on this show.

-Lizzy Caplan (Casey): She's cute, hot, smart all at the same time. Not to mention she's jewish? lol. I totally loved her on True Blood during the 1st season. The V-hippie thing, elevated her to another level of at least allure. But I also was reminded soon after that she was on The Class a good 1-season sitcom on CBS (which The Big Bang Theory replaced ironically). She also even appeared on Freaks and Geeks just briefly in a couple of episodes. But on this show, she went to my A-List Hollywood index on rateyourmusic. I pretty much am interested in anything she's in now. And this show, probably is the best thing I've seen her do.

-Ryan Hansen (Kyle): He was at times funny, and other times kind of annoying on Veronica, but I actually grew to like his work a lot on this show. He had a light, happy-go-lucky personality. And it was really entertaining to watch him and Martin Starr interact and compete. He's no longer the annoying Dick character so much. Like Adam Scott, I think I appreciate his work a lot more now.

-Jane Lynch (Constance): While I've seen her in a dozen or more things, including many regular tv show guest spots, she finally had a starring gig here. And with the Starz network liberties, she was as funny as she's ever been. There's one scene in 1 of the episodes where she kind of invites herself into Ryan Hansen's after-work plans. I was balling. She goes "so later, we should discuss the deets!". That slang just seemed so out of place, I was floored. Of course after 8 episodes she jumped ship and then landed on everyone but my own favorite show Glee last fall. She did at least come back for her characters wedding which now turns out to be the Series Finale sadly.

Megan Mullally (Lydia): Jennifer Coolidge replaced Jane Lynch for the last 2 episodes of Season 1, and while she was okay, Mullally I found worked better. She wasn't as funny as Jane Lynch, but I still ended up liking her. She was a bit different than her Will&Grace role, kind of playing a Cougar mixing with younger folks, but also being a mother to her about-to-be-discovered-by-Hollywood daughter.
Also her interactions with many of the guest stars and Ken Marino led to a lot of sexual and awkward humor as well.

Ken Marino (Ron): While I am not hugely entertained by the guy, even on Reaper, he's still charming enough in a lot of ways, that the show worked well with his character. He was kind of the Lassiter or Frank Burns of this show in a way, always trying to and failing to be in charge or control. I mean he was probably the most hit and miss character, given some of the stuff he was involved with was sort of toilet-humor. But other times he'd get mixed up with a client, or just meltdown and it would be worth seeing.

Martin Starr (Roman): The guy of course was often pure gold at a young age on Freaks and Geeks, and it was great to finally see him star in another regular show. He played the Scifi screenwriter geek incredibly well. And he played off Ryan Hansen's character perfectly. I swear, this guy is an incredible talent, that if he could get a break, could be huge. Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel have made it, but honestly, this guy has a lot more comedic ability than both of them combined. Although I will never forget in listening to him talk on the commentaries on F&G's which were done a number of years ago, it sounded like acting wasn't necessarily his strongest desire, at that point. I thought he mentioned music. But so be it, maybe acting is more so now as he was in Adventureland last year and some other movies in the past few years (Superbad maybe the only reason I would like to go back and try watching it again).

So of course Rob Thomas also got plenty of great guest stars, including some Veronica Mars alums in Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Ryan Devlin among others. Even George Takei and Rick Fox (which was hilarious, what was said about him by the way) showed up. JK Simmons played a potty-mouth hollywood producer/father in 2 episodes.

That was one of the biggest reasons this show totally worked. Rob Thomas could basically write any kind of language and use nudity as his own discretion, since it was on Starz. It really speaks for what some of the best writers could do with less limitations on Cable (TrueBlood for example). Just imagine Bryan Fuller being given the reigns again on a cable network (he did once with Dead Like Me of course).

I learned about Adam Scott and Ryan Hansen's announced departure just after the season finale, and then just a week ago, I found out (late) that the show was done for good.

While it really sucks it's gone, I'm not all that surprised. And with Lynch gone the 1st season, and now those other two, it might have started to lose something it had with the chemistry of the cast. But regardless, I would put it in a class with some of the better tv shows over the last 5 or 10 years certainly. And it adds to another impressive work on Thomas's resume, which also shows how insane Dawn Ostroff was to kill Veronica Mars a few years ago. But, the thought just came up right after that perhaps it could help lead to a Veronica movie.

I wouldn't bank on it, but it does open some of his schedule potentially, and he has talked about about wanting to make one for a few years.