The workplace comedy. It’s funny how work place comedies entertain us through something that we’re supposed to be confronting with everyday. For those who don’t know what the workplace comedy is, it’s like a movie or television show that is primarily set in a single business and follows the antics of its employees, using jokes that are relatable to anyone in a similar situation [queue the entire workforce]. The comedy is written around office norms and situations and the antics that can occur. While some movies and television can be solid escapism, workplace comedy juggernauts like Clerks, Office Space, The Office, etc. can certainly point out some of the funnier aspects in what many of us consider mundane.
Queue the most recent workplace comedy I’ve been fortunate enough to watch: Starz’s Party Down, starring Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, and Ken Marino. This show aired in 2009 and was cancelled after 2 seasons. There have been talks about a movie release, but it doesn’t seem enough gas is on the burner, so I’m writing this article to maybe get 1 or 2 of you involved with watching to increase the cult following. Set is California, the comedy revolves around a party catering company that primarily consists of failed/working actors using the catering company Party Down as a means of making money before finally making it big. Self-centered, lazy, horny, ignorant and [often] drugged up, the Pardy Down crew ‘caters’ to a myriad of hilariously great situations that involve brushing with a Russian Mob, a Porn Star Dinner, and an orgy. Read more as to why I recommend you become a follower of this cult hit [more cult followers = more likely chance of a movie getting made, just look at what Arrested Development accomplished].
The Cast is Kinda Like the Always Sunny Gang…Which Isn’t a Bad Thing
Party Down features your classic screw-up cast. Henry Pollard (Scott) is a failed actor whose biggest role was a television commercial, Casey Klein (Caplan) is a self-considered comedian with relationship problems, Ron Donald (Marino) is the group’s team leader who tries to get his team to take their job seriously. Ramon (Martin Starr) is a hardcore sci-fi writer and Kyle (Ryan Hansen), a vain pretty boy actor, both of whom constantly prank each other. And then there’s Constance (Jane Lynch) who is an older member of the Party Down team, who plays her classic Lynch character (painfully and deliciously awkward). Megan Mullally jumps in as Lydia in the second season to replace Jane Lynch.
I compared this cast to the gang from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia because a lot of their characteristics are similar. 1) They hate their dead end jobs. 2) Their selfishness gets them into trouble…a lot. 3) They’re hilariously ignorant, about everything. 4) There’s absolutely amazing dialogue regarding absolutely pointless conversations and debates. And 5) They’re always drunk, drugged, or horny which always gets them into all sorts of shenanigans. I absolutely love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and I stand by this series being a little bit of a knock-off, highly emphasizing a group of jerks in situational comedy.
Ron Donald is My Second Favorite Ron
My first favorite Ron is Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, but Ron Donald, who plays the team leader of the group, just might be one of the most hilariously unfortunate sad sacks I’ve ever seen in television. Ken Marino’s Ron is painfully awkward, cursedly ignorant, and extremely self conscious. All factors which make him a part of some of the most hilarious moments in the series. Whether it be confessing his insecurities to a wake at a funeral, showing a team of adult film directors his dong for a potential business venture, dating an 18 yeardold, or putting a gun to his face to prove a point, Ron Donald is absolutely one of the comedic anchors of this show.
While Ken Marino’s Ron Donald succeeds as probably my favorite character, I’ve always been a sucker for Lizzy Caplan and her character Casey. I’m not so much a fan of Casey rather than being a big Lizzy Caplan fan. I think she’s absolutely adorable in everything she does. Despite the fact she’s in a pantsuit and bow time 90% of the series [thank god for the picnic episode], I just couldn’t help myself to go gaga over her.
A Parody [or Pretty Accurate Representation] of What the Working Actor is Like
I don’t know what it’s like to move to LA and try to make it big into the entertainment industry, but I can imagine it’s very similar to a major side story in Party Down. While catering parties is over 75% of the story on the show, the other 15% involve the characters talking about small parts they’ve done on films and auditions. They talk about how everyone has to pay their dues to get into the industry and the drama about ‘not making it’ is a surprisingly emotional heart tugger every once in a while.
It’s really neat how the entertainment industry is portrayed in this show. I’m sure a lot of it is dramatized for the sake of comedy, but I like to think the source material for this dramatization resonates some truth. We’re shown the self consciousness of actors, their devotion to appearances, the obnoxiousness of producers, the meaning of a small role to a working actor, what selling out means, the fallbacks of giving up your dreams, being typecase and more. It’s all pretty cool hearing Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan talking about how they’ll never make it big, when they’re pretty decent A-listers already.
They Host the Craziest and Weirdest Parties that Create the Best Situations
I mentioned earlier that some of the parties they cater to were a Russian mob gathering, a porn star celebration dinner, and an orgy. There aren’t many comedy shows out there that have this much range in all honesty. Yes, they’re technically always serving food, but the locations are so diverse, that the show is surprisingly fresh every episode. Its 2 season run had 20 episodes, so 20 different locations, each as crazy as the last.
A Sweet 16 where nobody shows – Party Down is there. Ron Donald’s High School Reunion – Party Down is there. Backstage party for a metal concert – Party Down is there. And when they’re there, let drinking, drugging, and more hijinks ensue.
The Guest Spots Are Amazing
The list of guest spots rather shocked me: Kristen Bell, JK Simmons, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Coolidge, Kevin Hart, Thomas Lennon, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Each of them played various roles that were all equally hilarious. Thomas Lennon tries to get an orgy happening, Kevin Hart is a rapper at a sweet sixteen. Kristen Bell plays the leader of a rival catering company.
It’s not necessarily the most groundbreaking comedy, but it’s solid enough to be better than most of the garbage out there anyhow. If you’re a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I highly recommend this series for you. Like I said above, I’m trying to convert a few of you to add to the cult following so we can get a movie out of this. While it’s been heard that the movie has been announced, there are varying reports of its validity. Anything so I get Lizzy Caplan back on the screen.