Nostalgia remains a powerful ally for film and television producers. In the case of the second, there is a clear trend towards “revivals” or the returns of old series that were successful and whose revival is nothing more than an economic bet to get more juice out of proven formulas.
Series like iCarly, Night Court or That 90’s Show (sequel to the successful That 70’s Show) exploit the good memories we have of these series but (at least in the United States) there is a return that has created a lot of expectation.
This is Party Down, a series created by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd himself more than ten years ago (2009) and which at the time generated an avalanche of positive reviews.
This comedy series used the formula of “comedy in a workplace” taking it to a much more scathing level and even with some social criticism. Party Down is a series about a group of (then) young people in Hollywood who, while finding work as actors (or while waiting to be “discovered” by an agent) work in a “catering” company, companies in charge of providing meals and/or or drinks at different events as well as offering waiter service.
Always wearing a white shirt, black pants, and a characteristic pink bow tie, the Party Downs were Ken Marino, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Ryan Hensen, Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, and Megan Mullally. In episodes of only thirty minutes, the series had an interesting balance between humor, physical comedy and satire.
Despite the good reviews of the series, it was canceled in its first season due to low ratings, but the good memories of it (and the fact that several of its protagonists succeeded in other iconic series such as Glee and Parks and Recreation) led to that the chain ordered (in 2021) its return in a season of only six chapters.
Now, in 2023, Party Down returns with practically all of its protagonists. In the first episode we learn that many of them have left the company. Failed actor Henry Pollard (Scott), still famous for a beer commercial, is now a high school teacher. Selfish Kyle Bradway (Hansen) finally got the big break from him and now he’s making his star debut in a comic book movie.
Meanwhile, Lydia Dunfree (Mullally) finds success through the career of her daughter (Liv Hewson, replacing Kaitlyn Dever), and spiritualist Constance Carmell (Lynch) feels financially comfortable as an artist patron. Ron Donald (Marino) continues as the head of the team and also returns the jaded and failed science fiction writer Roman DeBeers (Starr).
At a party celebrating actor Kyle Bradway, the gang reunites. Fortunately (for us) several events are unleashed that will lead to the return of several of them to the company.
Thus, we will see how the boys of Party Down serve at the birthday party of a famous actor (James Marsden), participate in an event for Sting fans and a fake prom.
Party Down retains its trademark acidity and surreal lens on everyday life in Hollywood. The themes are as expected: post-pandemic, cancellation culture, the predominance of superhero movies, social media, influencers, and gringo nationalism, all organically integrated into the series.
It is strange that a series canceled in its first season and brought back to life ten years later knows how to keep its aim to continue talking about gringo culture with such good humor and accurate criticism.
Party Down can be seen on Lionsgate+
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