Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, January 19, 2018

Shows You Missed: Party Down

In my experience, finding a new television show to devour is like choosing what food to purchase at Giant. There are far too many options, marketing keenly affects my choices and the price matters a lot (I’m too frugal to buy pistachios or seasons on iTunes).

Game of Thrones is the juicy slab of steak displayed at the front of the meat section, nearly too good to be at the chain grocery store. South Park is the cheese-stuffed crust frozen pizza that can be deliciously good, but also makes you question the whole “being an adult” thing. The Real Housewives of New York is a king-size Reese’s pack that may be tasty, but doesn’t do much in terms of health, hunger, self-worth or really anything.

Occasionally, I’ll run across something that hits the jackpot on all my food dreams that is missed by other shoppers. Take Jiffy Cornbread Mix. It’s delectable, dirt cheap and not that bad for you. But alas, those magnificent yellow boxes only make it a row up from the bottom shelf. It’s a travesty, I know.

For television, there are quite a number of Jiffy Cornbread Mix shows. These shows haven’t gotten the spotlight they deserve, some ending after a season or two from poor ratings, but they remain fantastic and quality creations. So here I am, sharing one for both your binge-watching futures and to show some love for the writers and actors who did something great.

PARTY DOWN

As many of us know, working in the service industry can be rough. The days are impossibly long, the uniforms are usually horrible and there are continuous customers trying to make life miserable. Luckily, there is a show that highlights these jobs and sympathizes with the struggles of working in the service industry.

Party Down is a mockumentary style sitcom about a catering company staffed with hollywood actors who dream of becoming stars. Each 30-minute episode follows a different event that the company is catering, ranging from a sweet sixteen, an orgy party and a high school reunion. While the characters in the show may not be successful, the real life actors are. The show stars well-known faces like Jane Lynch of Glee, Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation and Lizzy Caplin of Mean Girls.

The catering team is led by recovering alcoholic, Ron Donald (Ken Marino), whose biggest dream is to open a soup restaurant franchise. Back in the days of college and binge-drinking, Ron was friends with Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) who now, a failed actor with a snarky attitude, needs a job and is hired by Ron to join the crew. There he meets some of his co-workers like Casey Klein (Lizzy Caplin), a wannabe comedian and prankster, and Roman DeBeers (Martin Starr), a nerdy screenwriter who gets in as many sci-fi references as possible.

It is both the writing and the actor’s chemistry on screen comes through that makes Party Down stand out. Like any good comedy, social commentary plays a large part in the appeal of this show. One of my favorite episodes shows the crew catering a college conservatives event in which the students feel enticed to give advice to the lowly caters.

If you’re a fan of The Office, U.S., or the film Wet Hot American Summer, Party down has both a similar feel and overlapping writers. Party Down is a true testament to the battle, the hilarity and the bonds made while working in the service industry.

Try it out. See what you think. Or don’t. Cornbread isn’t for everyone.

You can check out the trailer for Party Down here or watch full episodes on Hulu.

thescene@theeagleonline.com


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