Party Down Season Premiere On Starz April 23
by Laura Tucker
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When you replace someone with a talent level and the celebrity of Jane Lynch, you have to go with another heavy hitter. It has to be someone of similar talent and with just as much name recognition. When Lynch made the wise choice to stick with the hugely successful Glee instead of going back to the much lessor known Party Down on Starz, the right move was made to replace her with Megan Mullally. Not that the two of them have similar talent, it’s just in the same caliber.
Mullally comes to the Party Down cast as Lydia, a recent divorcee who has moved to the area to find stardom for her daughter, Escapade. She’s prudish in a way, as well as naive, so the few times she comes up with a risque comment or thought, it sets the tone. This happens in an episode this series when the team caters an orgy. She falls for the host of the party, but not because of her romantic nature, because he has a nice house, lots of money, and is secure. She’s about the only woman he doesn’t beg to join his orgy.
Another big change to the catering team is that Henry (Adam Scott) has become the new Team Leader and finally given up on his acting career. He gets the job because Ron (Ken Marino) left to open a soup and crackers joint. It wasn’t too successful, and all he has at the end of his time there is a young, nubile girlfriend. Ron wants his old job back as Team Leader, but instead, he now becomes Henry’s employee instead of the other way around. Another complication for Henry is that his ex Casey (Lizzy Caplan) is back at the old catering job as well, after her stint as a cruise ship comic is over. Kyle and Roman (Ryan Hansen and Martin Starr) are still there as well, patiently awaiting their big breaks.
In the season premiere, the team is catering a rock star’s backstage party. The rock star, Jackal Onassis (Jimmi Simpson), is tired of the life and desires to be a regular person. He wants someone to switch places with him at the party, so switches with Roman, who just needs to don the outfit and makeup to pull it off. Roman is more than willing to jump into the rock star’s life, but finds his life operates just the same, and he’s just as ignored. Jackal has the time of his life as a caterer tending bar and enjoys infusing himself into eveyrone else’s relationship problems.
The writing makes this show, and that’s credited to the creative team of John Enborn, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd. Thomas is the creative force behind Veronica Mars, and Rudd’s presence can nearly be felt in every dark comment made by Henry. Someone you wouldn’t expect to be a contributing force is Fred Savage, Kevin on The Wonder Years, who directs, along with Bryan Gordon.
But as wonderful as the creative team is behind the camera, the creative team in front of the camera pulls it off. The success is built on both teams working so well together. Mullally fits into that whole team like she was there from the beginning. This isn’t to take away from Lynch at all, but to honor both of these actresses at being so wonderful at what they do, they’re both integral parts of a show, making the casting that replaced one with the other oh so brilliant.
The second season of Party Down premieres on Starz at 10 PM ET.
Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.
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